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2012 | 95 min | R | 2.39:1



1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

User reviews

3 user reviews

Movie appeal

Comic book40%



Theatrical release date

 21 September, 2012
 07 September, 2012

Country of origin

 United Kingdom

Technical aspects

3D (native, 95 minutes)

Box office




Overview Preview Cast & crew User reviews News Forum

Screenshots from Dredd 3D Blu-ray

Dredd Preview  

 / 10
Preview by Brian Orndorf, September 21, 2012

The last time we saw the character of Judge Dredd on the big screen, it was in a 1995 Sylvester Stallone vehicle from Disney. While interestingly designed and occasionally inspired, “Judge Dredd” was a misfire, tanking an opportunity to bring the cult comic book bruiser (first inked in 1977) to life in the manner he was originally conceived. It took time, but enterprising financiers have decided to try again with Dredd, this time sticking close to the source material to inspire a cinematic do over, shedding a Hollywood action bonanza atmosphere to go grittier, keeping the character masked and mean as he’s once again sent out to assess the wicked citizens of Mega-City One. Second time’s a charm with “Dredd,” which brings out the agony of this world and the duty of the protagonist with a welcome discomfort, hitting consistent points of futuristic fury in a supremely entertaining picture.

With the outside world, the “Cursed Earth,” poisoned by radiation, the population has moved into mega-cities: cesspools of unemployment and violence that require monitoring from the Justice Department and their system of judges. Making her debut is Judge Anderson (Olivia Thirlby), a mutant with physic powers assigned to shadow Judge Dredd (Karl Urban), a no-nonsense type tasked with grading the newcomer’s progress. Investigating a routine murder inside the towering Peach Trees city block, Dredd and Anderson stumble upon the lair of Ma-Ma (Lena Headey), a vicious drug kingpin pushing a new narcotic known as “Slo-Mo” on the locals, defending her territory with unimaginable displays of violence. Soon locked inside Peach Trees, Anderson and Dredd are in for the fight of their lives when Ma-Ma calls on the residents to kill the judges, forcing the duo to blast a safe path through the levels of the complex, dispensing lawful judgment along the way.

Made for a sensible budget, “Dredd” doesn’t spend much time in the expensive outdoors. Outside of an opening sequence where Judge Dredd chases a truck filled with Slo-Mo-slugged goons, the feature likes to keep matters simplified within concrete interiors, allowing for easier access to visual effects and a stable production environment to survey the battle scenario in full. It’s a radical departure from the Stallone picture, but that’s a positive development, urging director Pete Travis (“Vantage Point”) and screenwriter Alex Garland to come up with a different spin on the source material, selecting more of a detached European sensibility that doesn’t carry the sensorial severity the action genre demands these days. Instead of repetitive noise, the filmmakers have constructed an oddly still movie that endeavors to do justice to the “Judge Dredd” franchise, despite not always having the budgetary resources to fully flesh out the dystopian world.

Without money to burn, Travis aims to turn “Dredd” into a sample-sized introductory adventure, pitting the judges against a particularly nasty, heavily scarred villain who’s desperate to protect her Slo-Mo empire. Facing off inside tomb-like Peach Trees, the film becomes a series of encounters in hallways and apartments, making time to understand Dredd’s steely work ethic and Anderson’s mind-bending abilities, which allow her to interrogate crooks inside their minds, reducing the need for her partner’s legendary brute force. “Dredd” sweats to create an aura of unease around the setting, using the multi-level playground effectively as the characters work their way to Ma-Ma, blasting baddies with their “Lawgiver” guns (weapons with numerous ammo options that respond to verbal commands), while deducing various legalities involving the living and the dead. Thankfully, the script treats Mega-City One with seriousness, refusing any invitation to pursue “Dredd” as a satire on the authoritarianism of law enforcement, keeping focused on the story at hand. The concentration is refreshing.

Travis can’t always sustain the pace of “Dredd,” periodically losing the electro rhythm of the piece as Dredd and Anderson take ample time to evaluate the situation, taking stock of new enemies. Also troublesome is the lack of detail, with talk of time in “Iso-Cubes” never reaching a payoff in the picture, and while other street judges are introduced in the second half of the film, there’s never a full sense of what the Justice Department is capable of, leaving the production feeling a little empty at times.

As the cold-blooded figure of judgment, Urban makes for an imposing but sensible Dredd, remaining hidden under a helmet for the entire feature. Cooking up a raspy voice and concrete stance, Urban is convincing in the role, making his Dredd open to options, trusting Anderson and her gifts while remaining secure in his street experience, softening the character without submission, creating a plausible instrument of justice instead of a tortured enigma. It’s an amusing performance without the crutch of one-liners, carrying authority throughout the effort. Also interesting is Headey as Ma-Ma, using her kitten purr of a voice to disorient viewers as the character dishes out extraordinary harm to anyone who crosses her.

“Dredd” is raw (the HD cinematography is iffy at best) and profoundly aggressive, not afraid to show off death and destruction graphically, intermittently boosted by the twinkly euphoria Slo-Mo brings to its users. If a sequel should come, the series is set to explode, having established the Mega-City One world with authority, now able to trade budget-minded claustrophobia for the crippling expanse of a dying world just aching for exploration. “Dredd” is an excellent start, but there’s plenty of room to grow and crooks to judge.

Starring: Karl Urban, Lena Headey, Olivia Thirlby, Wood Harris, Warrick Grier, Porteus Xandau Steenkamp
Director: Pete Travis

» See full cast & crew

Dredd, Forum Discussions

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Dredd - Sept 21, 2012 0 Jun 11, 2012

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