Josh Wilding Reviews: DREDD 3D

Released in the UK today and in the US on September 21st, here is my spoiler-free verdict of DREDD; a film which deserves all the praise it has received since it premiered at the San Diego Comic-Con and a whole lot more besides. Check it out!

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By Josh Wilding - 9/7/2012

I'm not a Judge Dredd fan. I've never read a comic book featuring the character and haven't even watched the awful looking 1995 film starring Sylvester Stallone. The 2000 AD Universe has never really appealed to me, and while I'm sure that I may be missing out on some great stuff, it's for this reason that I haven't exactly been counting down the days until the release of DREDD. Sure, it looked pretty good in the trailer and TV spots, but it's not the kind of film which is going to get me as excited as something like The Avengers! However, had I known just how good it was going to be, DREDD would have been right up there as one of my most anticipated of 2012. While the film is clearly restricted by a budget which is lower than usual for this type of film (it almost all takes place in one location), that's far from noticeable and the special effects are absolutely top notch. It's not hard to imagine a sequel with considerably more money spent on it and a more ambitious screenplay rivalling the epic blockbusters mentioned above though. Regardless, DREDD is still a fantastic movie which makes for a thrilling 90 minutes at the theatre, and even if like me, you've never picked up a comic book featuring Judge Dredd, you'll still have a great time.

Karl Urban is fantastic at portraying the clearly battle worn 'Judge Dredd', but don't go in expecting an awful lot of character development. In all honesty, there's actually no need for it, especially when rookie 'Judge Anderson' offers viewers a somewhat more human and grounded perspective on events. Despite clearly being a man who cares about justice, some may find Dredd hard to care for or sympathise with as we see him brutally executing criminals. However, the film so brilliantly shows the appalling state of the crime riddled Mega City One that his actions never come across as truly being too unforgivable or extreme. While the footage released from the movie so far has shown little more than a few choice facial expressions and one-liners, there's quite a bit more to him than that, and it's all down to Urban who expertly makes the character such a great presence on screen. Olivia Thirlby meanwhile is equally impressive as Anderson, and one can only hope that the performance delivered here results in more mainstream roles for her in future. As a "mutant" with psychic powers, it means that a lot of interesting avenues are explored with her character, and one scene in particular - a psychic confrontation with The Wire's Wood Harris (also on fine form) - is VERY memorable. Lena Headey's villainous 'Ma-Ma' is as ruthless and evil as you might expect, never failing to convince. However, it's a shame that she's not the sort of foe who gives Judge Dredd a proper physical confrontation to finish off the film with.

Despite the fact that the story boils down to little more than Dredd and Anderson being trapped in a high rise and attempting to make their way to Ma-Ma, there are still a lot of great twists and turns scattered throughout to keep things interesting. The action also keeps things moving very nicely and Alex Garland's screenplay is full of great dialogue and some surprisingly humorous moments. The whole idea of "Slo-Mo" - a drug which slows slows down a users perception of time to just 1% of its normal speed - is also a nice touch and a good excuse to use bullet time (handled here far more skilfully than in Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter). However, director Pete Travis' handle on action is perhaps the most impressive aspect of DREDD as the various shoot outs and fight sequences are all equally exciting and will keep you on the edge of your seat throughout. The film earns it's R-Rating, although the violence thankfully never goes too over the top or slapstick and one point of view sequence actually ends up being more impressive than almost all of those in The Amazing Spider-Man. Unfortunately, the 3D isn't particularly memorable apart from in a handful of scenes, and while it's better than most of the conversions released this year, it ultimately adds little to the overall experience.

DREDD is a must-see for fans and non-fans alike. Visually stunning and full of great performances and action sequences, it's one of the best films of 2012. Brilliant.








During a routine day on the job, Dredd is assigned to train and evaluate Cassandra Anderson, 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 overtakes the compound's control center and wages a dirty, vicious war against the Judges that proves she will stop at nothing 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.


STARRING:

Karl Urban as Judge Dredd
Olivia Thirlby as Judge Anderson
Lena Headey as Madeline Madrigal
Domhnall Gleeson as Travis Synders
Langley Kirkwood as Judge Lex
Francis Chouler as Judge Guthrie
Deobia Oparei as Judge T.J. Alvarez

RELEASE DATE: September 7th, 2012 (UK) September 21st, 2012 (US)


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53 Comments
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SimpleObserverOfThings - 9/7/2012, 12:22 PM
Ok, I guess I'll spend the $10.50 on the ticket and $15.00 for a coke and popcorn...
GetsugaTensho22 - 9/7/2012, 12:24 PM
Judgement time.
Defense, noted.
Sentence: First Day watch.
Unas - 9/7/2012, 12:25 PM
Great Review!
Can't wait for this to release in the U.S!
I think Karl Urban would make a great MGS Snake.
marvel72 - 9/7/2012, 12:26 PM
its getting good reveiws from everyone at the moment,i'm definetly gonna try & check this out this weekend.
Marxman12 - 9/7/2012, 12:26 PM
Great review. I was already planning on seeing this when it comes to the U.S. but now you've got me really pumped.
Pendaghast - 9/7/2012, 12:31 PM
Never had any doubt this would be a successful venture when i first heard who was working on it! just hope lots of you lot like Josh out there who dont know much about the character pay to see this so we get a big budget sequel in the blasted lands with mutants and all the other goodies from the comics.
Pendaghast - 9/7/2012, 12:40 PM
blasted lands? where the [frick]s that come from? cursed earth i meant!
Pendaghast - 9/7/2012, 12:42 PM
tea drinking bastards lol
Pendaghast - 9/7/2012, 12:44 PM
Pathfinder!
Pendaghast - 9/7/2012, 12:46 PM
im just brewing up now, stuffs like [frick]ing ambrosia with milk and two sugars!
Nomis1800 - 9/7/2012, 12:47 PM
But.. It was shot on 3D.
imnotahero - 9/7/2012, 12:47 PM
I've said it before and i'll say it again, Josh's reviews all seem like he's being bribed. I'll wait for some proper reviews to come out.
marvel72 - 9/7/2012, 12:49 PM
tea & stella my two favorite drinks.
GUNSMITH - 9/7/2012, 12:53 PM
WOW MUST BE REALLY GOOD
THEDARKKNIGHT1939 - 9/7/2012, 12:56 PM
Still not going to see it in theaters. I never heard of Dredd until the movie was announced. But I am glad its getting positive reviews and fans will probably be overwhelmed.
GodzillaKart - 9/7/2012, 12:56 PM
Wow! Gotta admit, I thought this would be pretty bad. OK. That sinks it. I'll check it out.
OrsonRandall - 9/7/2012, 12:58 PM
Saw this today in my local IMAX was really good, even enjoyed the 3D effects.

This film is Basically Dredd + The Raid Redemption.
SunSp0t - 9/7/2012, 1:00 PM
I kinda had a feeling this was gonna be very good. It just goes to show you that you dont need an astronomical budget to make a quality film. I will definately be watching this film.
valeriesghost - 9/7/2012, 1:12 PM
okay. I'm gonna have to see this now.
Maximus101 - 9/7/2012, 1:14 PM
They really need to learn to start releasing movies everywhere at once, ridiculous some people http see it a week or to earlier than everyone else.
ABLEE337 - 9/7/2012, 1:17 PM
That's great news. Can't wait to see it.
Bandido - 9/7/2012, 1:17 PM
5 stars?! Shit...I was not expecting that at all! I think I'm going to check it out
DevilHulk666 - 9/7/2012, 1:18 PM
@Unas,yes i agree Urban for snake
MrChuff - 9/7/2012, 1:18 PM
I'm drinking tea right now.... mainly coz I'm not watching Dredd.
Which I am mightily peeved about.

For your health.
SkullFace616 - 9/7/2012, 1:20 PM
Anyone know where Teabag is gone these days?
DevilHulk666 - 9/7/2012, 1:22 PM
Imo i thought Doom was ok,and i dont get the hate on Vin Diesel? Pitch Black and Chronicles of Riddick are two great movies and im ok with Diesel playing the Vision
TheAmazingSpiderMan47 - 9/7/2012, 1:22 PM
wow was not expecting a 5/5 stars .... i might have to check this out if more positive reviews pour in
HelaGood - 9/7/2012, 1:33 PM
wow this came as a surprise!!!
Ranger14 - 9/7/2012, 1:36 PM
It has come up a tad from the 7/10 on RT to 7.3/10, but I am not going to take 5/5 too seriously. To each their own.
Pendaghast - 9/7/2012, 1:43 PM
How can anyone think Pathfinder was good?, Doom yeah wasnt bad for a bit of fun
.... but Pathfinder was utter crap just like 10000bc was and urban was shat in it
inky - 9/7/2012, 1:58 PM
a good movie doent always have to have a massive budget to be honest if the story is right and the actors do there jobs it could be made for peanuts and still be great, yes a higher budget sequel will be needed but first let this one sink in and just wow the fans :).
judge dredd its now his time to step up and be judged.
Maximus101 - 9/7/2012, 2:14 PM
Ya I have watched a lot of amazing low budget movies that go straight to DVD/blu ray so the budget never concerned me. Can't wait to see this violent movie!!
vespasian13 - 9/7/2012, 2:15 PM
With only a fraction of their budgets Judge Dredd has wiped the floor with Batman and even stomped on Avengers..
But this movie earns its 18 rating and is not for the faint hearted ..and is awesome !! Dredd has truly come to life..:-)
KeithM - 9/7/2012, 2:34 PM
I'll be seeing it on Sunday. Good to hear the good review.
Bandrews1 - 9/7/2012, 2:38 PM
I will be there opening day :)
Growler - 9/7/2012, 2:45 PM
It's interesting people here expressing their scepticism of this film because it was made on a relatively meagre budget. Are peoples memories so short that they don't remember that two of the best genre movies of the last five years were made for similar budgets?

I'm talking, of course, of District 9 and Kick-Ass.

It isn't the amount of money you spend making a film that matters, it's what you do with that money that really counts.
Pendaghast - 9/7/2012, 2:58 PM
50 million is hardly low budget surely
JULEZ13 - 9/7/2012, 3:13 PM
5 stars? Really? Impressive. This movie has been on my radar since I saw the trailer. I'm gonna try to watch it.
Pendaghast - 9/7/2012, 3:14 PM
27 reviews in 100% positive actually
Ceejay - 9/7/2012, 3:34 PM
I watched Dredd earlier and then watched Lawless directly afterwards. Dredd was ok for the budget it had, pretty much devoid of much of the comics vision. Mega city is not the metropolis of future concepts, more like any-city USA with pretty much the same structures and clothing as we have today despite the whole radiation after the war stuff for the cursed earth.

That said they made the visuals work with what they had, the story was nothing, contrived to keep all the narrative as undemanding as possible. Way too many corrupt judges for the first film, one alone is a rare thing in the comics, FOUR in this film! It was just violence overkill, Karl Urban did his best Clint Eastwood impression and was way better than Stallone but still wish he had a damn chin for the role!

Felt more like watching one episode of a TV show than a feature film. Still a much more accurate delivery of the character than what Stallone and the gang produced back in '95. I give it a thumbs up for effort, 6.5/10

Go and see LAWLESS, easily the best gangster film since CASINO. Tom Hardy is having one hell of a year, Shia Lebeouf shows there's more to him than saying "No" faster than any human being and whoever Jessica Chastain's agent is, they deserve a nobel prize. How does she keep getting these fantastic roles in great movies? 9/10
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