Posted by Mark Bridge On September - 22 - 2012 0 Comment

If any Judge Dredd film was going to wipe away the stink that was the Sylvester Stallone bomb fest, it would be this film.  The film’s execution is far superior than its predecessor.  Mega City One actually feels like a character, and I must say for a lower budget than most blockbuster sci fi movies these day, Dredd’s visual aesthetics could go toe to toe with the best of them.  The action is brutal and sometimes literally in your face with its effective use of 3D.  Speaking of which, the 3D in this film is one of the better examples on how to use the tool for the benefit of the narrative.  Its effectiveness is more apparent during the drug induced slo-mo sequences where everything is moving 1% its normal speed.

Dredd 3D stars Karl Urban as the title character assessing Judge Cassandra Anderson (Olivia Thirlby), a rookie cop on her first mission.  Anderson has been recruited as a judge because of her psychic abilities.  She has the misfortune of having her first assignment be to the Peach Tree.  Peach Tree is a tall apartment complex that just so happens to house a large organized crime syndicate lead by Ma-Ma, brilliantly played by Lena Heady.  The two judges get trapped in the complex while attempting to bring in a drug dealer (Wood Harris), who sells the aforementioned slo-mo drug for Ma-Ma.  What ensues is an example of a well crafted, smart thinking action thriller.

This film reminded me of the hard hitting, gritty films of the 80’s.  The film that mostly springs to mind is Robocop.  These films are tonally in sync.  Mega City One almost feels like Robocop’s Detroit City in that they both feature heavily on the filth of the city while showing a glimpse of new technology floating around here and there.  The performances of the leads deserves high praise.  Despite the awesome set pieces, bad acting could have soiled an almost perfect film.  Heady’s depiction of Ma-Ma is truly the standout performance.  She plays the character with a mixture of insanity, forcefulness, with a little bit of sadness throne into the mix.  This makes Ma-Ma a well rounded bad guy that you love to watch every time she’s on screen.  Credit should also be given to Urban, who had to play Dredd with a mask on through out the entirety of the film.  His use of his chin displays the intensity that we associate with Dredd.

There are a few sore spots however.  Some might say it was not needed, but Dredd himself lacked any kind of character development.  There was a scene near the opening that suggested that there was more to him that we are shown, but there was no follow through on that development.  Although the I mention the effectiveness of the 3D, there was a few spots that weren’t up to snuff.  Such as the scenes that featured a lot of grain on the screen.  The 3D effect of the grain proved quite distracting.

But apart from those snafus, Dredd remains a rousing achievement in sci-fi entertainment.  One that I hope that many will experience so we can see more brutal kick assness from this version of Dredd.

Rating: ★★★★☆ Great

 

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