Judge Dredd (1995) Review

Verdict
2.5

Summary

Judge Dredd is only worth watching when really drunk and it’s not without its fun moments but it is a wasted opportunity and the “comic relief” was a terrible idea.

Plot: In the crime-plagued future, the only thing standing between order and chaos is Judge Joseph Dredd (Sylvester Stallone). His duty: police the violent metropolitan sprawls that crowd the decaying earth, and kill criminals on the spot if necessary. The tables are turned, however, when maniacal ex-Judge Rico (Armand Assante) frames Dredd for murder. But, as his opponents soon discover, not even a prison sentence can stop Dredd from doling out his signature brand of justice.

Review: Judge Dredd turned out to be an incredibly disappointing film; despite some impressive action set-pieces there were just too many things that annoyed me.

Rob Schneider, the acting, the script and (most of) the special effects are all lacklustre at best. I never understood why studios feel the need to include “comic relief” which is always just irritating and never funny.

I remember reading the comics as a kid and they got the tone of the movie way off; the film felt more like a parody and although the comic had elements of humour, it did tend to be more serious.

As much as I am a huge fan of Sly Stallone, this could well be his worst acting performance; the fact that the hardly wears the iconic helmet is also hugely frustrating. There is no sense of mystery to the character and anything resembling subtlety is out the window.

Max Von Sydow provides a bit of gravitas and Armande Assante hams it up nicely as Rico. Diane Lane is not hard to look at but her character does feel under-utilized and is just… there.

I also feel that ending feels rather rushed; a friend was telling me a while ago that he remembers seeing a photo of the scene in which the clones are being prematurely let out of their incubators to attack Dredd, and he begins to mow them down with his gun, which explains why the whole lab comes crashing down.

The soundtrack by Alan Silvestri is one of his best and has a great, heroic theme tune and is arguably the highlight of the film.

Apparently Disney wanted director Danny Cannon to cut the film’s violence down to get the dredded (ho ho) PG-13 rating but apparently that didn’t happen before the film’s release date. What we’re left with is a messy film which is a sadly missed opportunity.

The final battle between Dredd and Rico does feel like it was shortened and is ultimately pretty unsatisfying as well.

Thankfully Karl Urban and co. redeemed the name of Judge Dredd with their underrated 2012 film… it’s just a shame no one went to see it.

Overall, Judge Dredd is only worth watching when really drunk and it’s not without its fun moments but it is a wasted opportunity and the “comic relief” was a terrible idea. Court is adjourned…