Dredd is one of the best action films of 2012 and should hopefully be the beginning of a new franchise…
Plot: Mega City One is a vast, violent metropolis where felons rule the streets. The only law lies with cops called “judges,” who act as judge, jury and executioner, and Dredd (Karl Urban) is one of the city’s most feared. One day, Dredd is partnered with Cassandra (Olivia Thirlby), a rookie with powerful psychic abilities. A report of a terrible crime sends Dredd and Cassandra to a dangerous area controlled by Ma-Ma (Lena Headey), a drug lord who will stop at nothing to protect her empire.
Review: Fans of Rob Schneider will be disappointed with this incarnation of Dredd as he isn’t there to ruin it like he did the previous 1995 film. I’m pleased to say that Dredd 2012 utterly destroys the original film in every way. Judge Dredd was admittedly cheesy fun with Stallone having a ball, but it didn’t feel anything like what Judge Dredd should be. Thankfully, all lessons have been learned and Karl Urban IS Dredd; he embodies the character perfectly and feels like a futuristic version of Dirty Harry. He growls every line but is never unintentionally funny, which could have been the case.
Lena Headey was fantastic as Mama who looks constantly stoned and manages to be one of the few scary female villains in cinema history. She’s completely psychotic and doesn’t mind skinning people alive just to prove a point. Olivia Thirlby has a predictable role as the “rookie” Judge Anderson who is nervous at first, then becomes an ass-kicker later. She is the heart and soul of the film however, as she is one of the few genuinely decent characters in it. Everyone else is hard as nails or just plain evil, but she feels like a real person.
This film is a brutal, hard R actionfest which is quite similar to The Raid not just in story, but with the music score. I prefer the music to this as it really adds to the film’s psychedelic, dreamlike atmosphere. It’s beautifully shot and the 3D for once, really compliments the film, especially when everything goes into slo-mo. There is a little too much of it though, which does get mildly irritating after a while.
The film opens with a great car chase with Dredd pursuing some perps on his motorbike, which has a satisfyingly bloody finale. Dredd wastes no time in getting going and moves at a great pace with only a mild slump in the mid-section.
The script is excellent with a few choice one-liners, but not too many. It’s a pretty serious story and I’d be surprised if any fans of the comic were disappointed. Dredd keeps his helmet on for the entire film so purists can rest easy.
Overall, Dredd is one of the best action films of 2012 and should hopefully be the beginning of a new franchise…