In 1977, a British sci-fi comic book series known as “2000 AD,” created a character as a mix between a judge and police officer named, “Judge Dredd.” Set in a post-apocalyptic world, the titular character is a street judge whose job is to protect the streets of Mega-City One from criminal scum. He serves as judge, jury and executioner using his handy-dandy Lawgiver. A handgun lets the user fire different types of ammo via voice command. Over the years Judge Dredd remains as one of the best non-Marvel and Non-DC comic book characters. He appeared in video games, merchandise, action figures, t-shirts and a film adaptation starring Sylvester Stallone. Sadly, Dredd was a miscalculation for numerous reasons. One notable example is the dark ultra-violent atmosphere was sanitized into a lighthearted “Power Rangers” episode.
Seventeen Years Later, Alex Garland (Sunshine, Annihilation) penned a script as a full-fledged reboot of the character retaining core aspects of the comics including the ultra-violence, Dredd always wearing his helmet onscreen, dark tone and mature themes. Karl Urban (The Boys, The Lord of the Rings Trilogy) takes over Mr. Stallone’s place delivering a one-hundred percent accurate portrayal. I’m gonna come clean. The first time I’ve heard of Judge Dredd, was the 1995 flop. When I found out Mr. Garland is rebooting the character, I read a few comics to prep up. I was impressed on the Judge Dredd’s high concept of cops assuming the role as judge, jury and executioner who’ll do anything to protect citizens. One more thing, Alex wrote the underrated sci-fi film titled, “Sunshine.” Which is a guilty pleasure of mine.
Dredd was released in 2012. (same year Django Unchained came out) Unlike that god awful 1995 movie, this one earned positive reviews from critics and movie goers alike. Unfortunately, it bombed at the box office. Despite failing to recoup expenses, Dredd became a cult classic action movie enthusiasts and comic book fans. There are two reasons why I wanted to share my thoughts on this masterpiece. First, Karl Urban reprises his role as Billy the Butcher in The Boys’ third season on Amazon Prime. Second, Alex Garland’s most recent work, “Men” is out.
This review contains no crucial SPOILERS. If you’re interested in seeing Dredd, feel free to read my non-spoiler article.
Innocent & Guilty Aspects
Innocent: Karl Urban did an excellent job for his performance as the titular character. Karl based Dredd’s voice on Clint Eastwood. A similar approach Kurt Russell did to give Snake Plissken a raspy voice.
Other Cast Members such as Olivia Thirlby, Lena Headey & Domhnall Gleason all did a great job for their respective performances.
Alex Garland wrote the script. He did Dredd justice without showing his face onscreen just like in the comics.
Action Sequences are not afraid to show a bloody mess. Be prepared, this reboot in unapologetic. If you have a weak stomach, bring a barf bag.
Visual Effects are a mix of Computer Animation and Practical Effects.
Cinematography was shot flawlessly.
When I saw Dredd in 3D, I didn’t expect it to be legit on the silver screen. To put the icing on the cake, A drug called, “Slow-Mo” literally slows down the user’s perspective. Whenever a goon or furniture is destroyed, it feels like they’re flying towards me. I’m giving this awesome moment Bonus Points. This is how you make a 3D film. You hear that Disney?
Costume Designs are crafted by costume designers. They don’t seem odd.
Chemistry between Dredd & Anderson serves as the main highlight. It’s not a forced romance, just a teacher-student relationship played seriously. Their partnership is put to the test between a seasoned veteran and rookie as they fight their way through Ma-Ma’s armed henchmen. At least Rob Schneider’s not in it annoying the heck out of us.
Pacing didn’t feel slow or rushed.
Dredd delivers an epic speech. Karl killed it saying, “I am the law.” Not an eye rolling experience from the 1995 version. Thank goodness, Karl didn’t say Stallone’s cheesy catchphrase, I knew you say that.”
I’m gonna give Dredd credit for inspiring “The Mandalorian.” Without Dredd, Mando would’ve never existed as the first ever live action “Star Wars” TV show.
The reboot is influenced by “A Clockwork Orange,” “Escape from New York,” “Blade Runner” & “Die Hard.” The best way to describe the reboot is a cross between John Carpenter & Ridley Scott’s aforementioned classics.
I cannot tell you how it ends. You’re gonna have to see for yourself.
Guilty: I couldn’t find anything wrong. I’m giving the Cast & Crew an Extra Point for making a flawless film as possible.
The Final Verdict: A, FOR APEX!
Dredd is a criminally underrated instant classic. It’s a darn shame, it didn’t make enough money at the box office. Thankfully, a TV show is currently in development. Karl Urban himself is interested in reprising his role. If this becomes a reality, I wanna see Dredd square off with his evil counterpart, Judge Death. Heck, I’d like to see a video game as a “Grand Theft Auto” game where you assume the role as a cop like “L.A. Noire.” Judge Dredd is my second favorite non-Marvel or non-DC character. Spawn is my number one pick.