Movie Title: Dredd
First Watch / Repeat Viewing
Running Time: 1 hr. 35 min.
Who did I watch with?: Stephie
Where did I watch it?: Home
Dredd is perfect. Some of you might remember the Sylvester Stallone incarnation of Judge Dredd that came out in 1995. It was a movie I wanted to love. The marketing had the right look. It had a cool cast with Jurgen Prochnow and Max von Sydow in the ranks. Unfortunately, it did not live up to expectations. Stallone refused to wear the mask throughout and showed way too much of his mug, Rob Schneider attempted to turn it into a buddy comedy which was painful, and the story devolved into pure trash after the first forty or so minutes. Judge Dredd was so terribly disappointing because the shadow of a great movie can be seen in the final product, but unfortunately it is consumed by all the things that ruined it. The character of Judge Dredd being fairly marginal in the United States, I also assumed I would never get to see someone take a second crack at it. Mercifully, I was wrong.
Judge Dredd (Karl Urban) is tasked with training a new recruit named Anderson. Anderson (Olivia Thirlby) failed her aptitude testing, but is a powerful psychic in a world prejudiced against mutants. She gets to call the shots on her training mission and Dredd acts as her overseer and evaluator. Anderson decides to check out a triple homicide at a housing project called Peach Trees. It is one of the roughest neighborhoods in Mega City One which stretches from Boston to Washington D.C. In this world judges are more than their name implies. Only about 6% of significant crimes get a response and when judges arrive they are judge, jury, and if need be executioner. Upon arriving they snag some low level drug offenders, but one of them has crucial information for a gang that has taken over the block with a new drug called Slo-Mo. Slo-Mo makes the world feel like it is moving at 1% of normal speed. The Ma-Ma Clan is run by the synonymous Ma-Ma played beautifully by Lena Headey. She is ruthless and puts the block under lockdown. With the judges trapped inside Peach Trees, she sets the entire criminal community of the block with the task of putting them down. The story is great. It is tight and it has style.
Most importantly Urban is Dredd. He plays the character the way it is meant to be played. You never see his face. His lines of dialogue would make Calvin Coolidge proud and he is dispassionate about dispensing justice. Olivia Thirlby is also on point as Anderson. The world also feels right. It is grim, but there is life happening around the violent world that surrounds it. The movie has comedic moments, but they are dark. This is the way it should be. There are rumors online that Urban would love to reprise his role as Dredd, perhaps even for a Netflix TV series. I can only hope this is true, especially in the wake of Netflix cancelling some of its grittier and more popular TV series associated with Marvel. Do the right thing Netflix and make Dredd great again!
Dredd is a perfect representation of the character and the world he inhabits. It is violent, stylish, and darkly humorous. See it.
Tomorrow’s Movie: This Is The End (2013)