Dredd 3D – Review from a Dredd newcomer
September 17, 2012 2 Comments
Review by FilmFellaLozz – 7.8/10
Honestly wasn’t looking forward to this re-imagining or reinterpretation or whatever you wanna call it. Off the back of the trailer, it simply looked like style over substance, with a bunch of unknowners filling the No D characters’ shoes. Strange it is then that although there really wasn’t much in terms of narrative development, a simple plot and some good ol’ ultra violence would prevail and form the basis of what turned out to be damn good fun.
Megacity 1 is the place; a city of millions, mostly scum scavenging for what they can get hold of alongside the few honest people scared to leave their doorsteps. Amongst the debris of a former functioning city, there are few who uphold the law the best it can be upheld. They are the ‘judges’; peacekeepers, justice distributors and violent sons o’ bitches. They are charged with stopping crime and dishing out punishment the best way they see fit, within the confines of a basic set of rules that govern there intent. We are given a brief glimpse of a day in the life of Dredd, a judge who don’t suffer no fools. He’s tasked with playing mentor to little miss rookie, whereby they get embroiled in a full-on war with the inhabitants of a nasty apartment block. Bad time to become a judge, rookie.
Ok, so I’m gonna get it out of the way; yes, Dredd 3D is very very similar to The Raid. I imagine annoyingly so for the makers of these two movies. Although, there’s no denying the similarity, they are still very different films; both with their own individual strengths. It would be pointless to compare them, as they deserve more than that.
Karl Urban dons the helmet mask this time around. (The least said about the 1995 Stallone version the better). He wears it pretty damn well too. And he would have to as he never takes it off. 90 odd minutes and you never see the face of your hero. That’s brave; but it gives a mystery to his character that makes him somewhat more interesting. He’s no V (as in for Vendetta), but his chin is a surprising talent. Even though Urban has appeared in some big movies, The Lord of the Rings Trilogy and Star Trek (2009) for example, he’s not yet a household name. I imagine this why he was a perfect casting choice. Big bloke: check. Gravelly voice: check. They just needed somebody who didn’t care if people saw their face. Good one, Karl. Then we have the rookie played by Olivia Thirlby, who looks adequately frightened most of the time, but unfortunately never makes you believe that she could be as badass as Dredd.
Lena Heady is Ma-Ma, the big bad she-bitch at the top of her castle. When people piss her off on her turf, she’s quite partial to a bit of skinning and drugging. But in the worst way possible; if just a simple skin removal wasn’t bad enough. She heads up a drugs empire and the new treat on the street is ‘slo-mo’; evidently making one see stuff at 1% of the normal speed. So, when you’re thrown off a building, it is a long god damn way down. Harsh. She’s just as much of a bitch as her character, Cercei in Game of Thrones. Scarred in this but scary is what she does so well by the looks of it. She is definitely a dominating presence. A smart cookie up against Dredd’s brawn; she is a worthy opponent.
I half expected the movie to be a 12A cop-out; but an 18 certificate allowed an extremely violent portrayal of a comic book hero. Much the same as Watchmen. Yes, the violence is gratuitous nonsense, but it’s what the lack of storytelling falls back on. And it works. Bloody, bone crunching and bullet penetration. That’s what Dredd 3D offers. And it was enough for me, to just sit back and enjoy the blood spew not only in 3D, but also in slow motion. (A genius concept; to work the story into the aesthetic of the movie. Really, hats off.) I was worried that the slo-mo and the 3Dness would be exploited though. But it really wasn’t. The 3D, however, is completely unwarranted and from memory, there are but three scenes incorporating it. So, it wasn’t just a cash-in to make more money at the box office; it also didn’t even utilise it very well either.
With this in mind, it is only a very minor dent in what is a (from start to finish) completely enjoyable actioner aimed at an adult audience. They are few and far between these days, especially ones that get released theatrically. So, if you were put off by thinking this looked shit; then sure, it is shit, but it’s that shiny shit that pulls itself from the doldrums of straight-to-dvd right into the cineplexes. This is thanks to director Pete Travis, who didn’t sell out (in terms of certificate), and made a kick-ass movie.