Dredd (2012) – Review

4 Stars

Dredd is the second big-screen incarnation of the UK based comic strip. The 1995 film was a troubled production starring Sylvester Stallone, rumored behind the scene clashes with director Danny Cannon over the tone and violence level, led to a muted mediocre film that is ultimately forgettable. This latest rendition is the movie that enthusiasts will lovingly accept and newbies will either be shocked, enthralled or pounded into submission by. Let’s get this out at the top, Dredd is one of the most cheerfully and brutally violent films of the last 25 years. Not since Paul Verhoeven’s Robocop has a film engulfed me in such a compellingly bleak futurist nightmare, with violence so abrupt and extreme that it almost becomes self parody.

Karl Urban dons the visor of the most feared lawman in the rundown post-apocalyptic sector known as Mega City One. 800 million people are crammed into a city that lays within great walls, protecting the inhabitants from the wasteland called the Cursed Earth. With citizens stacked on top of one another, violence and criminal activity is at epic proportions. Dredd is part of the ‘Judges’ a police-force that is enabled to disbursed immediate execution or sentencing, due process is a thing of the past. Though the film is strangely cold and distant, the friendship between Judge Dredd and his female rookie partner is effective, giving this fast paced, nihilistic action thriller some much needed emotion.

Laced with a cynical humor, the violence is sometimes repellent, sometimes numbing. The barebones storyline doesn’t stop to give us any truly colorful villains outside MAMA (Headey), a former prostitute now the largest dealer in the city. She controls the entire production of Slo-Mo. A crack type drug that is inhaled and causes the brain to process info at 1% of real-time. Dredd takes a few cues from Training Day, New Jack City, and Die Hard, albeit with a much different time setting. Most of the film takes place within the confines of a towering building 200 stories high. Sealed in this massive structure is Dredd and his partner, a new recruit with psychic abilities. As the pair stalk each floor, we are given a video-games like experience in which human targets jump out from every corner. After a while each corridor or hallway begins to look the same.

Director Pete Travis has fashioned a stylish but violent action/adventure that offers 100 minutes of nonstop shootouts. But it’s Urban’s performance as Dredd that truly captures the intensity the film is striving for.

Director: Pete Travis
Stars: Karl Urban, Olivia Thirlby, Lena Headey

One thought on “Dredd (2012) – Review

  • October 3, 2012 at 3:47 am

    Will be going to see DREDD tomorrow, finally! I’m really ecstatic about this film, even more so because of all the positive reviews it’s getting. Many are calling it the best action flick of the year, by far, while others are going even further and compare it to the wonderful “RoboCop” and even “T2” in terms of fun.

    It’s just a shame audiences didn’t recognize the awesomeness, with Dredd being pretty much a flop on the box office.


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