This post is the unedited and updated copy of Dredd, published in our film review column Animadversion on 7th October 2012. Links are at the end of the post.
The Future is Dredd-ful Business!
By Farheen Jawaid
With a near-endless amount of bullets and body count, Dredd 3D hunts down injustice and kills it dead – along with audience interest.
Somewhere in the dystopian future, the world rests in chaos of lawlessness, and as usual in these flicks running chiefly on arsenal, quick judgment is the way to tackle it. The people who deal these judgments are a group of mean super-cops called judges, who investigate, pursue and sentence criminals on spot – meaning, mostly shoots them dead. And because this is a film of a singular hero-type character, the meanest of them is Judge Dredd (Karl Urban).
Dredd is assigned with a rookie for evaluation Anderson (Olivia Thirlby) – Dredd 3D’s wide eye innocent, mutant psychic, and the audiences’ only human connection. But then again, she’s the only who can make the connection. For us, emotionally connecting with Dredd is out of the question, because his face is hidden behind a fortified helmet that only allows his sneering mouth space to growl at the world.
Anderson and Dredd are sent to uncover a new drug named Slo-Mo, which turn everything into slow motion for the user (seriously?!). It is being spread by Ma-Ma (Lena Headey), a once-prostitute now basket-case, who deals brutality to foes and subordinates without prejudice.
Dredd and Anderson get stuck in a fortified high-rise complex that Ma-Ma locks down. She then orders a man-hunt for the judges, whose only way out is up and through the reign of bullets (now imagine the ingenuity in that!).
Made from the 70’s UK comic book – once made into Sylvester Stallone’s flop Judge Dredd (1995) (Which I didn’t mind that much) – Dredd 3D is directed by Pete Travis, who tries his hand at cyberpunk sans kinetic energy and visual classiness. Travis gets fine support from Alex Garland’s weak script, with B grade action and no build up. While we wait for the hero to – well, become a hero – he ends up just being a scowling guy with a mask and cool gun; even a better second half can’t help much with this Dredd-ful experience.
Dredd 3D is released by Lionsgate and is rated R for concentrated violence, appended by low-budget sets, bad visual effects and a bad-tempered man’s scowl. Don’t expect a sequel.
The feature is at: http://dawn.com/2012/10/07/animadversion-just-call-it-political-farce/
And it looks like this: