Even back during the glory days of my comic book collecting, I was never much of a fan of “Judge Dredd”. I remember trying the comic out once to see what all the fuss was about but its hard edge never appealed to me. I was more used to superhero comics that were full of fun such as “Spiderman” and “The X-Men”, where as Judge Dredd was set in a much darker and violent world then those other stories. Even though I knew little about the character, I still went to see the cinematic abortion that was the Sylvester Stallone version of “Judge Dredd” and as you may be able to tell I did not think very highly of it. Therefore when word came out that they were doing a new Judge Dredd film, it barely piqued my interest. I assumed it would be as bad as the previous film and thought it was destined for failure. I did not follow any of its progress while it was being made, and when the trailers were released, I didn’t even bother to look at them. I literally had no interest in the film at all and it wasn’t until I started hearing about how the plot of the new “Dredd” film mirrored that of “The Raid” that I started to take notice. I then began glancing through a number of positive reviews and learnt that basically the whole crew from the early Danny Boyle movies had made the film and I suddenly wanted to watch “Dredd”.
Turns out that this new version of Judge Dredd got it exactly right on every level. While it is true that the film does have almost the exact same plot as “The Raid” with two judges being ambushed in a massive apartment block run and controlled by a drug lord who wants them dead, but both films handle the material differently and both films kick serious ass. The best thing about this version of “Dredd” is that they have got the character of Judge Dredd (not to mention his surroundings of Mega-City One) spot-on this time around. Karl Urban, who plays the title character, obviously has very little ego because for the entirety of the film all we ever see of him is his mouth because Judge Dredd never takes off his helmet. He plays the judge as rough and gruff as is needed to stay true to his comic book roots and with an attitude that you wouldn’t want to mess with him. Like the comic book it is based on, the film is also very bloody and violent, but I would never call it gratuitous. When characters get shot and injured it is painful and very ugly, the filmmakers do not use the violence to appear cool. What is cool about the film is the visual representation of the “slow-mo” drug that is taking over the streets of Mega-City One. In fact the whole film looks great thanks to cinematographer Anthony Dod Mantle’s expert lensing. Turns out that “Dredd 3D” was a fantastically entertaining film that never outstays its welcome and was my biggest surprise of 2012, and I would recommend it to everyone. Sadly though, it’s massive failure at the box office may mean that this is the last time we see Judge Dredd grace our screens which is a shame because apparently writer Alex Garland has more stories thought up for our Judge in hopes of a sequel and if they could get director Pete Travis back on board again, I’m sure we would get another dose of awesomeness that is “Dredd” (they just have to learn how to market the film better).