Friday, July 19, 2013

PCP on DVD - Dredd

Judge Dredd is an extremely dark and violent comic book, or so I've been told, having never read the source material. I also never saw the reportedly awful Judge Dredd starring Sylvester Stallone back in the 1990s. But I was willing to give this version of the film a shot, based on the fact that I like Karl Urban, and frankly I didn't have anything else rented worth watching at the time.

Dredd - 2012, rated R.  My rating: 6 out of 10.

As mentioned, Dredd stars Karl Urban in the title role. You wouldn't know it, however, as you never see Urban's face without his helmet once during the entire film. In fact, for all of the Judges, the only one to go without a helmet is the rookie that Dredd is in the field with, Anderson (Olivia Thirlby), because she has psychic powers and the helmet interferes with them.

The film is set far in the future, in a post-apocalyptic future where society as we know it today has completely broken down, thanks to nuclear wars. The Judges oversee the population of Mega City One, a sprawling metropolis that spans from Boston to Washington D.C., according to Dredd's opening narration. It is a sprawling hellhole of 800 million inhabitants, with thousands of violent crimes occurring daily. The police force known as the Judges have the power of police, judge, jury, and executioner all rolled into one package. And as the opening chase sequence shows us, Dredd is not shy about using his authority to kill criminals guilty of serious crimes.

Dredd is tasked with taking Anderson out in the field with him, to assess whether or not she will make a good Judge. Along the way, they wind up getting stuck inside a 200 story tenement building controlled by drug kingpin Ma-Ma (played by a nearly unrecognizable Lena Headey, aka Cersei Lannister from Game of Thrones). Ma-Ma has plans for expanding production of the latest drug, Slo-Mo, and she doesn't want the Judges to interfere. So, she basically throws everything she has at Dredd and Anderson in the hopes of taking the Judges out.

Visually, the film is gorgeous, but the slow motion shots get annoying after awhile. They get used every time a character is shown taking the drug Slo-Mo, which apparently makes your brain feel like time is passing at 1% of normal speed. Really, it's just an excuse to justify slow motion shots that look cool in 3D for the film's theatrical release. But fortunately, the slow motion scenes happen only a handful of times, and they don't bog down the film too much.

I definitely am getting old, because me 10 years ago would have loved this ultra violent film. I give it a 6, as a 31 year old. 21 year old me would've given this an 8. The action sequences are great, but the plot is straightforward and predictable. But if you're looking for plot in a film like this, you're watching the wrong movie. As action flicks go, this one is serviceable.

No comments:

Post a Comment