I liked the plot idea for this film, the two Judges trapped within this enormous tower block and having to take down all the perps. Not exactly original but a good recipe for action, a slight nudge towards 'Die Hard' perhaps, mixed with 'The Raid'. Its also neat that 'Mega City One' has loads of these massive towers, so theoretically each tower may have the same criminal problem as this one. This gives you an idea of how big/vast the cities criminal problems are and the genesis for lots of stories within this universe, it gives a nice depth to this universe too.
First thoughts for this new film and I was slightly disappointed to be honest. As the movie opens up and we get narration about the worlds current climate I felt myself thinking this world doesn't actually look very futuristic. Now I didn't expect robots, laser guns and other typical sci-fi cheese but I guess I did expect a kind of...without trying to sound too cliched, 'Blade Runner' type world/environment. 'Mega City One' didn't really look very eye blisteringly cool, just looked like a massive urban sprawl, realistic yes, exciting no, perhaps a bit too realistic?.
I liked that they tried to keep things more grounded and in a possible near future which isn't too far fetched (I'm guessing), but it didn't really feel overly futuristic. This also goes for all the druggies and bad guys holed up in the massive tower block that Dredd takes on. Most of them dressed and looked like your average hoodie youths I see on the street today, bright coloured t-shirts, polo shirts, tracksuits, gold chains etc...Again I realize its a real take and we don't want them dressed in luminous spandex, but I just expected a bit more I suppose.
As for Dredd and his partner its all good, I loved the way they brought Dredd's suit down to earth, made it look functional and yet kept it recogniseable for the fans. Urban was also top notch as Dredd with his gravely voice (not as stupid as Bale's 'Batman', about on par with Eastwood) and trademark sneer, my only criticism would be he didn't look very big. I was impressed with Thirlby as Anderson and the way her psychic abilities were handled, could so easily of been corny. Thirlby did a really good job as the wet behind the ears rookie, she conveyed that nicely whilst also being really cute at the same time. As her confidence grows surrounded by violence so does her appeal to you the viewer.
The main head villain is played by a woman here which is a nice turn but ultimately ends being rather mundane. Lena Headey plays the role well and she does comes across as a real bitch that you just wanna see get blown away, but she never really does much apart from one scene. Her comeuppance is also pretty weak and slightly anti climatic.
The film is as violent as I expected, it goes from being a bit too ridiculous with skinning people (bit odd and sick that), to gut splitting, face piercing, head shattering shoot outs. Gotta love that gun Dredd uses eh, its right up there with 'Robocop's' hand cannon. I also liked that the film looms towards a Verhoeven style for gunning people down but I gotta say I didn't like all the slow motion. Yes I know that's the whole point with this drug but I just hate that kind of crap, I just wanna see the action, the slow motion just stops it dead, very frustrating.
Most definitely a success with this reboot mainly because it was done for the adult audience, I wonder if Hollywood has clicked on that yet?. Its no 'Die Hard' beater and its not the best action film I've seen recently but its a solid gritty film. Would like to see more futuristic shine in any sequel though, just a touch.
It's plot is purely stock; even using a building as a confined plot device a la "Die Hard" and countless other movies. But this decision compliments the film's more limited budget and provides our two heroes, Judge Dredd (Karl Urban) and a fresh-faced recruit with special abilities; Anderson (Olivia Thrilby) with a claustrophobic, daunting battleground. Dredd, the no-nonsense judge, jury, and brutal executioner is portrayed gruff, nuanced by the reliable Karl Urban, with Thrilby as the film's emotion core. Dredd and Anderson, on her training day of sorts, end up trapped in a sealed 200 floor skyscraper when they brush elbows with the intimidating crime figure Ma-Ma (Lena Headey), who is responsible for supplying the entire city with a designer neuro-drug "Slo-Mo;" the effects of which conveniently help stylize Dredd's gory violence.
Make no mistake, "Dredd" is all brawn. Luckily brains are evident in it's unexpectedly slick filmmaking. There is impressive world building in this film. The skyscraper is fittingly run down, with an impressive near-future aesthetic, but Mega-City One is immediately established in impressive fashion. This brings a weight and authenticity to the film, even when most of the action is restricted to a dark, indoor locale. The American wasteland setting is surely nothing new, yet Director Pete Travis has a unique take, no doubt possible due to his ambitions on a budget. His action sequences are also terrific. Bloody, shocking, in your face (and if viewed in 3D, I mean that literal). There is all kinds of glorious bloodletting in this film, and that's a plus only if you are down for that (I was). The "Slo-Mo" gimmick really dazzles as well. Honestly, these segments are beautiful and that's coming from someone who thought movies had exhausted this cinematic effect. Are these scenes necessary? No. Are they indulgent? Hell yes, but they are awesome and this time I can actually say pivotal to the plot! As far as the genre is concerned, "Dredd" is quite visionary; and I say that sans sarcasm.
Alex Garland's script is a perfect balance of bleak sadism, dark situational humor, one-liners, and unabashed self awareness. It's not parody, and is not afraid of reveling in the same lurid excess as John Wagner's original comic series.
"Dredd" is a pleasant surprise and one that I enjoyed the hell out of. It's low-brow thrills are heightened because of an uncommonly thoughtful execution by a group of filmmakers who have an obvious love and respect for this material. There is also true artistry on display here, but you didn't here it from me!
"Judgement Is Coming"
Dredd is a much more satisfying film then the old Stallone vehicle. This is an action movie that knows when to move and when to slow it down. At times they slow it down a lot(to show effects of a drug called Slow Mo) and those slow motion scenes are beautiful and trancelike. The action, for the most part, is pretty nonstop and it all looks wonderful. It's the type of action film that uses all the violence to expand on a cool premise and it works brilliantly.
Judge Dredd is out with a rookie judge, who he has to assess. When they're called to a triple homicide in the worst part of the mega-city that houses all of America's population, they find themselves locked in. Ma Ma is a violent gang leader who controls all of the 200 levels that make up the building in which the judges are trapped. She tells the citizens of these levels that she wants the judges dead.
There's some cool stuff going on in this dystopian film for sure. For one you gotta love a movie that paints such a vivid and original view of what a dystopia may look like. Also the movie just looks and sounds amazing. All the violence, fast action and slow motion, looks so damn amazing.
Dredd is definitely a film that is worth checking out. Even if you didn't care for the old Judge Dredd, this one is still worth a look, as it is it's own film. I can't say I was too surprised at how good this film was, but I love when the movies that I think are gonna be really good, are.
To simplify, in the near future, the U.S. is a post-apocalyptic dystopia where most of the country is divided up into massive cities. Mega City One encompasses most of the east coast from Boston to D.C. and is where this story is set. The land is policed by Judges- ultra militaristic law enforcers who swiftly act as judges, juries, and executioners.
Dredd is a renowned Judge, and this film represents a basic day in his life. On this particular day he is assigned to have a rookie judge named Cassanda Anderson follow him along, and he is to evaluate if she is worthy of being a judge. This is really important too since she had previously failed, but only by a narrow margin. What makes Anderson special is that she is a "mutant" with some rather powerful psychic abilities.
Seeing as they can only respond to so many calls at once, our pair decide to tackle a case at a massive 200 story housing block ghetto controlled by the ruthless drug pusher Ma-Ma, whose latest potent product, the highly addictive Slo-Mo makes the user experience things at 1% normal speed.
It's not long after their arrival at the building that the pair are trapped, and forced to fight the veritable army of violent residents in order to get to the main prize at the top level.
As far as plot, that's pretty much it. There's controversy about this plot being similar to the one of The Raid: Redemption, but apparently, even though that came first, this one was in development first, and just took longer to get released.
Bottom line: I liked this movie, A lot. Yeah, it's a simple and straight forward bare bones plot, but sometimes, that's all you really need. It's lean, mean, stylish as hell, and brutally entertaining. I unfortunately didn't get to see it in 3D, but I hear it was used rather effectively, especially during the awesome slow-motion sequences which, besides functioning as eye candy, actually figured into the plot as well.
The film is light on character development, but we're given enough to where we care, and, in the case of Anderson, have an actual arc that gives a tad bit of weight and emotion to the proceedings.
So, even though the film is more style than substance, it really excels, and delivers the goods in a kick ass way, with lots of bloodshed, often brutal, and sometimes quite graphic. During the slow-mo scenes especially we really get a lot of jaw-dropping money shots.
There's of course a justifiable reason for the violence, but unfortunately, some people still don't get it and slam the movie anyway.
I personally felt it did justice to the comics, served the story, and helped make it the strong film that it is, especially considering the modest budget it was made for. And that is something I'm a fan of. I love it when modest budget indie films make the most with what they have and rise above the limitations set before them.
Karl Urban is as cold as steel as the hard-assed non nonsense Judge Dredd. It's impressive how he managed to convey all that he needed to without showing any part of his face above the bottom of his nose thanks to the helmet his character characteristically never removes. Olivia Thirlby is quite good and convincing as the rookie Anderson, and I think she could reasonably succeed at taking on more action oriented roles in the future. Lena Heady is fine, though a tad underwhelming as Ma-Ma, but, like Thirlby, it was nice seeing her in a role like this.
With a tight pace, and a suitably grim and grungy aesthetic, this is a solid action romp that really rocks. Unfortunately it is also underappreciated, but hopefully that changes, and enough support is garnered to get this film a sequel, because, in all honesty, this is a film that actually earns the right to have a sequel, especially if it's done as good as, if not better than this one.