Judge Dredd is a pretty good Judge. He is not only physically perfect he is also viciously brilliant. His psychological mind games are the greatest tool in his arsenal. The judges are no fucking joke and this movie made me repel from the violence the dispense as a manner of course but found the film remarkable 'just', if that makes any sense. I got a real thrill from this actioner. It's not derivative and slick with visual imagery that is only enhanced by 3D.
Ma-Ma is a scary ass villain. Lena Headey has only become more fierce a presence since bursting on the scene in '300' and her current role in Game of Thrones. She puts a lot of smart blocks in Dredd's path and each one forces him to think his way out if he can't shoot his way out first. It's so much fun trying to imagine what I would do before seeing what the creators have Karl Urban do.
Speaking of Urban, he is AMAZING in this. I never tire of seeing him perform be it as Dr. McCoy in the Star Trek reboot to Eomir in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. He always deliver a memorable performance. Here he is steel. The spirit of the British comic lives within him. He is everything the grim hero was in the comic - who himself perfectly reflects the political thought on law and order in the times he was first created - and more.
Urban's lean stillness and great line delivery feels genuine and never cartoonish. Stallone never figured that part out. Dredd is all about CONTROL. It's not about screaming to everyone at the top of your lungs that YOU ARE THE LAW.
(Though I must admit that I have a love for that goofy 1995 version.)
Dredd is Rambo, dispensing his brade of no-nonsense 80s justice. Good and Evil had few grey shadings in the 80s. The foreign policy of many countries approached world problems with a certainty of correctness.
The story clips along like chapters in a graphic novel. Setting everything in one building was genius. Like going through levels in a video game and I played along the whole damn time. I know I would have gotten a lot of enjoyment out of playing a video game version of Dredd. This must be what gamers feel like when they totally immerse themselves in a computer generated first person shooter.
The slow mo effect of high speed slow action photography is frightfully effective. Watching bodies explode is like looking a bullet photography. This is often a gruesome film. Maybe leave the toddlers in the car if you go see it.
It's interesting to watch Dredd turn rookie cop Anderson into a Judge worthy of her place in the Hall of Justice. He gives her just enough questions to ask herself so that the answers she finds help her grow from a rookie to full fledged Judge...maybe.
The contrast to Urban’s simmering steel is the warmth of the Anderson character played by Olivia Thirlby (Juno). The film shrewdly gives her psychic abilities that prevents her from wearing a helmet and allows her to literally snatch some of the subtext from the scenes with her powers. She is effective in giving the audience our route into this violent world, and is neatly positioned between Dredd and the films central villain, with conflicted feelings about Dredd’s black-and-white perspective on the world.