REVIEW: Dredd

First of all, before jumping into conclusions and criticizing Dredd for how it looks, it is important to note that it is a very simple film which serves a simple purpose. Its intention is purely to provide the maximum amount of entertainment by mixing these eccentric and cool characters with hardcore, comical violence and action within a futuristic world. You could assume that Dredd is roughly the same type of action sci-fi film that has been repeated many times but, quite frankly, they are the ones that are usually the most entertaining. Still, what you see with Dredd is what you get. It may not have those marvelous plot and script qualities like many other films do, Dredd is still a tremendous package of fun that is simply there to just entertain you, the audience, with its provided action, violence and badass characters.

John Wagner and Carlos Ezquerra’s creation of Dredd and film adaptations based on said character have not been played very kindly onto the big screen. The 1995 version may have had its action hero (Sylvester Stallone) in the leading role but reception was overwhelmingly negative. Now, 17 years later, we have now got the hit that we have been waiting too long to see. Pete Travis, who only for the second time in his career due to various projects with television, took on the role of the director, and who surprisingly delivers. Dredd contains the dark and dismal outlook on society and the natural world like how we have seen in film adaptations based on Frank Miller’s work. However, in terms of filming and the settings, Dredd has a sense of both fiction and realism, which was demonstrated absolutely marvelously in District 9 and was ironically filmed in South Africa too.

For years, since gaining recognition in The Lord Of The Rings, Urban had been a key element in later action and/or sci-fi films but had still played a crucial supporting role. However, with Dredd, we have been waiting way too long for Karl Urban to come out of his shell, so to speak, and be that action hero. Urban fitted into the badass, mysterious and rather cold-natured hero and, thus, became the Judge Dredd that we have been waiting to see on the big screen – shallow hearted and almost unbeatable. Most of all, Urban achieved a near impossible task – go to a higher depth in character and action than Sylvester Stallone, of all people, and provided us with a much darker and cooler tone.

In the supporting roles were Olivia Thirlby as Anderson, Dredd’s rookie accomplice. Her role was a vital key figure in the film as due to her reputation and that she doesn’t wear one of the Judge masks, she more or less established an even balance between a possibly considerate and thoughtful Dredd and a cold-hearted and shallow Dredd. Finally, Lena Headey totally sold the role of the ruthless and sadistic gang lord Ma Ma. In action films, it is usually a male antagonist but Headey made a stand for ‘girl power’, so to speak and proved that women can be badass and hardcore in the genre too.

Films like Dredd can critically suffer because of its predictable, clichéd dialogue and that it lacks originality due to its many connections with past action hits. Still, there really is no need to think too seriously about it and should just appreciate that the film has a very clear intention to just entertain and excite the viewers. It is also a high recommendation for avid video gamers as Dredd is quite literally watching a story sequence from a video game for 90 minutes, and actually makes the 3D experience worth your money. Dredd never runs out of steam, there is not one boring moment and, unlike many action films, has the potential to continue and, therefore, deserves to be the start of an explosive and gruesome franchise.

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~ by SJMJ91 on 03/10/2012.

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