Nailbiter111 Reviews: DREDD

Does the movie deserve the praise that many critics have bestowed upon it, or is there a good reason that moviegoers aren't flocking to see it? Hit the jump to hear my audio review of Pete Travis and Alex Garland's Dredd 3D.

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By nailbiter111 - 9/26/2012


Dredd is neither great, nor is it bad. I would consider it slightly above average with most of the memorable scenes belonging to Olivia Thirlby's Judge Anderson. She gives a stand out performance, every scene that has her as the focal point is sensational. Karl Urban is no slouch either, he looks and acts the part perfectly. His enthusiasm for the role definitely elevates the mostly mediocre action sequences. The movie suffers from forgettable villains, a thin plot, and an absolute absence of satire. For my full review listen to the audio clip below. Spoilers will be discussed!







The future America is an irradiated waste land. On its East Coast, running from Boston to Washington DC, lies Mega City One- a vast, violent metropolis where criminals rule the chaotic streets. The only force of order lies with the urban cops called “Judges” who possess the combined powers of judge, jury and instant executioner. Known and feared throughout the city, Dredd (Karl Urban) 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 is assigned to train and evaluate Cassandra Anderson (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 (Lena Headey) 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.


The film opens in 3D September 21st.

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lntrn8 - 9/26/2012, 1:39 PM
3 stars?
nailbiter111 - 9/26/2012, 1:40 PM
average is 2.5 stars, so since it's slightly above average, that would me 3 stars.
third3ye - 9/26/2012, 1:45 PM
Bit harsh but not far from my opinion. I would've given it 3.5 stars, a very solid R-rated movie effort, true to the source material with good acting all around.
nailbiter111 - 9/26/2012, 1:52 PM
I mention the lack of satire because in the comic books that is an essential part of it's appeal. Having no satirical elements in the film means it's not exactly a true Judge Dredd movie.
jimpinto24 - 9/26/2012, 1:58 PM
I thought Dredd was pretty good! A few flaws, but good. More action packed, and more brutal. I also enjoyed Karl Urban as Dredd, and Olivia Thirlby was great as a female sidekick, and had some memorable scenes. Lena Headey was a decent villian. Overall, good film. One of my favorite comic book movies this year.
ElGenerico - 9/26/2012, 2:04 PM
I'll be honest I wasn't too stoked for it. I thought ehhh another action movie and when I saw it I was blown away! It was amazing I'd recommend it to anyone!
Godzillafart - 9/26/2012, 2:06 PM
@nailbiter111: That's what I thought. I have never read a Dredd comic, but my understanding was that it is a satire against fascist, police state governments that Dredd represents. Dredd is, in my understanding, kind of a futuristic SS soldier. Is that correct?
Maximus101 - 9/26/2012, 2:17 PM
Everybody is entitled to their own opinion. I very much liked it but it's definetly not the best cbm this year. It does deserve more money though that's for sure.
INSTANTJUSTICE - 9/26/2012, 2:21 PM
I think Dredd interrogating a subject with brutal force while Anderson looks on and says 'that's not necessary', to which Dredd responds by standing back to take position in front of what's left of the stars & stripes to be pretty 'satirical'.

Satire doesn't need to be 'funny' or overt, it can be implicit.
Asterisk - 9/26/2012, 2:22 PM
I thought it was "satirical" enough. I dug the hell out of this movie.
SFCamerica - 9/26/2012, 2:23 PM
Fair assessment @Nail, anything 3* or higher is a very enjoyable movie in my book, that's exactly what this movie was, very enjoyable, nothing too memorable.
nailbiter111 - 9/26/2012, 2:24 PM
@INSTANTJUSTICE - that's a good point.

@truthnofodder - i keep deleting your comments because they aren't contributing to the discussion. I don't appreciate you trolling the article for attention. Maybe you didn't get the memo but CBM doesn't put up with trolls anymore.
lokibane2012 - 9/26/2012, 2:26 PM
Hmmm, I thought this film was fantastic. Mainly because how much I enjoyed Karl Urban's performance. His badass aura, his dry/deadpan sense of humor, and the bone chilling "Ma Ma's not the law, I am the law", which was a major improvement over Stallone's. I thought it had a lot of fun action moments, a lot of expectation defying moments, and a lot of creativity to the action.

Although, as a Judge Dredd film, there indeed was a noticeable lack of satire, and at times you could tell that they'd have done a lot more if they had a bigger budget.

But all in all, I loved it.

4/5
BruceWayneNewton - 9/26/2012, 2:31 PM
I thought this movie was okay but so predictable. We all knew what was going to happen throughout the entire movie. Even my girlfriend knew what was going to happen!
nailbiter111 - 9/26/2012, 2:36 PM
TruthNoFodder - if you are disagreeing with me then you should actually make a comment that acknowledges that, you have not. Either join the discussion or don't participate. If you continue continue to make childish comments, don't be surprised when you get the boot. You've been judged.
BruceWayneNewton - 9/26/2012, 2:51 PM
I didn't even know teabag was still alive!!! Good for you, bro.
Greengo - 9/26/2012, 2:51 PM
poopie
Greengo - 9/26/2012, 2:52 PM
Still ain't seen this yet dammit
INSTANTJUSTICE - 9/26/2012, 2:55 PM
The over-riding feeling from most people is that they'd like to see more of Dredd and Mega-City (part of the intention) and If enough people see it, we'll get that better sequel.
ManOfKrypton - 9/26/2012, 3:00 PM
This is my favourite CBM this year - Basically because it had the balls to go where other CBM dare not to!
gaikinger - 9/26/2012, 3:04 PM
I thought this movie was amazing next to 300 my favorite CBM of all time. Atmospherically mesmerising and brutally uncompromising I put this up their with such greats as Carpenter's The Thing, 300, True Romance, King of New York. Thirby's Anderson was an amazing performance as she adapts and evolves to the situations that confront her and eventually shape her. Lena just delivers in everything she's in and 1000 mile stares and subtle yet over the top approach the MaMa character are brilliant. Karl is Dredd combining everything from Dirty Harry to the Terminator in a perfectly portrayed stoicness yet nuanced performance. Loved the atmospheric cinematography and deft use of special effects. Come to think of it and it just occurs to me now as I write this but this is movie conjures the same feelings I had as the first time I saw the original Terminator. Movie was a total bullseye!
Otisburg - 9/26/2012, 3:08 PM
THE MOST UNDERATED MOVIE OF THE YEAR.
FOOM - 9/26/2012, 3:09 PM
Superb film and not one for the infants. The fact that it isn't glossy and doesn't appeal to the average comic geek's inner 5 year old probably rubs people up the wrong way. More tension than the silly TDKR as well.
gaikinger - 9/26/2012, 3:12 PM
Remember how great Pitch Black was with a simple story, small budget, but enthusiastic team of visionary filmmakers. It's like that but better. A lot of people panned Chronicles of Riddick when they infused the franchise with a large budget ( not me, I thought it was great ). I hope they get the same creative team top to bottom to come back if a deserved sequel gets the greenlight.
Ranger14 - 9/26/2012, 3:28 PM
I think the challenge of rating films is how people consider the scores. I don't consider 2.5/5 as average. That's a 50% and I don't consider being at 50% as being average. So, even scoring is somewhat subjective. I consider 7/10 as average. It's how I was brought up and still applies in most grading systems today, unless there is a curve applied and I am not a big fan of the curve system. Different strokes.

I saw the film today and agree with most of the nailbiter's comments. I would put it at 6.5...pushing 7/10, which for me is average. 8/10 is good and 9/10 is excellent/great. My main challenge was the thin story. The experienced veteran has a rookie under foot and has to take on the villain/drug lord. The ascending building levels to take on the adversaries has been done numerous times before, so that did nothing for me. I would have preferred seeing more of the overall environment of the city, as opposed to mainly the one community high-rise. Visually it was good, though I was not a big fan of the slow-mo.
bagadoosh - 9/26/2012, 3:30 PM
I did not see any great reason to see this in 3d but other than that I really enjoyed it . Nice and gritty !!
Ranger14 - 9/26/2012, 3:35 PM
Let me qualify that 9/10 being excellent/great still doesn't mean it is perfect, but darned close. 9.5-10 would be on the upper end of excellent/near perfect. That's my scoring system. :-P
DoomXfactor - 9/26/2012, 3:39 PM
I heard nothing but praise before and now that it tanked everybody is saying that it's actually average LOL I'll judge for myself
@bagadoosh- your profile gif is awesome
MarsivNayr - 9/26/2012, 3:47 PM
This was a surprise hit for me. SERIOUSLY dissapointed it bombed at the box office. All little criticisms aside, I can tell the filmmakers did exacty what they wanted to with this film. Extremely enjoyable.
LAXtremest - 9/26/2012, 3:53 PM
8.5 for me. But maybe that's a bit high.
dreddhead123 - 9/26/2012, 4:26 PM
I tend to agree with the review although my rating would be 2.5 stars (comparable to a 50 percent score). For anyone that's read Judge Dredd - THE ACTUAL COMIC STRIP - the plot of the film is piss poor. So unimaginative.

Go read classic Judge Dredd stories like The Stupid Gun, Citizen Snork, Hunters Club, Trapper Hag, The Starborn Thing, It Pays To Be Mental, Sunday Night Fever, Condo, The Mega-Rackets, The Art of Kenny Who?, Father Earth etc. Those are proper Judge Dredd stories. What about futsies, simps, uglies, etc? As mentioned in the audio review, what about some satire, some absurd type humour or situations?

I'm not saying this film should be crammed full of Judge Dredd world content, that would be impossible and be too expensive and the plot would be a mess, but some - heck, even a small amount - would have made this film stand out and not be compared to The Raid or Die Hard.

There's so much to Judge Dredd's world and this film shows NOTHING of it apart from a high rise block. Doing Dredd Hard was lazy and unimaginative, Alex Garland.

Most film critics praising Dredd 3D have never read 2000AD's Judge Dredd so they have no source of reference. Just because Dredd 3D is better than Judge Dredd 1995 doesn't make it that faithful or original to the source material. It's not aside from the basics - the city (although too slummy and low-tech, the blocks (again, too slummy and low-tech), the lawmaster bike, the lawgiver and Psi ability. But the rest contains zero Dredd world content.

I'm not saying this makes Dredd 3D a bad film, I'm just saying compared to the source material it's desperately lacking specific Dredd world content.

Why would anyone want to make a film where people see it and say "the plot is similar to Die Hard/The Raid?" It's tragic because Judge Dredd's world offers so much more - it's own UNIQUE identity and this film totally fails to achieve that. Just think of all the people - hundred and hundreds - saying "this is similar to The Raid"

How does that make this film unique to Dredd's world? It doesn't. The choice of storyline was a catastrophic mistake because it destroyed Judge Dredd's unique vision of the future. That makes this a major failure and people that don't read Judge Dredd can't see this or understand this.
dreddhead123 - 9/26/2012, 4:42 PM
The box office for Dredd has been so dismal, so crappy, Garland would have been wise to have stuck so much Dredd world content into the film. If it's gonna flop do a proper storyline. It won't make any difference cos it will flop! Heck, at least saddo geeks on Youtube wouldn't type

"Is this a rip-off of The Raid?"

The whole film has been a disaster. Sure, the film was well-made, all credit to the production crew, but The Raid comparisons KILLED THIS film before it came out and releasing it in September KILLED IT. And the Die Hard plot also helped to kill it cos all you're getting is tough cop in corridors which is not exactly Judge Dredd's world.

So basically three elements killed this film:

The endless comparisons with The Raid.

The release date.

And the plot feeling too generic, limiting Judge Dredd to small confined locations.

What a disaster.

But hey, if you like it, fair enough. But it's flopped so we'll never see a sequel. Someone messed up big time and us fans have to live with the outcome.
INSTANTJUSTICE - 9/26/2012, 5:20 PM
Eh, no.
dreddhead123 - 9/26/2012, 5:46 PM
Steve, this is me in 'normal' mode. Wait to you see me in geeky rant mode.

LOL!

I've been posting about 2000AD and Judge Dredd for about ten years and someone said I was the most crazy person he's ever - EVER - encountered on the internet. I think that's quite an achievement. A few other people have said similar things too but it usually has words like "I hate you!" "sad f*cker!" etc added!!!

Karl Urban was last seen crying into his Dredd helmet. "No more Dredd films for me!"

I am renaming this film:

DREDD FLOP 3D

Hee hee!!!!
DravinClaw - 9/26/2012, 6:53 PM
I thought it was a great movie I wish people would stop compairing it to The Raid Dredd was announced in 2008 and stated filming back in 2010. It is to bad more people didn't see this I'm sure it will make the money in dvd sales to warrant a sequels from what Ive heard they are planing it to be a trilogy.
lokibane2012 - 9/26/2012, 6:54 PM
Just saw this film yet again with friends. And over repeated viewings I think I've noticed that this film can be looked at three different ways:

(note- 5/10 is average, none of that 7 is the average bullshit)

1) As just a movie. In which case, as nailbiter reviewed, it's above average. Nothing spectacular but a decent film. 6/10

2) As a Judge Dredd film. In which case, it's a much more accurate portrayal of the characters and settings, in terms of grit, tone etc. However, it's missing certain key elements from the comic book: the fascist satire, the inner workings of Mega City One and the Street Judges etc. The story is just a simple mission, which actually wouldn't even have been a noticeable problem, if this hadn't been the FIRST film of an intended series which is supposed to introduce you to the world --I do realize they couldn't put everything in due to budget constraints. And in all honesty, it did get almost everything else right. 8/10

3) As an action movie. An 'action movie' in general has lower standards as compared to just 'a movie'. This is because an action movie's aim is something else entirely: pretty much entertaining action (maybe some humor too) along with (hopefully) interesting characters. If you judge it as an action movie, and ignore if it is a good/bad adaptation, i.e. if you look at it from the perspective of an action movie fan who isn't familiar with Dredd. Then this is a pretty great film. The action is nice, entertaining and creative. The characters are likeable. Dredd is a badass. There's some nice bits of humor thrown in too. It's just a great joyride. It suffers from a bit of an anti-climax due to a (physically) weak villain. But it gets SO MUCH right, it's unbelievable in today's age of Transformers and Battleship. 9/10

Most people that absolutely love it are those who aren't 100% familiar with Dredd's universe, so they judge it as an action film. Most people that like it pretty good, are people who are Dredd fans: happy with the portrayal but a little disappointed with some Dredd-elements lacking in it. Those who hated it are either people who don't like action movies. Or perhaps are those who are familiar with Dredd, and are sticklers about the missing elements. And the rest think it's above average because they're judging it as just a movie.

---

For the record, the Stallone film's rating is:
2/10
4/10
5/10
gaikinger - 9/26/2012, 6:54 PM
I guess it needs to keep getting said that the Raid started production after Dredd and makes no bones about the source material coming from the writters of Dredd. So the rule of thumb here is compare The Raid to Dredd and not the other way around.
lokibane2012 - 9/26/2012, 7:03 PM
Dredd did not rip off Raid.

It is impossible for it to have ripped off Raid.

Raid - Filming began March 2011
Dredd - Filming began 12 November 2010

So they had finished the script and began shooting Dredd months before Raid.

And no, I am not saying Raid ripped off Dredd either. Both films were written at roughly the same time. Began shooting at roughly the same time (with Dredd a few months ahead). There is no way, one could have known what the exact plot of the other was. It was just an unfortunate coincidence that two great action films were made at the same time, and happened to have a similar plot. Dredd just took longer to release because of more extensive post-production than Raid.

Do some [frick]ing research before you start yapping on here and pointing fingers.

PS. And if you actually watch both films, they both treat the set-up very differently anyways
gaikinger - 9/26/2012, 7:13 PM
By the way I have never read a Dredd book but I did see that godawful Stallone film.
INSTANTJUSTICE - 9/26/2012, 7:16 PM
Neither film ripped off the other.
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