Few comic book movies have elements that aren’t inherently silly or elements that come off as silly when implemented on film. Even dark interpretations like THE DARK KNIGHT have aspects that people scoff at, just as THE AVENGERS has aspects equally as eye rolling to certain audiences. For me DREDD is a comic book adaptation that mixes that dark tone with elements of that straight popcorn fluff entertainment into a gleefully violent and fun action flick.
As a straight up reimagining to the woefully terrible Stallone flick DREDD is everything JUDGE DREDD wishes it were. Sure it’s missing all the hilariously fun and over-the-top acting moments from its cast that you can play over and over on YouTube, but what it lacks in unintentional laughs it makes up for in straight faced jabs that can be equally as fun and entertaining. The younger version of myself was always able to squeeze plenty of enjoyment out of Stallone’s turn at the character, but after seeing this update I’m more than just aware that my younger self should be served up for judgment.
Karl Urban is awesome as the stone faced Judge Dredd, a law enforcer in the wasteland of the old world that is just one of many with the authority to act as judge, jury and executioner to those who chose to ignore the law. Olivia Thirlby plays a trainee appointed to Dredd as the two investigate a murder in a massive apartment complex run by a lethal drug kingpin know as Ma-Ma (Lena Headey), who locks them in with intent to kill, so the Judges are forced to fight for their lives. Thirlby holds her own, but it’s really Urban and Headey’s show as the two square off and have plenty of fun doing so.
Through all the grizzled tough talk DREDD has a pretty awesome visual style, while the story is nearly identical to THE RAID: REDEMPTION. The similarity isn’t an issue as far as the been-there-done-that factor goes, but honestly THE RAID’s action and fight choreography tends to put DREDD in its place. That’s not to say I’m telling you to skip this because of that, because the action here is still good, it’s just that it’s unfortunate that it shares so much in common with a film released the same year.
DREDD is a comic adaptation B-Movie action flick that was never going to change your life, but it is a damn fine piece of popcorn entertainment. This film serves as a memory wipe of the Sylvester Stallone vehicle that came before it and replaces it with a stylish, bloody and darkly comedic entry into the comic book film realm. DREDD may also dip a few too many times in the Zack Snyder bucket of slow motion scenes, but watching people’s heads explode in slow motion is still pretty hard to be mad at.
Written By: Luke (@CrummyLuke on Twitter)