Great way to reboot the franchise!
I'll start by saying that I've had the privilege of watching this movie early. I went in with high expectations and came out very pleased with the overall result. I'll start by saying that the film is completely different from the 1995 version, which is a good thing. If you actually liked the 1995 version (I've never came across anyone who liked it), then this isn't the movie for you. But if you're a fan of the comics or just want some good fun, this is the movie for you. I also won't reveal any spoilers in this review:
Let's start with Karl Urban's Judge Dredd, and how it compares to Stallone's:
Well, Urban really did impress me. He is what Judge Dredd is like in the comics, he just nailed the role. What impressed me more, is that he never even took his helmet off throughout the entire film so using facial expressions was impossible. His version of Dredd isn't a hero, he's an enforcer. He is the law, throughout the film he reminded me of Clint Eastwood. That's what he was aiming for, his voice wasn't as smooth as Eastwood's, it was rougher and more realistic. His Dredd was a drastic change from Stallone's, Stallone's Dredd wasn't Dredd. Stallone's Dredd was a hero, something which Dredd is not. This is a Dredd that puts justice above everything, Mega City One is filled with corruption. It's like Gotham City, but much, much worse. That's why Dredd is completely fine with killing, he has to kill. This is a Dredd that puts on his gear and he knows that he's in for a beating, but he goes out and does his job. Urban's version obviously isn't completely sane, he's a flawed human being. We never really get the answer to who is Judge Dredd, but as it's been said. Justice has no soul. Comparing Urban's look to Stallone's, Stallone's was closer to the comics but he looked like a circus act. Urban's version is a guy that puts on his gear and get's ready for a bad day, a more gritty and realistic version. This version of Dredd is extremely enjoyable, tough and has the overall package. Stallone has been put to shame.
Moving onto the plot and action:
Well, the plot revolves Dredd and a trainee's efforts to take down a gang that deals the reality-altering drug, SLO-MO. The film does use the effects of slow motion, it turns the gritty, horrible world of Mega-City One into something beautiful. You know what they say, persevering the moment. It does exactly that, it gives the audience the impression and feel of the drug. The film is only 90-95 minutes long but it's a roller-coaster ride. It's a shorter version of The Avengers, minus the characters. If you're going in to this and expecting something like The Dark Knight, don't watch this. This is just some good action-packed fun, it does what it's supposed to - reboot the franchise.
Moving onto the themes:
This film is violent. Very, very violent. Hence the 18 certificate rating, it has blood splashing everywhere, people's faces being ripped apart, etc. That's what the film get's around, that's the tone it takes. Mega-City One is a trash heap, the new world is filled with crime and violence, if you think Gotham is bad, you haven't seen the last of it. The world Dredd lives in, what he has to do deal with, it's awful. Dredd has to do what he does, that isn't hard to get at.
But this is exactly like the comic, Dredd is The Punisher with authority.
And lastly, the supporting characters:
I have to say, Olivia Thirlby and Lena Headey didn't cut it for me. I don't know why, but they were just there. Dredd made the movie, they were likable. Both of them, but I can't say much because they were under-developed. But, the sheer awesomeness of Dredd and the tone this film took, it really did nail it. So my final verdict?