Director: Danny Cannon
Running time: 96 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 15
UK Release date: 21st July 1995
Watched on Sky+ Monday 18th July 2011.
PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.
I guess I have to class this one as one of my guilty pleasures… at least for the first half of it anyway. The second half; well, to be honest I could take it or leave it really. Based on the character from the 2000AD comic book, this film has both the look and feel of the very same. Even some of the angles used for the cinematography and the sets look like they’ve just been ripped right off the page. Unfortunately the same cannot be said for the plot. As I’ve already mentioned, the first half is great, but it gets a bit full of itself about half way through and the third act ends up becoming a bit of a farce. Here’s a brief summary.
In a long distant future the Earth has become a desolate wasteland known as ‘The Cursed Earth’. People live in Mega-Cities where crime is rife and the only form of justice is meated out by the ‘Judges’, who are Judge, Jury and Executioner (if necessary). Foremost is one Joseph Dredd, he dispenses justice with an iron fist and does not suffer fools gladly. Having been framed for a murder he didn’t commit, he is sentenced to life in prison. His transport is shot down while crossing the Cursed Earth and he is taken by scavengers. He is rescued by Chief Justice Fargo, a retired judge who is to end his days wandering the wastelands. Fargo tells Dredd the truth about himself and about a man he must stop back in Mega City One. Can Dredd get back in time? Will this plot make ever any sense? All these and many more questions are answered in Judge Dredd.
There is a lot more to the plot that I have outlined here, but I didn’t want to make it more complicated than it already is. Made in the aftermath of films like Star Wars and Superman, the effects in this film are, for the most part, pretty good for the time. There are parts where, by today’s standards, they look a little ropy, but over all, not too bad. Performance-wise, well, Sylvester Stallone was his comic-book best as Judge Joseph Dredd, Armand Assante played the bad guy, Rico, pretty well and Rob Schneider handled the comic relief pretty well too, as Herman ‘Fergee’ Ferguson. Also worthy of note were; Jürgen Prochnow as Judge Griffin, Max von Sydow as Chief Justice Fargo and Diane Lane as Judge Hershey. Oh, and finally a mention for a very brief appearance from Ian Dury as Geiger.
I don’t quite know just what the makers of this film were thinking as far as the plot goes. As I’ve already said, it starts off really well and then just goes off into a totally wrong direction (IMO). Having said that, I love the look of the film, it looks like it just came fresh off the pages of 2000AD. I guess, for a guilty pleasure, I should have scored it higher than I did, but I just can’t forgive the over-complicated and messy second half… If you’re really into comic-book adaptations they maybe this one is for you… otherwise, I’d give it a miss… Oh, and before you say it… ‘I knew you were gonna say that.”
My Score: 5.1/10