Published on August 10th, 2012 | by gareth0
At the San Diego Comic-Con this year, I was fortunate to gain access to the Dredd screening where Karl Urban (Star Trek, Doom) and co-star Olivia Thirlby (Juno) were on hand to greet the crowd of mostly reporters. They were extremely stoked to see such a packed room and happy to be at SDCC. Karl had little qualms about the violence that was to be seen. So, of course that made me happy.
Quick backstory: I was first introduced to Judge Dredd via the Anthrax song “I Am the Law”, referring to his signature phrase. I own a few comics and even have my Lobo vs Judge Dredd crossover comic signed. I enjoyed the classic cult film (a nice way of saying many hated it) with Sly Stallone and Armand Assante with nods to the Angel Family. Unfortunately it could not live up to the unique style of the comic with a PG13 rating, the fact that the helmet comes off and Rob Schneider.
As the movie begins, we get a sense of how bleak a wasteland the country has become and how even more bleak the mega cities have become, where humanity struggles to get by. Overpopulation has made the city a land of giant skyscraper apartments. Crime is out of control and the police have been made “Judges” who are assigned to uphold the law and pass sentence so fast you would think people would be afraid to do bad. And let’s just say the penalties are enough to ensure you do not re-offend.
You do get a sense of how the violence can escalate even amongst criminals by the introduction of the main bad gal “Ma-Ma”, played by the lovely Lena Headey. There is a new drug called Slo-Mo and it lives up to the name with great use of the 3D and stylized scenes. So you add all of this together and eventually you know Judges are called in to investigate. Dredd and his trainee Anderson are called to the apartment sky-rise that makes Compton seem like Amish Country. From there the violence is over the top fun: brutal scenes, unique weapons and the helmet stays on Dredd the entire time. Dark and gritty like it should be.
There have been many claims about this movie and The Raid. I have seen The Raid and it is a great movie. But Dredd was in production before Raid. And honestly each have their own beautiful place in cinema. But once Dredd kicks into high gear you instantly forget anything else and truly enjoy this movie until it is over.
I recommend seeing it weekend afternoon or weeknight showing. I only say this because in a packed theatre, you miss some dialogue and /or scenes because the previous scene caused you to laugh, gasp, clap and/or say “Dude, WTF!” in an excited and happy way.
Looking forward to seeing it again when it is released on Sept 21, 2012.