I am not really a Dredd fan, so I had no expectations for this movie, specially with such dull and uninteresting trailer, it looked no different than any other action movie like say Priest. But then word got out it was really great when the local theater in my town was doing early screenings of Dredd a week before the official release, I decided to check it out. Turns out Dredd 3D is the best kind of awesome: surprisingly awesome. Resident Evil 5, Total Recall and Expendables 2 got nothing on this movie. You hear me? Dredd entertained me far more than Chuck Norris in the Expendables 2. Compared to Prometheus, The Avengers or Dark Knight Rises, this movie is a very pleasant and surprising experience.
In the far future, America has become an irradiated waste land. In the ruins lies Mega City One — a vast and violent metropolis running from Boston to Washington DC, where criminals rule the chaotic streets. The only force of order remaining are "The Judges", urban cops who possess the combined powers of judge, jury and instant executioner. Dredd is the ultimate Judge, challenged with ridding the city of its latest scourge — a dangerous drug epidemic that has users of "Slo-Mo" experiencing reality at a fraction of its normal speed.
During a routine day on the job, Dredd (played by Karl Urban) is assigned to train and evaluate Cassandra Anderson (played by Olivia Thirlby), a rookie with powerful psychic abilities thanks to a genetic mutation. A heinous crime calls them to a neighborhood where fellow Judges rarely dare to venture — a 200 story vertical slum controlled by prostitute turned drug lord Ma-Ma and her ruthless clan. When they capture one of the clan's inner circle, Ma-Ma (played by Lena Headay) takes control of the compound and wages a dirty, vicious war against the Judges to protect her empire. With the body count climbing and no way out, Dredd and Anderson must confront the odds and engage in the relentless battle for their survival.
- Karl Urban is simply flawless as Dredd. He pulls a amazingly badass performance despite his minimalistic dialogues, his face being covered for all of the movie (rejoice fans, he never pulls the helmet off), he uses his voice tone and body language to covey his expressions. He has one-liners yes but they aren’t as cheesy as “I knew you would say that”. But there is not mistake, I don’t want to see someone else other Urban as Dredd.
- Olivia Thirlby provides a good counterpart to Karl Urban. She is inexperienced, naïve, hopeful, somewhat ambitious rookie who bounces off Dredd, who has seen his share on his life in fighting crime. This dynamic is what sells the characters for me for me and her role could have easily been written as love interest in a more generic movie, but they never go that direction.
- Lena Headey plays a great villain in the movie. She is like Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones, only more intimidating and terryfing. She is a prostitute turned criminal mastermind who got disfigured by a crime overlord, and she castrated him right before taking his empire. She plays the brains against Dredd’s brawn being very intelligent and savvy villain.
- The atmosphere is very fittingly dark and bleak. For a start, according to Dredd there are tens of thousands of murders in Mega-City One every single day, and the Judges only have the manpower to respond to around 6% of all that. The tone is very consistent with the original comics and doesn’t try to be anything else.
- The violence is refrenshingly intense and graphic. Action movies like Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, Resident Evil or Expendables 2 usually tone down the violence in order to squeeze through the PG-13 rating. This R-rated movie you see people being flayed, heads popping up in a glorious fashion. It doesn't screw around and goes balls to the wall instead of hands on the brakes all the time.
- It was definitely shot in 3D and it works really well during the action sequences.
- The slow motion sequences while something more than just a gimmick on this movie, is used many times. Not to same the extent as Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter or as gratuitosly, but they won't look as epic or fantastic on 2D, so it may vary according to your experience
- Mega City One isn’t featured very much in the movie, we pretty much see it in the opening sequence and it’s a very watered down version of what you expect or seen in the original comics.
Final score: 9/10 Dredd is the complete polar opposite to Stallone’s Judge Dredd. While the original one was high-budget, ditched the source material and played up the camp value, this one is low-budget, darker, meaner, violent and mature. This movie deserves more sequels. Right now. Bring it on!!!!
Dredd fans should definitely see it. People who enjoy mindless fun or gore will very much enjoy it too. But here is a warning, this movie just oozes blood and very proudly so.