DREDD Review: Judgement Has Arrived In This Brutal And Majestic Big Screen Adaptation

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.

RATING: 8.7/10

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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SageMode - 9/21/2012, 9:43 AM
Looks like ill be checking this out on the weekend
lokibane2012 - 9/21/2012, 10:13 AM
Everyone at Lionsgate needs to be lynched for not marketing this film better. They pulled the same crap with Hunger Games (and that's their BIG movie!), except this film deserved so much better than this shit.

I'll weep when this film is officially declared a box office bomb, and joins the ranks of such classics as Battleship, Total Recall (2012), and Green Lantern.

INSTANTJUSTICE - 9/21/2012, 10:19 AM
Hunger games grossed $684,510,692.
TerminatorMode - 9/21/2012, 10:25 AM
@lokibane - everything you said made sense up until you called battleship a classic...and then followed that up with green lantern.
Ranger14 - 9/21/2012, 10:31 AM
^^^^ I didn't weep when I read that, I laughed at all three of those being referred to as classics. Though I disagree with the the marketing effort. It really isn't a movie you can sink a lot of marketing into. It's R-rated, violent and caters to a niche market. It also doesn't have any strong name draw to appeal to the masses.
RobLiefeldFan - 9/21/2012, 10:38 AM
I watched the movie I preferred it to the TDKR its a great movie I had fun watching it with all the Hype on the TDKR, Avengers and TASM this movie is a gem for all Judge Dredd Fans and even though it does not get a sequel it will have the status of being one of the best CBM this year
RorMachine - 9/21/2012, 10:54 AM
Yeah, I'm gonna take a wild guess that he was being sarcastic referring to them as classics..might be wrong!!

Anyway, great review dude, glad you liked it. There HAS to be a sequel.

lokibane2012 - 9/21/2012, 10:58 AM
I know it grossed big. I'm talking about the piss poor marketing. They relied heavily on word of mouth from fans.

Yes, I was being sarcastic. I was essentially saying that because of poor marketing, to the average joe, it will just become another "dumb action movie that bombed", instead of getting the recognition it deserves. I didn't think I'd have to explain that one, but there you go.
sarahsatire - 9/21/2012, 11:00 AM
Can't wait for the weekend! Definitely looking forward to this one. :D
DioFoRio - 9/21/2012, 11:25 AM
this flick looks fun. I want Karl Urban to give me Chin.
ronnie42 - 9/21/2012, 11:40 AM
@Loki it got the attention it deserved. It's n01 in the Uk...... Loved the film since it was brilliant. Hope there's a another one.
Maximus101 - 9/21/2012, 11:41 AM
I'm seeing this tomorrow and then end of watch Sunday, awesome weekend ahead!
Nomadic1 - 9/21/2012, 11:46 AM
Big props to Urban. For an actor to have his face covered for 98% of the film is unheard of. Being true to the source material is always a pleasant surprise.
ComfortablyNumb - 9/21/2012, 11:49 AM
Dude up above on the comments said Green Lantern was a film classic. What the hell has he been smoking?
jimoakley666 - 9/21/2012, 12:08 PM
It's one of the best films I've seen this year.
gaikinger - 9/21/2012, 12:08 PM
Watching end credits now. This movie kicked ass in the best ways! Wow! Best CBM yet!
gaikinger - 9/21/2012, 12:17 PM
My review..no spoilers...Atmospheric, pulsating,ultra- violent, spectacle of bass-assness that just gets better and better with each scene. I have never read Judge Dredd but I think I will now. Please please please let their be a sequel!
Ranger14 - 9/21/2012, 12:26 PM
"I was essentially saying that because of poor marketing, to the average joe, it will just become another "dumb action movie that bombed", instead of getting the recognition it deserves."

So...is that being sarcastic as well? By referring to the other three films in that same light, you are saying that those three films should have gotten the recognition they deserved. To each their own, but I didn't feel any of those three films deserved more attention than what they got. I guess that's why I didn't get the sarcasm and perhaps still don't. Sorry about that.
Ceejay - 9/21/2012, 12:37 PM
It's got nothing to do with the marketing, the movie is excessively violent and gore filled. That's not something you can market to the casual moviegoer beyond the very small circles of retards who think being able to enjoy more gore makes them some sort of alpha male!

Here in the UK after only one week, it dropped to 5th place behind every movie it beat to the number one spot in its opening weekend. That just shows the demand for that level of violence overkill is not for the vast majority.

If you marketed this film to the Nazi death camp guards or soldiers from the Khmer Rouge, then you might have a hit!
AlexDeLarge87 - 9/21/2012, 1:26 PM
Im still dying to see this!

Sad for me i heard a rumor its not going to come in theaters here in Finland. I truelly... TRUELLY hope thats just a bad joke!:(
gaikinger - 9/21/2012, 1:41 PM
INSTANTJUSTICE - 9/21/2012, 1:43 PM
Ceejay: "Here in the UK after only one week, it dropped to 5th place behind every movie it beat to the number one spot in its opening weekend."

Yeah but AnnaKarenina is at £3.4m; Dredd £3.3m; Lawless £3.1m.

So are those other quite decent films not for the majority either?
AlexDeLarge87 - 9/21/2012, 1:52 PM
tea@ LOL
gaikinger - 9/21/2012, 1:52 PM
Yes I wrote that during the end credits....I was waiting to see if their was a bonus scene and I can tell you their is not. Sadly their was only about fifteen people in the whole theatre but keep in mind that this was a 10:35 showing at the less popular theatre which I go to to avoid crowds anyway. No one was left in the theatre when I wrote the review ad I know better than to light up my phone in inappropriate places. Again I am just ecstatic at how awesome this movie was and it catered to my taste in film. My trapped on an island film is True Romance so that's the process I come from.
gaikinger - 9/21/2012, 1:54 PM
Teabag-we agree on something....who'd of thought?
gaikinger - 9/21/2012, 2:02 PM
I'm calling it.....for me....movie of the year...and yes....I know what I'm calling it against.
Ranger14 - 9/21/2012, 2:09 PM
Tea@ Okay, I guess I can follow that, though I don't think any perception of lack of marketing has anything to do with it. Personally, the more trailers and clips I saw, the less interested I was. You have to realize, it's a film that really isn't made to cater to the masses. While many comic book fans may think it is great due to the nature of the action and delivery, it doesn't necessarily mean that many others will see it as a crappy film. As always, it's different strokes. I just think it isn't a very appealing film to most and you can market it as much as you want, but if it isn't appealing to the masses, it isn't going to be appealing to the masses. They had to go in with some sort of understanding that was probably going to be the case.
gaikinger - 9/21/2012, 2:20 PM
Remember how they marketed True Romance and King of New York....same thing.....same damn thing....
Ranger14 - 9/21/2012, 2:42 PM
It's all good, Tea. :-) I know a lot of people from here liked it, but I am pretty spot on whether I will like a film or not from the tone of the trailers and clips and if the negatives reviews validate what my skepticisms are, which they are tending to do now, I will wait to rent it. That's typically the only time I pay attention to reviews is to see if they validate things that I am already skeptical or leery about.

gaikinger@ Well, I didn't really care for either of those films and they weren't really films made for the masses either, so I don't think marketing has much to do with their lack of draw either. Both are older films, so who knows. I could be off on that.
gaikinger - 9/21/2012, 2:49 PM
If I am to review this review I would say he is mostly right and think I enjoyed it more than him. I would say Lena's MaMa was amazing with just enough character exposition to not pander to a stupid audience. She is very much like dread in giving a great performance in physicality and the smirks this woman gives.....she is just amazing to look at. I really like how minimal the character exposition is here all around as it allows the viewer to use imagination in fun places.
gaikinger - 9/21/2012, 2:52 PM
Ranger-after that comment I can't even relate to you. Those are two great films especially True Romance...whatever.
FOOM - 9/21/2012, 3:33 PM
Ceejay is talking out of his ass.
Dredd is one of the best CBMs you'll ever see on the big screen. Go see it and be awed.
KeithM - 9/21/2012, 4:11 PM
@Ranger: You're right - it wasn't 'made for the masses' and that's what's so good about it. It's made with adults firmly in mind, for a start - no pandering whatsoever to the PG12 market. It's also made in such an independent style, where spectacle is NOT the sole point, although when it is employed - in the Slo-Mo sequences in particular - it's beautiful (and I chose that word carefully - it truly is), but simply a well told, well acted, well shot and thoroughly satisfying action movie.

I'm glad it's not been made to some formula designed to appeal to the widest demographic and believe we should support such films. Especially when they're this good. Don't you?
gaikinger - 9/21/2012, 4:21 PM
KeithM-Hallelujah brother!
Ranger14 - 9/21/2012, 4:37 PM
"I'm glad it's not been made to some formula designed to appeal to the widest demographic and believe we should support such films. Especially when they're this good. Don't you?"

I don't think a film has to follow any specific formula to be good or to appeal to the masses. What one person sees as good another person might not. It's all subjective. I have heard people here say it is a well-told and shot film and I have heard the opposite from others. It depends on what someone likes and doesn't like. I have watched red band clips of the slow motion and what you call beautiful, I don't care for. I will give it a shot on Netflix and see. To each their own and different strokes as always.
KeithM - 9/21/2012, 4:58 PM
That's cool - nobody can force something good on you if you don't want it. Like you said, each to their own.

The only people here who have said they didn't like it though said they weren't going to like it before they saw a single frame of film - dreddhead and ceejay - and if you've let them influence you over the vast majority who have seen it and liked it, then again, that's your choice and their win. Yay negativity.
LAXtremest - 9/21/2012, 4:59 PM
This movie was pretty badass. Question: Did they show Olivia Thirlby naked?
INSTANTJUSTICE - 9/21/2012, 5:01 PM
The Slo-Mo scenes are not representative of the film, there's not that many and they're a light sorbet between the main-courses.
Ranger14 - 9/21/2012, 5:19 PM
Keith@ lol...forcing something good on me is again...a subjective thing. You think it's good. I get that. It doesn't mean it is good for everyone. I know people who think liver is good and have tried to force it on me. Tried it a couple times and didn't like it. To each their own.

I don't pay much attention to what most fanboys and girls post here, whether good or bad. I trust friends of mine who have seen it and what I have seen and read to date. That's enough for me to know I won't watch it in the theaters, but I am very selective about films I see in the theater anyway. The vast majority of people thought Avatar was great and I didn't care for it much at all. I will watch it on Netflix and see what I think. It has nothing to do with negativity. It has to do with individual opinion and choice. No use me going on about it.
KeithM - 9/21/2012, 5:24 PM
Oh and I do believe that by choosing not to support this film, you ARE implicitly sending the message to Hollywood that formulaic PG demographic fare IS the way to go and more adult, unpatronising action films like this are not.

If it was shit then fair enough, but when a GOOD comicbook film like this comes along we should support it by getting our asses to the cinema to see it, I believe.

:looks at website title:

I mean, that's what we want right? Good comicbook movies? Well there's one right here, and if you don't want to support it, then don't be surprised whn
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