Director: Pete Travis
Starring: Karl Urban, Olivia Thirlby and Lena Headey
Review Written By: Leonhard Balk
For the producers, securing funding for the film proved as difficult as one would expect: Sylvester Stallone had sunk the franchise's figurative ship hard in 1995, when he starred in the Hollywood adaptation. Dredd fanboys were outraged at the final film, awarding it a terrible 5.1 rating on IMDB. The film seemingly got everything wrong: From removing Dredd's helmet to casting Rob Schneider as the comic sidekick. Judge Dredd not only failed with the comic book fans and film critics, but also crashed at the Box Office.
Despite all this, Garland and his team somehow managed to get their “reboot” greenlit. Kiwi actor Karl Urban, of Lord of the Rings and Star Trek fame, was cast as the lead, with Juno co-star Olivia Thirlby as his rookie sidekick and Game of Thrones' Lena Headey playing the film's baddie, crime lord Ma-Ma. Vantage Point director Pete Travis joined the project after Duncan Jones (Moon) declined the offer.
In order to keep the story focused and to put the $45 million budget to good use, Dredd's story, set in a corrupt futuristic city, takes place almost entirely in one location: the housing block “Peach Trees”, which is being controlled by the crime lord Ma-Ma. Exterior shots of Mega City One, Johannesburg enhanced with CG, look amazing, but the action only really kicks in after Dredd and rookie Anderson, a mutant with psychic abilities, are sent to investigate a triple homicide at the “Peach Trees” slum. The Judges, future cops with the power to execute people on the spot, soon find themselves locked into the tower with no route of escape. Similarly to this years The Raid, the villain orders the inhabitants of the tower to kill the two intruders as they approach her base.
Comparing it to The Raid really doesn't do the film justice. What Dredd lacks in fight choreography and energy, it makes up with style and imagery. Scenes involving the futuristic “Slo-Mo” drug, a reality-altering drug which lets you perceive time at one percent it's normal speed, are especially beautiful to look at.
Fans of the comic book will be especially pleased to see that the top half of Dredd's face remains covered by his iconic helmet throughout the film, with Urban mastering the badass growl. They will also be delighted to find out that, true to the explicit style of the comics, in terms of violence nothing is held back.
If Dredd turns out to be profitable, remains to be seen. Audiences, however, will love this film without doubt. It is highly entertaining and I can't wait to see it achieve cult classic status fairly soon.
By Movie Parliament Minister for History,
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