Friday, 14 August 2015

Dredd review

Today I've decided to shine some light on an overlooked gem from 2012; Dredd directed by Pete Travis. The film is of course based on the 2000ad comic book strip Judge Dredd, set in a post-apocalyptic America, where most of the country is an irradiated waste-land and the population live in a huge 'Mega-cities'. With unemployment high and crime rampant, a police force known as the Judges act as Judge, Jury and on-the-spot executioners, with Judge Dredd, played to a tee by Karl Urban, being the toughest of them all.

Judge Dredd and new rookie Judge Anderson, are sent to a 200-story apartment block to investigate a drug clan and its leader 'Ma-ma', played with malevolence by Lena Headey, who have taken control of the block, using it as a manufacturing plant for a time-altering drug known as 'Slo-Mo'. Upon their arrival, Ma-ma seals the Judges inside the block and orders for them to be hunted down and killed. As you would imagine, chaos ensues.

Despite it's limited setting, the film is able to perfectly capture the run-down, crime-ridden and general unpleasant nature of Mega-City One from the comics, making this a much more authentic adaptation of Judge Dredd than the 1995 film which starred Sylvester Stallone. It would have been nice to see the a bit more of the Mega city, but what we do see looks fantastic, with high production values bringing the comic book to life and disguising the film's relatively small budget of $45 million.

The film frequently employs use of slow-motion to effectively represent the perspective of 'Slo-Mo' users, often cutting between this perspective and regular speed during action scenes, switching from the viewpoint of the Judges to the gang members. This creates stylish, exciting action sequences which are very well shot and easy to comprehend, something which is often lacking in action movies today.

The strong performances, particularly Olivia Thirlby's, are what stands out most in the film, with Karl Urban also offering a downright perfect portrayal of the titular Judge Dredd. Of course, in keeping with the classic tradition of the comic strip, we never actually get a full view of Dredd's face as it is mostly obscured by the iconic Judge's helmet. However, this did not stop Karl Urban from throwing his all into the role and delivering a very memorable performance.

If you are a fan of comic book movies, or even just action and sci-fi movies in general, I highly recommend that you give Dredd a watch, as there is a good chance many of you will have missed it the first time around.

Rating: ****

Agree/disagree? Leave your thoughts in the comments or tweet me @danj_101

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