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Awesome: 12.9%
Worth A Look54.84%
Just Average: 6.45%
Pretty Crappy: 22.58%
Sucks: 3.23%

3 reviews, 13 user ratings

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by Peter Sobczynski

"Here Guns The Judge! Here Guns The Judge!"
2 stars

Fans of the super-violent British sci-fi comic book character Judge Dredd, the always-helmeted antihero of a saga set in a dystopian future in which heavily armored and helmeted police officers serve as one-man judges, juries and, more often than not, executioners, will be relived to know that "Dredd 3-D," the latest attempt to bring the property to the screen is more faithful than the disastrous 1995 version that featured Sylvester Stallone, if only because this version features a Dredd who keeps his helmet on all the time and Rob Schneider is nowhere in sight to supply vast quantities of unfunny comedy relief. Alas, being faithful to the source doesn't necessarily make for a good movie and this ugly, brutal and ridiculously violent slaughterhouse of a film is proof positive of that.

Following a bloody opening chase sequence in which Dredd calmly and methodically chases down and slaughters a trio of violent psychopaths--a set piece that kicks off the film with great amounts of sound and fury but which has little to do with anything else--the story proper kicks in as Dredd (Karl Urban) is charged with spending the day observing a new prospect, spunky psychic Anderson (an inexplicably blonde Olivia Thirlby), to see if she has what it takes to be a judge. Considering the fact that she cannot wear a helmet because they diminish her psychic abilities, I would say the answer in a big "No" but hey, I only review the films. Anyway, they are soon sent to a towering housing development under the thumb of psychotic criminal mastermind MaMa (a scarred Lena Headey) to investigate a triple murder. When they apprehend a suspect who can blow the lid off of MaMa's drug empire (she is selling a drug that causes its users to feel as though everything is moving in slo-motion around them--imagine if you took some of this before a Brian De Palma film), she responds by locking the entire complex down and offering the world to the minions who succeed in Dredd and Anderson. Of course, two people against hundreds of heavily armed psychotics might not seem like a fair fight but let us be honest--if that is the question that immediately pops to mind, this may not be quite the film for you.

If any of this sounds a bit familiar to you, then you have hit upon one of my key problems with "Dredd 3-D"--the fact that the basic story, albeit devoid of the light sci-fi elements, is pretty much the same thing that turned up earlier this year in the martial arts cult favorite "The Raid." Now Alex Garland is a talented writer and there is nothing to suggest that this is anything other than a case of two camps independently coming up with the same premise but anyone who saw "The Raid" will find it nearly impossible to set those memories aside and look at this film independently. (I must admit that I have a sneaky suspicion that my complaint about the film's lack of originality stems from having seen it right after watching "Looper," a movie that takes familiar elements and does amazing and unique things with them.) That said, griping about the plot of "Dredd 3-D" is a bit absurd because the film is essentially just a flimsy pretext for 90-odd minutes of wholesale slaughter in which people are squished and skinned, brains are strewn all over the walls and floors and so much fake blood is spilled that you get the sense that Lionsgate gave the project the green light simply to make use of their stocks of the red stuff that have just been sitting around since the end of the "Saw" series. Those of you who have been reading my reviews for a while know that I don't have a problem with ultra-violent movies as long as they have some point or purpose to the brutality (such as the Paul Verhoeven classic "Robocop," a film that actually comes a lot closer to capturing the spirit of the Judge Dredd comics than either of the official adaptations) but this is just nasty and sadistic stuff throughout and right around the third or fourth time I saw someone's brain matter leaking from their skull, I found myself getting genuinely repulsed. On the pages of a comic book, this kind of stuff is acceptable because it comes across as so naturally stylized that it is hard to get to worked up over it. Projected forty feet high on the big screen with ear-splitting sound and in 3-D to boot, it is all just too much for all but the less discerning gorehounds in the audience.

Needless to say, I didn't care for "Dredd 3-D" at all but I must concede that it does have a couple of things of value to it. As the lead character, Karl Urban is stuck in the kind of role that most actors would flee from--not only does he have to go through the entire story making sure that he doesn't demonstrate a single recognizable human emotion but he has to do it while wear a get-up that reveals only his lower chin--and does a pretty good job at going through his monosyllabic paces. On the other end of the spectrum, cinematographer Anthony Dod Mantle lets loose with a wildly stylized visual palette that contains a number of admittedly startling images. Thanks to their contributions, one can walk away from "Dredd 3-D" and convince themselves that there is at least the chance that with the aid of a more original script, the possibility of a decent Judge Dredd movie at some point down the line is a little more plausible than it once might have seemed. Until then, just stick with "Robocop," a film where, unlike "Dredd 3-D," most of the brains resided in the screenplay instead of all over the walls.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=22734&reviewer=389
originally posted: 09/20/12 20:15:39
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: Fantastic Fest 2012 For more in the Fantastic Fest 2012 series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2012 Toronto International Film Festival For more in the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

7/07/18 Dr.Lao Better than the Stallone version 4 stars
1/07/16 David Hollingsworth boring 1 stars
9/04/14 David Green great 4 stars
9/16/13 mr.mike Bring back Sly! 3 stars
9/09/13 KingNeutron Anthrax still MIA :( but this one was way better than Stallone's :) 4 stars
3/27/13 Eggy Joe Captured the feel of the comic, thoroughly enjoyed it 5 stars
10/09/12 Daniel Scott Way better than the Stallone one! There was a Stallone one?! 5 stars
10/04/12 Petrus Not perfect, but I felt justice was served. 4 stars
10/02/12 scott maxwell it was ok 3 stars
9/29/12 Ronald Holst all i can say6 irt was Dread full 2 stars
9/27/12 Watch Movies Online Free This is a good movie, that looks nothing like a comic book and more like an action movie. 4 stars
9/26/12 the truth YES. for once a truly faithful comic book movie. not for the kids : ) 5 stars
9/22/12 Daniel Fantastic movie. If you're into Sci-Fi and bad asses, this movie is great. 5 stars
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  21-Sep-2012 (R)
  DVD: 08-Jan-2013


  DVD: 08-Jan-2013

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