Remakes, reboots and re-imaginings are certainly the hot to trot thing in recent times. I think I can count on one hand the amount of successful, entirely original films that have come out in the past few years. However, that’s not to say that reboots, or remakes can never be good. Just look towards the recent Dredd 3D as a prime example of a great reboot. On the whole though, most remakes are generally looked at with disdain. Horror fans are especially critical of remakes, as they generally all tend to be very passionate about the objects of their affection. Here lies the conundrum of The Evil Dead remake, which was rounding up it’s cast when we previously reported on it.
So when the time came for us to review the new Dredd 3D I was like sure, why not? I’ve heard things about the movie, the character and the actors. I’ve seen posters and trailers that showed some footage and a couple of pictures. All good stuff. So I made plans to go out and see it opening night with some friends. Yes, by friends I meant snacks. Anyways, imagine my surprise when I was in the video store, (yes, there are a few still alive) and I saw that they had somehow gotten an exclusive release of Dredd, on VHS no less! So I picked up some friends… sorry, snacks… and headed home to watch it. I gotta say, I don’t know what all the hype was about.
Dredd 3D is fantastic and beautifully brutal from the visuals to the sound. This film clearly learned from past failures and started with a very simple plot that is hard to screw up, this being done with people who clearly knew the source material and from that knew that this was the best way to start a film about Judge Dredd. The only problems with this film is that it would need a more complex story out of the comics and an increased budget but apart from that I can’t find faults. So I would love to see a sequel which could easily fix the problems I found with this film and would love to see a Batman begins to the Dark Knight Style turn around. In other words it’s a great start.
The future America is an irradiated waste land. On its East Coast, running from Boston to Washington DC, lies Mega City One- a vast, violent metropolis where criminals rule the chaotic streets. The only force of order lies with the urban cops called “Judges” who possess the combined powers of judge, jury and instant executioner. Known and feared throughout the city, Dredd (Karl Urban) is the ultimate Judge, challenged with ridding the city of its latest scourge – a dangerous drug epidemic that has users of “Slo-Mo” experiencing reality at a fraction of its normal speed.
Just as always I will not be giving away any spoilers so you don’t have to worry about reading this review before seeing the film. To start off let’s talk about the acting. The acting was very good for the most part but in saying that there weren’t many situations that required it although the actors played the parts they were playing as the characters so I don’t have any faults in that area, but there would have to be more of the film to really tell. The main character Judge Dredd (Karl Urban) was really top-notch for portraying a comic book character in a real world environment, credit to him a great performance (the chin was particularly impressive).
I would like to see more characters to interact with in a sequel because that’s what is needed to get a better feel of Dredd. Cassandra Anderson (Olivia Thirlby) was actually much better than I thought she would be and although not quite the same as the comic character she still gives the character justice (she kicks ass basically). Ma-Ma was an interesting character who I would have like to have seen more of but there is a prequel comic to the film which explains her back story which is free here if you would like to read that before seeing the film. Good strong female leads in this though which I like to see and the best is that it didn’t feel forced.
So let’s talk about something more fun like the visuals. The special effects, physical props and visual landscape shots where both excellent viewing and brilliantly immersive to the world that Judge Dredd lives in, very repressive and cramped with too many people in one place. The best thing I thought about this film’s visuals was that even though the budget was relatively low they didn’t use too much CGI but instead went for real props and building which means it didn’t feel cheap and felt more like a big budget film because of the detail put into everything from the judges uniforms to the blending of real world building and futuristic mega blocks.
I wouldn’t necessarily recommend the 3D but I am a bit biased because I tend to get used to the 3D effect within the first 10 minutes of films and find that it might as well be in 2D because of the length of a full movie, but if you like 3D there were some good 3D shots. I loved the Lawmaster chase scene and would really like to see more of the city itself in a sequel but I understand with the budget that’s the most they could do (I want a Lawmaster and the Lawgiver, screw it I just want to be a Judge). Oh and I should warn people that it’s really violent but insanely fun with brilliant music, the soundtrack with this film really worked well and it was massively adrenaline pumped from start to finish with no time for boring.
My favourite scene without giving anything away would be anything with Dredd kicking ass or maybe Mini gun bit, this doesn’t make sense really until you see the film but I won’t be ruining it for you so if you have seen the film then comment below and we can discuss. The Slow Mo scenes are good and the Deadpan acting of Urban is perfect.
Finally I would like to say that a sequel would be great to see and I would be sad if one didn’t get made. The possibilities are endless in the Dredd universe and could easily expand. I really liked the relationship between Judge Dredd and Cassandra Anderson because I got the feeling like it was kind of a buddy cop style connection with a rookie but because of her Psychic ability she is probably the only person who Dredd could have that partnership with, no romantic connection at all and there shouldn’t be, I actually think that would be the easiest way to ruin this film (or bring back rob Schneider). So go watch it because the film is a great viewing.