I was never a huge Judge Dredd fan - not for lack of interest, but simply because I didn’t know much about it (it also was created about 12 years before my birth). The 1995 film-adaptation, starring Sylvester Stalone, didn’t help either. But when I saw the trailer for the new Dredd that released last week, I was intrigued. Visually alone the film looked awesome, and Dredd’s chin was pretty hot. Fortunately the film was no disappointment, and the 3-D is absolutely AMAZING. If you’re going to enjoy the film in its full visual splendor I advise watching it with some 3-D glasses. Set in the dystopian metropolis, Mega City One, the film zeroes in on Judge Dredd - a law enforcer given the authority of judge, jury and executioner. Specifically the day he has to train and observe rookie Judge Anderson. And let me say: this is the craziest first day ever.
1. This movie looks awesome (especially in 3-D). I’ve already mentioned the 3-D of this film three - well now four - times already. But that’s because it was extremely dazzling. The story focuses on a drug called Slo-Mo, which slows one’s perception of time to 1%. The film does a great job of visualizing the effects of the narcotic, and some of the more violent scenes just look amazing through the lens of a user. We’ve seen slow-motion techniques, so imagine that with a layer of a slight rainbow prism and imagine all of that in 3-D. Having rainbow blood splatters and explosions coming right at you during action-sequence was just visual-ecstasy.
2. Rookie Judge Anderson is pretty cute and bad-ass. The rookie Judge Dredd is training throughout the film is played by a cute Olivia Thirlby, and adds some innocence to the story. Having limited experience, but a strong desire to help citizens, she approaches the situation with a strong sense of naiveté. Although one would think she’d be more of a liability, quickly we learn that she has a special talent: telepathy. Judge Anderson can read people’s thoughts, and knows how to use it to her advantage. When we see her powers in action not only is it rather creative, but the visualization of it is something nice to look at as well.
3. I just love Karl Urban. Although Karl Urban’s upper-face is absent throughout the film, there’s just something I love about his jaw. Even though this rendition of Judge Dredd is rather monosyllabic - I find it rather efficient. Urban’s Dredd doesn’t do a lot of talking, but his moods are clear through his pauses and tones; Urban utilizes the little he’s given. He comes across as bad-ass, and wastes no time with long speeches or dramatic pauses before he shoots to kill. That’s what I love about this character; he cuts through the bull.
Besides the awesome drug element, the bad-ass rookie and the straight-to-the-point Dredd, I think the villain, Ma-Ma deserves mention. Lena Headey plays the major antagonist, Ma-Ma, with a calm ferocity that’s rather menacing but calculated. She’s pretty ruthless and doesn’t give a damn about ANYONE. With blurry motivations, one can only assume she’s a product of the crappy society that is Mega City One. Unfortunately she isn’t given that much depth - none of the characters really are - but that’s not what this film’s really about. If you were looking for a story crafted around deep, probing analysis of character or situation then look elsewhere. This film is about the violence, snappy-dialogue, and awesome visuals. Fortunately Dredd delivers in all those areas, giving us fun, action-packed 95 minutes - but isn’t for people looking for something to ponder over once it’s done.