Phil's Review of Dredd
Take two for this adaptation of the classic British dystopian sci-fi comic book character. Not that I disliked the first Stallone attempt, I think that has been given a harsh time personally. Sure it wasn't adult enough and had Rob Schneider in it but they captured the look and feel I thought.
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.