Dredd (2012)

7.5 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 8/10

Good characters, some interesting visuals

The style of the characters lead to a dull film

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Dredd

Studio:  DNA Films

Genre(s):  Action/Adventure/Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Comic Book

Release Date(s):  July 11, 2012 (San Diego Comicon)/September 21, 2012 (US)

MPAA Rating:  R


First day on the job sucks!

Judge Dredd (Karl Urban) is one of the toughest Judges in Mega-City One.  The city is barely holding on by a threat with gangs, dealers, crooks, and killers controlling the streets and giant tenements which dot the Cursed Earth which once was the United States.  Assigned a psychic new recruit named Cassandra Anderson (Olivia Thirlby) for assessment, Anderson and Dredd are sent to the Peach Tree slum tower to investigate murders involving a new drug called Slo-Mo.  Anderson and Dredd’s attempt to take a witness has the drug lord Ma-Ma (Lena Headey) lock down Peach Tree.  Now Anderson and Dredd are battling to stay alive among the criminals and the only option is to take down Ma-Ma and her crew.

Directed by Peter Travis, Dredd was released in 3D to fair to positive reviews from critics and positive reviews from fans.  The script was written by popular writer Alex Garland (writer of 28 Days Later, The Beach, Sunshine, and Never Let Me Go), but the movie fared poorly in the U.S. box office.


I am the LAW!!!

I enjoyed Dredd, but it could have been much better.  Part of the problem with Judge Dredd (especially with U.S. audiences) is that they were so badly burned by the horrible Sylvester Stallone 1995 Judge Dredd.  With this bitter taste in their mouth, a late summer release of a character with a rather goofy costume and Batman-esque voice probably was a hard sell.

Dredd is more faithful to the character’s comic roots than the previous Judge Dredd film.  Judge Dredd first appeared in the British comic 2000 AD #2 (March 1977) and has been a staple of British comics ever since.  Here, the set, the scenery, the characters, and the acting is much more in line with the darkness of the comic but the movie loses a lot of the satire.


Ma-Ma’s gonna gun you down!

That is possibly some of the problem with Dredd in that there is no humor in the story.  I hate it when movies interject a “funny character” into the script…and the original Judge Dredd was notorious for that by having Rob Schneider dropping one-liners through the whole film.  This film however is dark…very dark.  The humor is missing and that is important part of a story that is a satire of the judicial system where the judge, jury, and execution are all tied-up in one person.  Somehow Garland should have figured a way to put in some humor without it seeming like it was pandering or out of place.


You know who I am!!!

Though I do like the idea of the Slo-Mo drug and it was a great way to amp-up the 3D effects and gun fights, other effects were sometimes lacking.  The Judges costumes looked a little cumbersome and actions scenes just didn’t have that extra punch they needed.  I didn’t feel a sense of danger or urgency on the part of any of the characters and the deadpan nature of Dredd hurts the idea of hard hitting crazy action…he’s just too in control to have that happen.

Dredd is worth checking out.  I wouldn’t be shocked if over time it gains a cult following and is looked back on with better results.  Despite the so-so returns on the film, there is talk of a sequel or even a trilogy of films which flesh out Dredd’s back-story and the story of the Cursed Earth.  I would welcome it and think that with a few tweaks this movie could have been better.

Related Links:

Judge Dredd (1995)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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