For what it’s worth, I din’t think the last Judge Dredd movie was that bad. It wasn’t great, but it was serviceable enough, despite taking some liberties with the source material. I liked Mega City 1 and the Angel Gang (despite being offed far too easily) and it was a good fun ride.
‘Dredd’ is an altogether different beast and I had a terrible feeling of unease about it. I wasn’t actually that keen on going to see it, to be honest but, no matter. I saw it. And you know what? Despite the problems I have with, and there are a lot, I enjoyed this one, too.
It is relentlessly grim. Dredd is meant to be fun. Not a horror road trip caked with gore. Yes, the comic had quite a few unpleasant moments, but it never really lost it sense of the absurd. There were colourful, weird and wonderful characters inhabiting the Grim and it was the Judges job to rein in the weirdness.
Had Karl Urban not donned the Iconic costume, the movie would have functioned perfectly well. In a lot of ways it was essentially a retread of “Die Hard”, but with enormous shoulder pads. But where was the comedy? The satire? The weirdness? Where was the spark that has kept Dredd going for nearly 40 years? It wasn’t there; just a violent criminal gang lead by a disfigured ex-prostitute who manufactures a drug that Chris Morris would approve of (I was waiting for a comment about Shatners Bassoon!).
From my perspective, it wasn’t a Judge Dredd Movie. It was a police thriller set in the near future and yes I *know* the Judges are policemen, but where the comic revelled in sci-fi tropes, often pointing out the ludicrousness in them and openly mocking them, Dredd appear to want to make it – excuse me while I spit – “Gritty and Real”.
This is what went horrifically wrong with Nolan’s Batman movies. Taking an outlandish franchise and placing it in a ‘real’ world forces the source material to dilute itself and seem faintly ludicrous. In order to make it seem more ‘real’, just add loads of swearing and gore (often slow motion swearing and gore) and hey! Land yourself with an 18 certificate. IT’S A MOVIE BASED ON AN COMIC AIMED AT 10 -16 YEAR OLDS! Way to alienate your audience!
It didn’t need to be updated, made adult or made “gritty and realistic”. Stripping out the bits that made Judge Dredd Judge Dredd seems ridiculous.
Now. The weird thing is that despite this, it’s actually a pretty good movie. Its just not Judge Dredd.
Karl Urban is fantastic and it’s a great cast all round. Performances are wonderful, it looks magnificent, the slo-mo segments are beautifully shot and everything else about the movie is bang on.
Except it’s not Judge Dredd.
I think what it suffers from most noticeably is that there isn’t so much a plot as an extended introduction to Judge Anderson. In many respects it reminds me of the first X-Men movie. You know, the plot was incidental, what was important was setting up the characters for the sequel. Oh wait….Anderson? Well, you can guess what the obvious choice of plot would be for the next movie, right?
So. Basically, this is a trailer for Dredd 2.
For £12.50, I think I deserved more.
Conclusions? I liked it and I didn’t. But I do want to see the sequel. I just hope it doesn’t go the same way as Batman.
That would be even more frustrating.