DREDD: As Enjoyable As It Is Violent [Review 69 for FQ13]

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Why I Saw It: The first Judge Dredd film didn’t look like it was going to be good at all, the reviews backed up that assumption, so I never watched it. When this one came out, I figured it was going to be just as bad as its predecessor, but the reviews didn’t agree. I never sought it out, but when I noticed it was coming up on a cable channel I pay for anyway, I set the otherwise under-utilized DVR.

What Was It About?  “In a violent, futuristic city where the police have the authority to act as judge, jury and executioner, a cop teams with a trainee to take down a gang that deals the reality-altering drug, SLO-MO.

Rating: 8.6 out of 10

Though potentially a case where I’m soo pleasantly surprised by a film for which I had low expectations that I rate it more highly than it deserves, I think this rating is sound.

Memorable Performances: I can’t recall seeing Karl Urban in anything other than the new Star Trek films, and though it might be hard to mentally attach him to his lead role in DREDD due to the helmet he wears through the film’s entirety, he did a really good job with it. One of my first thoughts after finishing the film is that he made a strong case to be the next actor to portray Batman given what he accomplished here, similarly to how Daniel Craig made a case for being cast as James Bond through his performance in Layer Cake. Olivia Thirlby was very enjoyable in her role, which turned out to be one of the highlights of this film though it could have gone the opposite direction. She was believable in the aspects of the role involving action as well as someone with psychic abilities without making either aspect feel forced. Her background story, which was shared a bit throughout the film, and the last dialogue she has in the film were both really enjoyable aspects of the movie.

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Potential Nominations for Film Quest ’13:  

  • Surprising Favorite

Favorite Parts: I liked the in-mind interrogation scene where Olivia Thirlby’s Anderson character was showing her talents in getting what she wants and staying in control of a situation. It’s really the first scene in the movie where you get the idea that she’s going to be a good judge. Anytime Dredd uses his weapon’s various ammunition options, it ended up exciting. The dynamic between Dredd and Anderson was quality, and I like it when a guy and a woman can have chemistry in a movie without being siblings or love interests. The ending of the film was better than i was expecting it to be.

The Regrettable Aspects: The Dredd character was mentioned as being notorious a few times during the film, but they didn’t delve into that enough. We should’ve had a better idea of why he had that reputation.

Would I watch it again? I’m considering buying it on DVD so I can watch it whenever I want.

To Whom Would I Recommend It?  If a little bit of blood splatter doesn’t turn you away from a film, you should see this.

Other Recommendations:

– JUDGE DREDD – I haven’t seen it, but it makes sense that you’d want to see the original… though you’ll probably be disappointed with it, as I’ve not heard any good reviews.

– DEMOLITION MAN – It’s a futuristic cop movie with a fair bit of fighting.

STAR TREK – This was the only other film I could think to recommend here, and that’s because it has Karl Urban in it.

If you’ve got recommendations for alternatives to DREDD, or for other similar films, let me know!

Next up… Four Lions!

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2 responses to “DREDD: As Enjoyable As It Is Violent [Review 69 for FQ13]

  1. It’s pretty damn stylish in its own way. However, I felt like there could have been more action to really amp-up this material. Good review.

  2. Interesting review, like you I had low expectations but that was more because the advertising for the film was poor and the trailers were horrible! But the film was definitely a surprise, obviously better than the 90’s version (not like it was hard to get that done), but I feel like in the end the film wasn’t anything too special really.

    The problem with Dredd is for all its violence, action and good performances by Karl Urban and Olivia Thirlby, the overall film has no defining factors, no special features that separates it from other films of the same genre. Otherwise its good.

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