Dredd (3D) – Movie Review
Posted by FATEMA H.KAGALWALA on September 23, 2012 | No Comments
PRODUCER – Alex Garland, Andrew MacDonald, Allon Reich
DIRECTOR – Pete Travis
WRITER – Alex Garland (Based on Judge Dredd by John Wagner and Carlos Ezquerra)
CAST – Karl Urban, Olivia Thirlby, Wood Harris, Lena Headey
MUSIC – Paul Leonard-Morgan
There is an enclosed, concrete slum in post-apocalyptic Mega City One rife with deranged criminal activities of a hardliner murder, torture and drug-dealing mafia. It is a dystopian world governed by dread and dreariness where life matters little, surviving delicately between drudgery and bullets.
Seasoned Judge Dredd (Karl Urban) and rookie Anderson (Olivia Thirlby) find themselves in this multi-storeyed ghetto on a drug-busting mission that has suddenly turned life-threatening. The odds are stacked very high against them with mafia kingpin Ma-ma (Lena Headey) thirsty for their blood because they have captured one of her henchmen Kay (Wood Harris) who has enough information to help them overturn her underworld empire. She has the Judges trapped inside the building and is now on a mission to finish them off. What follows is a tense and violent battle between Ma-Ma’s brute force, Dredd’s experience and Anderson’s psychic powers.
Based on the comic book character of Judge Dredd, the film is populated with demented criminals and hapless henchmen on one side and the team of the Judges, who combine the judge, jury and execution by law on the other. It is about this one face-off between the two sides that can end in the favour of only one.
What strikes us right away is the dark and tense atmosphere of the film. Emotionally, it is no fictional landscape but an intense portrayal of a civilisation teetering on the edge of destruction through its own violence. Blood splashes galore, sometimes in exotic shots, sometimes in pure cold-blooded vengeance and sometimes in extremely graphic gore. Yet, the intensity never gets under our skin, such is the treatment of this out and out action thriller. There are a number of extreme slow motion shots that in 3D pierce the fourth wall yet remain a mere spectacle of gushing blood or splintering glass. Psychic flashes are given a surprisingly facile portrayal except one Inception-esque mind-entering sequence that is joyful because of its swift edit treatment.
Sylvestor Stallone played Judge Dredd in a film of the same name in1995, a similar adaptation of the comic book but Dredd (2012) has no bearing on it. Karl Urban reprises the role of Stallone but where Sly’s crooked mouth was a star in itself in the mediocre older film, Urban’s constantly grimaced one does little to impress the gravity of his character. Olivia Thirlby as the rookie idealist determined on doing her bit to change the world, plays her part with conviction and without missing a beat. Hers is a female character in an action film that doesn’t find herself playing second fiddle to the male and in fact grabs much more attention by the performance of the leading lady.
Lovers of gore and violence have ample reason to enjoy the film for its sake. But, on a canvas of a larger experience, the film stretches too monotonously to really thrill and too predictably to truly chill.