DREDD Review: Judgement Has Arrived In This Brutal And Majestic Big Screen Adaptation
Judge Dredd is back in this surprisingly great film from director Pete Travis. Starring Karl Urban as the popular character, hit the jump to check out my review. Spoilers ahead...
Many thought that Dredd will be terrible. That was because of all those rumors about bad production, editing process, etc... And not to mention that the first trailer was released in late July, which is little bit late for a film coming out in September. Now that I have finally watched the film in its entirety, I can safely say that Dredd is hands down one of my favorite films of the year. And I do wonder why Lionsgate didn't have a more agressive marketing campaign for this one. More below.
Director Pete Travis filmed Dredd on a $45 million budget, which is absolutely great, because everything in this film looks fantastic. The visuals are wonderful, from a vast Mega-City One and its streets, highways and buildings, to the smart use of slow-motion and brilliant action scenes. Travis moves things along quickly (hence the 95 minutes running time), but that is not a bad thing in this case. The script from Alex Garland (Sunshine, Never Let Me Go, 28 Days Later) is brilliant. The way we are introduced to Judge Dredd is right to the point. There are no pacing issues, or moments where the film slows down. As soon as you see Dredd gearing up, the action starts.
Karl Urban plays Judge Dredd with perfection. One thing that I loved, is that we never see Dredd's face in full. Which is great, and means that they stayed true to the source material. But, it also means much more work for Urban, considering he has that helmet throughout the film. Rest assured though... Urban gives a great performance with some awesome/sarcastic one-liners and he really has that screen presence. Olivia Thirlby is a revelation. She was truly amazing in this role. Thirlby plays Cassandra Anderson in the film, the rookie Judge with psychic abilities. This character is just as important as Dredd. I say this, because I found it very interesting that we got more back story and character development with Judge Anderson, than what we got with Dredd. There is a scene at the beginning where Chief Judge asks Anderson to show her abilities, so she starts talking about Dredd and his past, but then stops because Chief Judge says it's enough. This scene is basically the only moment where you will find anything about Dredd. This was made on purpose and I think that's how Garland wrote it in the script. While I did like the whole mystery behind Dredd and who he really is, more character development would have made this film even better. Lena Headey as Ma-Ma was another good performance, though the character seemed almost one-dimensional. While we do get her backstory, she doesn't do much in the film other than giving orders.
The music in this film was amazing. The score by Paul Leonard-Morgan fits perfectly with this futuristic story and characters. As I mentioned above, the visuals effects were also rather spectacular. Despite the modest budget, Dredd has quite a lot of CG shots. I really loved the balance between practical effects and visual effects. It was flawless. The film has a lot of violence and gore, but the way director and the crew decided to use slow-motion and display blood, bullets and more, was incredible. The cinematography by Anthony Dod Mantle (The Last King of Scotland, Slumdog Millionaire) was simply beautiful. A lot of stunning shots, mixed with the brutal part of the film.
Overall, Dredd is a film that needs to be seen on the big screen. It's action-packed, bloody, smart and so much fun. Featuring some great performances, amazing set pieces, brilliant soundtrack and much more, Dredd is one of the best films of 2012.
Dredd takes place on a fictional Earth created as a result of the Atomic Wars. Survivors of this period are living in Mega-Cities, which protects its citizens from the Cursed Earth, a radioactive desert environment populated by mutants. The main story takes place in Mega-City One, where the police who are now called judges have the power to use police brutality to some extent to fight extreme murders. One man, Judge Dredd (Karl Urban), a senior law enforcement officer, teams up with a cadet called Judge Anderson (Olivia Thirlby) to track down a terrorist organization lead by Ma-Ma (Lena Headey), who is responsible for selling a reality-altering drug called Slo-Mo.
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