Good news, Judge Dredd fans. Pete Travis savage interpretation of John Wagners futuristic law enforcer adheres to the characters grim graphic-novel roots and proves far superior to the corny misfire attempted by Sylvester Stallone back in 1995.
This, finally, is the Dredd movie comic book readers have been anticipating.
Dreadful news, Dredd fans. If you also caught Gareth Evans like-minded Indonesian thriller The Raid: Redemption this year, then Dredd 3D will strike you as derivative. Through no fault of Travis and his crew, the two movies follow near-identical blueprints (even though each filmed around the same time in separate locations).
Solemn Karl Urban (Bones in J.J. Abrams Star Trek reboot) dons the trademark helmet and motorcycle boots of Dredd, a ruthless judge presiding over the decaying, post-apocalyptic metropolis of Mega-City One. Two events complicate Dredds unremitting mission to clean up his streets. First, hes saddled with a rookie partner (Olivia Thirlby) whos bound to slow him down. Second, the duo is assigned to investigate an incident at Peach Trees, a towering apartment complex run by crazed drug dealer Ma-Ma (Lena Headey).
Ma-Ma manufactures and peddles SLO-MO, an illegal substance that does exactly what youd imagine to an abusers brain. The drugs chemical effect prompts Travis to employ slow-motion visual technology and exhilarating bullet-time effects in his multiple action sequences, which kick into graphic high gear once Dredd starts mowing down the opposition.
And heres where the comparisons to The Raid become unavoidable. After Travis establishes Dredd as a take-no-prisoners law enforcer, the movies goal is to have our hero march from the ground floor of Peach Trees to Ma-Mas penthouse, eliminating waves of well-armed criminals. Unlike The Raid, which dispensed of its antagonists through gracefully choreographed combat dances, Dredd 3D opts for satisfyingly bone-crunching brutality.
Theres plenty for genre fans to appreciate in Dredd. Its faithful to the British comic, which artist Carlos Ezquerra illustrated with an unnerving blend of grit, blood and sleaze. Headey is ridiculously good as the deranged Ma-Ma, playing the material so seriously that Dredd avoids the camp that swallowed Stallones take on the material. Thirlbys a vast improvement over Rob Schneider from Stallones Judge Dredd. And Urban leaves Dredds mask on the entire time, which die-hard fans of the character will tell you is a must.