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Dredd Review

Kieran's Rating: 7/10 Player Affinity Composite Rating: 7.3/10 (2 reviews total) The new cinematic version of the famous comic book anti-hero Judge Dredd will guarantee the eradication of the memory of the ill-fated Sylvester Stallone version. Director Pete Travis and writer Alex Garland have brought a grim, gritty and violent version of the comic to the screen that will please fans of the 2000 AD creation. The future is hell. The world’s population has decreased to 800 million and it is mostly a wasteland. Mega City One spans from Boston to Washington D.C. and it is a chaotic, lawless place where crime, poverty, rioting and unemployment are persistent. Only the Palace of Justice and the Judges bring any form of law and order and the best of them is Judge Dredd (Karl Urban). Dredd is assigned to assess a rookie Judge, Anderson (Olivia Thirlby), who has failed the exams but has psychic abilities.The two have a hell of a first day when both Judges are trapped in the Peach Trees tower block by an intelligent and sadistic crime lord, Ma-Ma (Lena Headey), who controls the distribution of a new drug called Slo-Mo and wants them dead. Travis injects a mixture of styles into Dredd, the brutal violence and action of classic '80s movies, the grim grittiness of both modern sci fi and comic book movies, and hyper-stylized slow-motion that has been constant in action cinema for the past five years. The world created for the movie is bleak, a horrific concrete jungle of tower blocks and highways and most of the vehicles are old, beaten-down cars and vans. Cinematographer Anthony Dod Mantle shows a deliberately murky city in a giant, decaying, smog-filled world, and a distinctive score provides a unique tone. The violence itself very gory with an anime quality to it in the way brains and blood get splattered all over the place. Even the 3D works well during the detailed slo-mo scenes. Although Dredd is in set in a gritty world, it is a movie that is accepting of its comic book elements of psychic powers, mutants and technology; there is no holds barred on the violence and sexual content either. The use of Ma-Ma as the villain and the casting of Headey shows the filmmakers' dedication to a villain who is intelligent and deliciously sadistic, someone who enjoys pain and ultra-violence. But her aims and methods are more moderate because she is a crime lord, not some grand sci-fi schemer. Dredd succeeds in setting a dark futuristic gritty tone and look, though the story the movie offers is bare bones. The simple plot involes Dredd and Anderson trapped in a tower block trying to take down a crime lord. It's actually easy to compare this one to The Raid: Redemption from early this year, in which the heroes go in to building to take down crime boss but end up having to fight for their survival. The story plays it safe and allows the filmmakers to focus on getting the tone right to please the fans. For a movie with a budget of $45 Million the CGI and special effects were of a high standard, but it was also limited because of majority of the movie takes place in a limited location of a grey, dark, concert tower with lots action set in corridors. There is a fun car chase in the beginning, showcasing the movie’s new found violence, but most of the action is internal shootouts. The action is still solid and enjoying and if a sequel is made it will be more expansive. Dredd and Anderson represent two different views on justice in this world. Dredd is hard-boiled and experienced, willing to use violence and torture to fulfill his duty to protect innocent people. Anderson is more compassionate, someone who suffers guilt and has to learn quickly to use force. Both have to learn from else other to issue justice logically in this world. It is great for Urban to finally get a leading action role. He is much better than the Stallone version, and he gives the character the hard-boiled edge he needed. At times, his voice is simply his own with an American accent, while at others he speaks in a gravelly Batman voice. Urban may not have the biggest physical stature, but he felt fitting to the role overall. And while Dredd lacks the satirical edge the comics are known for, Urban makes sure that his character has a dry wit and the script offers some one-liners and occasional moments of dark humor. For die-hard fans, he never takes the helmet off and the most you will see is the back of his head. Dredd will please fans of the comics longing for the more violent incarnation of their favorite character. It earned a rare 18 rating in the UK, which should tell you something about what you are in for. Dredd shows there is still a place in the modern cinematic landscape for R-rated sci-fi movies. Rating: 7/10 Simon thought: "Gruesome and morose but also a hell of a good time, Dredd successfully completes the tricky task of organically plucking deadpan humor out of an utterly serious film. It is a perfect example of the subtle difference between serious and self-serious. Despite having no opportunity to use his face to emote or even deviating from his gruff growl, Karl Urban is nevertheless excellent and plays immensely well off of Olivia Thirlby, who despite her slim stature and generally unimposing look, is given ample opportunity to kick ass and lay down judgement. This is a bleak film to be sure and at times a bit too convenient in terms of how these judges survive the seemingly insurmountable ordeal, but it's well shot action and that provides plenty of splatter-style gore. Dredd is looking to be one of the more criminally overlooked films of 2012." Rating: 7.5/10


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