In the past week, I’ve watched Dredd a countless amount of times since it was released on January 8th. Now I’m no super fan of the Judge Dredd series, in fact, I hadn’t even heard of the series until the movie. I was not aware it was a remake of an older film, nor was I aware that it had previously been a comic book, so I entered into the theater with no knowledge of the story. As a film, I feel like it’s only major flaw was that there was some very poor marketing and PR for the film. I only knew about it when I went to Comic Con last year and saw them giving out Dredd badges at booths. I knew only that it was a new Karl Urban movie, and nothing else. Of course, when it came out, being the movie lover that I am, I went to go see it regardless of what I’d heard about it. I was pleasantly surprised with the result. Now, whether or not you’ve heard of this movie, I think it’s worth a gander if you enjoy explosive action movies, because this would be your brand of gin.
5. Special Effects & Film Style
I’m not even sure if this is specifically “Special Effects” but the way this movie is shot makes me feel like I’m on an acid trip. Well only sometimes, the rest of the time it feels like I’m in the actual comic. It is very easy to jump into the world of Judge Dredd and Megacity One and not at all hard to visualize it as viewers. The world that has been swallowed in a post apocalypse is familiar to all of us, we see it often in movies. But I especially enjoy it when the post apocalyptic world stays relatively the same. Sure crime has spiked absurdly, the law is no longer the same, but it is a recognizable landscape. Hobos are still squatting in places they shouldn’t, pre-teens are still skateboarding on ramps, and most people are looking for the next high, which in this case is the drug Slo-Mo. The drug’s effect on the user is seen through the eyes of the audience and stylizes the movie.
I’m just saying, if you do not like violence and blood and guts in your movies, don’t watch this. But I do. I love guns and glory and combat in movies, so I loved this. There’s non-stop action and it’s merciless. Judge Dredd is the law and he is not lenient at all. The Judge weapons are particularly cool, they DNA match to their user and have special purpose bullets that allow them to deal the most damage in the most efficient way.
3. Karl Urban’s Grimace
There are few things greater than Karl Urban’s constant grimace in this movie. If anything Judge Dredd’s no jokes attitude is what adds humor to this movie. He rarely smiles and when he does it’s more of a straight line. In a very V for Vendetta-esque turn, we never see Judge Dredd’s face. He is hidden behind the Judge’s helmet. He is the faceless spectre of the Hall of Justice. Really though, his grimace during the entire movie makes me wonder if Karl Urban’s face got tired of that expression after so much shooting.
2. Olivia Thirlby’s Best Role By Far
Ok, I’m speaking completely objectively. I was not the biggest fan of Olivia Thirlby before this. I had only seen her in supporting roles and found her acting to be bland and vanilla. However put into an action role, stripped of the typical labels that are put on a young Hollywood actress and she really shone. Playing the new rookie Judge, she is separated from Dredd only by rank. Her ability as a psychic mutant gives her step up and in many points of the movie, it is her ability that gives them a leg up. I loved that her sex and age weren’t issues. Never was there a comment about her gender or her age from Judge Dredd. He made no comments on it and it was because this movie didn’t take cheap shots like that, that I found it the most rewarding. Judge Anderson isn’t phased by those who try to put her into the role of a sexual object and instead turns it back on them. Honestly, I hope to see Olivia Thirlby pursue more challenging roles like this, because it’s a good sign.
1. Lena Headey’s MaMa
It may seem a little bit of an exaggeration when I say that Headey’s Mama is the main reason I keep watching Dredd, but that’s because you haven’t seen the movie. Whether you agree on my top choice or not after, you won’t be able to deny how delightfully horrible MaMa’s character is. She is a no-nonsense drug kingpin. Her method is soaked deeply in violence. She takes no prisoners and is unfazed by cruelty. We’ve seen Headey in a role similar to this in Game of Thrones as Cersei Lannister, but this is taken to a whole new level. She is mad, bad, and dangerous to know. But she isn’t cruel without a reason. We know why she became the way she is in the movie, and if anything that makes us scared of her even more. The thin boyish looking Headey brings fear to grown men in the movie with a single glare. Her only true opponent seems to be Judge Dredd, who is just as intense as she is.
Overall I would say give this movie a rent, because at the very least it is worth those two hours of your life. They will be action packed, you will laugh, you will squirm, and you will enjoy it. Put the kids to bed (or maybe take them over to a friend’s house), and enjoy an action packed movie untainted by Sylvester Stallone and rechristened by Karl Urban’s Judge Dredd.