Time: 95 Minutes
Age Rating: Graphic violence and offensive language
Karl Urban as Judge Dredd
Olivia Thirlby as Judge Cassandra Anderson
Lena Headey as Ma-Ma (Madeline Madrigal)
Wood Harris as Kay
Director: Pete Travis
Mega City One is a vast, violent metropolis where felons rule the streets. The only law lies with cops called “judges,” who act as judge, jury and executioner, and Dredd (Karl Urban) is one of the city’s most feared. One day, Dredd is partnered with Cassandra (Olivia Thirlby), a rookie with powerful psychic abilities. A report of a terrible crime sends Dredd and Cassandra to a dangerous area controlled by Ma-Ma (Lena Headey), a drug lord who will stop at nothing to protect her empire.
Dredd had a lot of potential to fail. There had been a Judge Dredd movie with Sylvester Stallone in the mid 90s, which while enjoyable as a guilty pleasure, isn’t very good. Dredd was a surprise to many including myself, it had all the elements of a very solid action flick fun time, and from what I can tell its an accurate representation of Judge Dredd. One of the most underrated action movies in recent years.
This movie is very straightforward, it’s just our main characters going from room to room while hoards of enemies hunt for them. Now I’m not a Judge Dredd comics fan but I could tell that the original Judge Dredd was more of a Sylvester Stallone action flick than an actual Judge Dredd movie. Dredd is truly a Judge Dredd film. The world is really nicely realised, it is a grim and dark world, the R rating really helped the movie go deeper into it. I was entertained throughout, from the set up at the beginning to when the film actually kicks off, which is when our protagonists are actually facing endless amounts of people trying to kill them and it doesn’t let up. There isn’t anything wrong about the film that I could pinpoint, it has great protagonists, a threatening antagonist and an interesting world, everything that Dredd needed.
Karl Urban is Judge Dredd, that’s all I can really say. He is ruthless, badass and unrelenting, and no, at no point do you see him without his mask. This movie really isn’t a character study or anything like that, so don’t expect a lot of character depth with his version of Judge Dredd, but it worked very well for the movie as it was a straightforward action movie. Olivia Thirlby is also really good as a rookie judge with Dredd, who does have psychic powers, those two worked together well as our main characters. Lena Headey makes for a great villain, ruthless, sinister and brutal, she stole every scene she was in. Also the way she plays the role and reacted to certain situations made her have such a strong screen presence.
Dredd surprisingly only has a 30-45 million dollar budget, making it a much smaller film than you’d expect. However that budget was used well because this film is directly greatly. The action is great, it is very violent and pretty much how I would imagine a Judge Dredd film would be. This film also involves slow-mo, and they find a way to make slow-mo actually make sense, as there is a drug literally called slow-mo that slows down the brain of whoever takes it and it was portrayed so well on screen. The R-rating is not always necessary but sometimes it is really needed to fully make the movie they want. This is one of those cases. The film is brutal and dark, definitely far from the Stallone cheesefest from the 90s, and I loved it.
I thoroughly enjoyed Dredd, the actors were great in their roles, the action is good. This film isn’t revolutionary, I don’t think I’d consider it one of the best action films of the 2010s, but for what it was trying to be it succeeded very well. I have no idea if they are making a Dredd sequel but I’d love to see one, I wanna see more of the world that they portrayed.