I admit, I have never read any of the Judge Dredd comics. My only knowledge of the comic icon was the 1995 Judge Dredd film starring Sylvester Stallone and Rob Schneider. Yes, it was a flawed film, but I felt it had its charms. Especially being a Stallone and Schneider fan. When I first read that after 17 years Hollywood was rebooting the franchise, my first thoughts were “this will either be really good, or really bad“. It didn’t help that I wasn’t too familiar with lead actor Karl Urban who plays the role of Judge Dredd, but now I really have to tip my hat off to both Karl Urban and director Pete Travis. Dredd 3D was a pretty entertaining rental!
This film is much darker and bloodier than its 1995 predecessor. Not quite in the same league as Nolan’s Batman films, but you will immediately notice the more serious tone from the beginning intro of the film. I liked it. The film’s backdrop…Mega-City One, really captures the grit of what we have come to expect from a post apocalyptic wasteland world. The plot begins to take focus when our hero Judge Dredd (Karl Urban) is tasked with the duty of evaluating new recruit Cassandra Anderson (Olivia Thirlby), who failed her graduating Judge exam by just a few points. Normally it would be an automatic fail — however due to her special unusual psychic abilities — she is given a second chance based on her potential of being a valuable asset to the out numbered Judges in a crowded city with an average of 17,000 violent crimes reported each day.
Unfortunately for Cassandra, her sink or swim final evaluation ends up as one hell of day, when the Judges head out to investigate a violent crime near the Peach Trees in a 200 story slum building, run by crime boss Madeline Madriga (Lena Headey) aka Ma-Ma, whom is on the verge of taking over the city by pushing a new drug called “slo-mo” (a drug that slows the world down to 1% its normal time) and her taste for over the top violence. When the Judges arrest a prime suspect in their investigation, Ma-Ma has no choice but to completely shut down the building with steel-enforced walls, trapping the Judges inside and then puts a bounty of death on their heads in an attempt to keep the Judges from interrogating the captured criminal who apparently has vital information to Ma-Ma’s operation. As usual I won’t spoil the plot, but the rest of the day turns out to be a pretty entertaining ride of action, plot twist, and some well done Frank Miller 300 style effects. By the time the film’s credits rolled, I had a new-found respect for the comic icon Judge Dredd and a respectful fear of one of the coolest comic worlds I’ve ever been introduced to…Mega-City One.
The Blu-ray and DVD look quite sharp. Sound effects are right on point as well, especially once the shooting and explosions start. Sadly, this film was a bust at the theaters. Only grossing a little over thirty million worldwide  and falling short by twenty million of its original production budget…so I won’t be surprised if we never see a sequel. That being said, if you’re a fan of serious toned comic films and the Hollywood formula of an under dog good guy, versus over whelming odds a la Die Hard, then I would definitely recommend this fun little late night rental. Be advised, lots of blood. So I would put the kids to bed for this one.
I give Dredd 3D a surprisingly very solid 2 1/2 out of 4 Cobra Chinese Throwing Stars!
- Box Office Mojo: Dredd (2012)