Dredd 3D (2012) - Directed by: Pete Travis
In a day and age where comic book movies such as “The Avengers” and “The Dark Knight Rises” rule the box office and almost every character of the medium is being produced for the silver screen, tonight's film is a breath of fresh air in an otherwise kid friendly genre. The film is Dredd 3D. This new adaptation finally gives fans of the no nonsense future cop what they've always wanted: An adult action movie that takes itself and the source material seriously. If you happen to be unfamiliar with Dredd's comic history do not distress. The character has been a mainstay in British comic shops since his introduction in the pages of sci-fi anthology series "2000 AD" in 1977, but has never really caught on in the United States. I this find rather amusing because Dredd is himself American. The series is set in a post-apocalyptic America where after many years of nuclear war, most of our citizens have taken to living in giant apartment blocks in "Mega Cities" spread about the planet. Dredd lives in Mega City One, where he is employed as a "Judge". His duties are to uphold the law, and if necessary, kill the breakers of it. In 1995, a film adaptation of the series was made. Simply titled Judge Dredd, it starred Sylvester Stallone and *gag* Rob Schneider. The film was a failure with critics and fans of the series alike. With that said, Dredd-heads have been waiting for their man to make his film reappearance and redeem himself; 17 years later he's finally got his chance.
The story follows that of the comic series rather closely. Dredd, played this time by “Lord of The Rings”’s own Karl Urban, is still a Judge in Mega City One and still good at what he does. In the opening scene we see him chase down a van with three men inside who are under the influence of a new drug that has just hit the streets, a narcotic referred to as "Slo-Mo", aptly named after its effects which make the user feel as if time has slowed down. The criminals open fire on him and he returns it, crashing the van and killing two occupants. The third flees into a shopping mall, shooting randomly at innocent bystanders and finally when cornered, takes a hostage. Dredd tries to negotiate, but ends up having to shoot the perp to save his hostage. After returning to headquarters he is tasked with breaking in a new recruit named Anderson who has failed the tests to become a Judge. After growing up so close to the city wall she has gained psychic powers from the radiation exposure that plagues the area. Her powers offer her insight that no other recruit possesses so much so that the higher ups want to give her one last chance out in the field to see if she “has what it takes”. They respond to a triple homicide at the "Peach Tree", one of the metropolis' towering 200 story apartment complexes. This particular building, though, is under the control of the notorious "Ma Ma" crime syndicate lead by Ma Ma herself, the creator of the aforementioned Slo-Mo . After discovering that the Judges have arrested one of her top men, she locks down the giant complex and orders them to be killed. Dredd and Anderson must now fight for their lives and the rookie’s trial by fire is a bit hotter than anyone could have foreseen.
The makers have lovingly stuck to the comic's tone and atmosphere, one where society really feels like it's on the brink of collapse with only the Judge’s to hold it aloft. The inclusion of the psychic powers storyline felt odd at first but was handled well and actually yields some of the films coolest moments. With fantastic effects, great action, 3D that actually works, and terrific performances by all involved; not only do Dredd-heads have a film adaptation that they can finally be proud of, but anyone looking for a dark and gritty action rampage will have a blast.
Fun Facts from IMDB for Dredd 3D:
The Chief Judge is not referred to by name in the film. In appearance she is a combination of Chief Judges MacGruder and Silver, and the setting (the boundary wall and the Fergee memorials are both referred to) would place the time of the film in Mega City history as Macgruder's first period in office.
Unlike the previous Judge Dredd movie, Karl Urban has confirmed that the helmet will never come off to keep true to the comic book character.
Karl Urban's voice for Dredd is comparable to that of Clint Eastwood. Judge Dredd is in fact partly based on Eastwood's character in the TV series Rawhide, and to reference this the Block in which Dredd lives is called Rowdy Yates.