Disclaimer: This is a review for the 2D version of the film. This is to judge the film purely on the film itself without worrying about the 3D aspect.
Way back in the year 1995, Hollywood attempted to tell the complex and brutal story of Judge Dredd, a popular comic first featured in 2000 A.D. back in the 70’s. The first swing was nothing short of cheesy, corny, and downright unfaithful with Sylvester Stallone tackled the main man with one liners and constant screams of being ‘the law’ turning the much loved character into a joke in Hollywood and audience’s mind. Flash forward to 2012 and Dredd is back on the big screen (in 3D nonetheless) for a new audience and is ready for their judgement. The verdict has been reached and Dredd is one of the best action films of the year.
Dredd delights with a simple premise as Judge Dredd, (Karl Urban) must assess a new rookie by the name of Judge Anderson (Olivia Thirlby) during a homicide at the 200 level Peach Trees complex in Mega City One. Whilst there, the Judges are wrapped in a locked down and are forced to go up against the biggest distributor of the drug Slo-Mo lead by Ma-Ma (Lena Hedley). It is up to the Judges to take down Ma-Ma’s clan one by one, level by level. Luckily, this benefits the film more than harms it as it fits the low budget (for Hollywood’s standards) and lead to a great character study of our two main Judges.
Karl Urban as Dredd fits into the helmet with ease and excels as the Judge using his fanboy knowledge into his performance. Olivia Thrilby’s take on Anderson is vulnerable yet strong willed with fantastic scenes of interrogation and discovery of what it means to be a judge. Lena Hedley’s performance may come across as not quite enough to be a great force for a villain that even when threatening her own men, it comes off as more laughable than intimidating.
The major aspect of what makes Dredd work over the 1995 film is the action sequences which may be some of the most gorgeous display of effects, gore, and violence put on celluloid. The use of slow motion during the Slo-Mo infused action scenes pop with vibrant colors and hard R blood pumping through its core balancing perfectly with the normal speed of the non-affected judges. The camera work and cinematography throughout shines with a broad scope making such small budget effects become larger than life on the big screen with grittiness pouring in each shot. One minor complaints would be that some sequences go on a bit too long, but that is a very small complaint for an otherwise great film.
Dredd is not dreadful, but a near perfect experience to appeal to any action film fan with a fantastic simple plot, fascinating action sequences, and a unique visual style. Judgement has come and its a winner. Court’s adjourned.
Final Verdict: 4.5 out of 5.