UK Release date: 7th September 2012
Watched on DVD Sunday 28th July 2013.
PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE UNINTENTIONAL SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.
As a bit of a sci-fi fan I’m always on the lookout for new and interesting films that don’t fall into predictable Hollywood cliché. I remember this one coming out to a somewhat luke-warm reception from the critics; even so, I added it to ‘The List’. Having tracked down the DVD at a very reasonable price, it sat on the shelf for a while before I got around to giving it a look. It was worth the wait; it doesn’t fall into the trap of the 1995 Stallone effort and become a pale impression of the original comic books. This is much edgier and I have to say I enjoyed it. Here’s a very brief summary before I tell you why.
In a future where much of the world has bee destroyed in a nuclear war the majority of the population live in Megacities. It is in Megacity One, the former eastern states of America, where the action takes place. With the breakdown of society it has become necessary to give the police powers to arrest, sentence and if necessary execute wrong-doers on the spot. To this end they are now called Judges. When Judge Dredd (Karl Urban) is given a rookie, Anderson (Olivia Thirlby), to evaluate, he allows her to choose their assignment. She opts for a triple murder at an apartment block called Peach Trees. The murders are drug-related; the drug in question being a mind-altering substance called SLO-MO. They find the nearest distribution point and shut it down. Anderson suspects one of the dealers, Kay (Wood Harris) of being involved in the murders and so they decide to take him in for questioning. It seems he works for a nasty piece of work known as Ma-Ma (Lena Headey). Afraid Kay might give over too much information under questioning, she orders the building shut-down and her men to find and kill the judges. It’s now a game of cat and mouse, but who will come out on top?
Very well made with some excellent cinematography; particularly the depiction of the effects of the SLO-MO drug; I found this very effective (even in 2D). I liked that this film was much edgier with a much tougher, uncompromising Dredd. Great performances all round with Karl Urban, Olivia Thirlby and Lena Headey standing out. Dredd never takes his helmet off and this is much truer to the original comic books, another thing I liked about this one. The music was good without being outstanding; it complemented the picture pretty well with some nice themes here and there. On the down side, I guess the script could have done with a little more work and they never get the Judges bikes right. They still look like a standard bike with a big faring tacked on; I maybe expected better this time. Loved all the various weapons and tech though! Over all, I enjoyed this one; it didn’t fall into cliché too much and had a nice gritty edge to it. I doubt they’ll make a sequel, but if they do, I will be in line for a ticket.
SteelMonster’s verdict: RECOMMENDED
My score: 7.9/10.
IMDb Score: 7.0/10 (based on 110,028 votes when this review was written).
MetaScore: 59/100: (Based on 29 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com at the time of going to press).
Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 73/100 (based on 141,152 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
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