January 15, 2013

Dredd (the not 3D)

I saw this movie a couple of days ago and somehow I felt the urge to tell someone about it. And what better place to share my thoughts about it that here, on Tzeeeac, so that I can get on to being bashed about recommending modern takes on otherwise cult-classics, mhm? Let's get on with it, then.

I'm not a movie theater kind of guy so, as the title implies, I've watched this cinematographic offering from the comfort of my own home. I hate the cinema because the screen always seems to big for me, they charge over-the-top-from-what-I-would-pay for popcorn/soda and most importantly, there is no pause button for when nature happens to call upon us mortals. Even more, I find that "sitting on my ass, drinking beer and dabbling in copious amounts of junk food" is always a more rewarding way of spending an evening, rather than planning a night out to see something that I might not even enjoy.

Now that we've covered that, on with the movie itself.

It's been so many years since I watched the original Judge Dredd that I can't even fault myself with any high/low expectations I've had for this iteration. For once, I wasn't bothered with the lack of a complex backstory to support the actions of the protagonist. All we know is that we're in a post-apocalypse futuristic megalopolis where the shit has hit the proverbial fan more times than it was ever intended and now it's the judges who do all the on-location clean-ups. And Dredd is the most bad-ass of them all, evidently.

Honestly, I very much liked the rendition of the character as shown by Karl Urban. He comes about as a person who guides himself strictly by following the letter of the law (to which he embodies fully), but has enough charisma and is a good judge of character (pun intended) to make the viewer actually care about what happens to him. Sure, it's an action movie and all, Dredd and his rookie protégée, Anderson (excellent played by Olivia Thirlby) going all-out guns-blazing and neck-snapping, but it's actually fun to watch and rarely did I stop to wonder if I could improve something in the experience. 

One could argue that the kidnapping of Anderson if a bit of a deus-ex machina since she seems to be well-versed in her psychic abilities to make sense of the dangers around her, but I forgot all about it once I chose to believe that her lack of field training might very well put a stump on what she could or could not do. The overall pacing feel just right, with quiet moments thrown in-between all of the commotion happening in the Peach Trees complex.

Lena Headey also makes for a terrific vilain: smart, with clear goals in mind (as we are reminded several times during the movie), a broken woman that chose to shut down all that's left of her humanity and give way to simple, unadulterated greed. No complex plans to rule the world, just a greatly expressed desire to survive in a shit world and to make as much money as possible. Which, to an extent, is what we all secretly want, but only few of us actually admit. She is perfectly counter-balanced by the wits of Dredd and the innocence of Anderson, all three being equally smart individuals, the only difference coming from the opportunities they choose to answer to.

In regards with the 3D scenes, the inclusion of the Slo-Mo drug as a point of interest in the story is a smart choice, dare I say, not having to rely solely on the excuse of "Oh, it's for 3D only" to make certain scenes appropriate to the occasion. All in all, they fit in quite nicely and I didn't feel bothered about any of them (Ok, maybe it could have been done with a little less blood and gore; maybe we'll have that in another remake 20 years from now).

To summarize, I have to say I enjoyed this film. For me, it did everything that the latest Batman installation failed to accomplish, slapping a modern take on a cinema classic without any unnecessary advertising. I suggest you go on about an make time to watch this flick if you haven't seen it already. If you did, hats down to you and excuse the late post from my side.

Overall: 8/10 (I'd watch it again if miss Olivia was to show more skin)


  1. "And what better place to share my thoughts about it that here, on Tzeeeac, so that I can get on to being bashed about recommending modern takes on otherwise cult-classics, mhm?"

    Considering the Stallone film was one of the worst comic adaptations I've ever seen and Dredd feels like the first genuinely faithful adaptation of a cool character (well, if you exclude RoboCop, at least), you'll have no complaints from me.

    Very good review btw, agreed on a lot of points. Especially on just how brilliant Lena Headey is as Ma-Ma. She is genuinely scary at times.

  2. Yeah, her announcement of the building close-down was one of those rare moments in movies where you can feel shivers up your spine. I was literally there, trapped, and her voice felt like a death sentence.

    From a masochistic point of view, 'twas pretty nice.