Dredd is the 2012 violent futuristic movie based on the violent futuristic comic strip running in the British science fiction anthology 2000 AD. The dystopian Judge Dredd feature was created by John Wagner and Carlos Ezquerra using a heavy dose of satire to poke at state-sponsored authoritarianism. The comics fall into the ‘Grim Meathook Future’ vision of mankind’s tomorrows where mankind has peaked and is devolving into something else. Judges are the only instrument of the law, being empowered to instantly convict, sentence and execute offenders.
Dredd is an awesome little B-movie with a large budget and it’s fun for at least three reasons.
90 Minutes. Not counting the credits (which seem to still exist for friends, family and unions), Dredd runs close to an hour and a half. The plot turns around a drug called Slo-Mo which tricks the brain into experiencing the world in slow motion. Much like the Brad Pitt film Killing Them Softly, there are long stretches in slow motion that provide the point of view of the drug users. Even with frequent use of slow motion, Dredd is still shorter than a Transformers movie. The plot is pretty simple and the story gets in and gets out. Judge Dredd is walking rookie Judge Anderson through her final test before she can become a full-fledged judge. They respond to a triple-homicide and end up in the crosshairs of a gang leader who locks down the housing facility that’s the crime scene. It’s Training Day meets Mad Max at the world’s worst master-planned housing project.
Faithful Adaptation. The movie is a pretty faithful adaptation of the comics. Dredd’s ammo clip is like Batman’s utility belt, but for high explosives. Judge Dredd is grim and uncompromising, he’s Dirty Harry turned up to eleven then handed a super-gun. The setting, Mega-City One, is a series of grim housing units built in the ruins of a city that stretches from Washington DC to Boston. There is blood, lots of it in the gun fights. And most importantly, Dredd never takes his helmet off.
Karl Urban’s Sneer. Judge Dredd is a grim character so he sneers all of the way through the film. Karl Urban sneers so much by the end of the movie, my face hurt a little. He’s afflicted with Jack Bauer voice so he growls everything out, but so does everyone else. Urban’s best work comes from science fiction whether in the Star Trek movies or the cancelled-too-soon Almost Human or here.
There is a fan campaign for a Dredd sequel. I hope they succeed.
Dredd is now playing on Netflix which is another Roku channel.