The reboot of Sylvester Stallone’s infamous Judge Dredd (1995) was actually not as bad as I thought it would have been. This time Judge Dredd is grittier and more intense than its mid-nineties predecessor. For those unfamiliar with the films or the premise of the comic strips its based on, the story takes place in the future where judges are the only form of justice in the futuristic mega cities. These specially trained police force not only have the powers to judge but to also execute sentences how they see fit.
In this particular storyline, Dredd (Karl Urban) is given a rookie (Olivia Thirlby) to take on patrol in order to assess whether she is fit to be a judge or not. Their investigation of a triple homicide leads them to a building that is controlled by a gang led by a woman who is called Ma-Ma (Lena Headey). Upon making an important discovery, Dredd and the rookie become trapped in the building they went to raid and have to get ready to fight off the gang members that are trying to kill them.
The first thing about this movie was that the 3D elements in this movie weren’t as noticeable as they are in other films. Apart from a few stylization elements in order to emphasize drug use in a couple of scenes, there’s nothing too gimmicky. The second thing that stuck out to me was how faithful they remained to the comic strips. Judge Dredd never once removed his mask during the entirety of the movie. Not only was this a nod to the comic, it also served to make Dredd seem more menacing and invincible.
The action in this movie was over the top in some parts but it did not seem completely out of place because of the setting everything takes place in. Ma-Ma, the main villain of the movie was played by a woman which doesn’t happen too often and not only is she evil, she’s also a smart leader with a weakness for violence. In short, one of the more memorable bad guys I have seen in a while. I was a little disappointed that although the director, Pete Travis, had such a good villain, he did not seem to elaborate her character a little more. Despite this, the action in Dredd never gets boring and is actually pretty consistent all the way through so you don’t really get a chance to dwell on the “what if” questions.
Overall, a great sci-fi/action film that runs in the same vein as Robocop. Karl Urban’s portrayal of Judge Dredd was similar to what you would expect of Batman and this isn’t a bad thing. Although the story isn’t too deep, it’s executed smartly enough to keep you at the edge of your seat until the very end. Despite a few minor setbacks, Dredd gives me hope that in this age of reboots there may still be hope for good ones.
TL;DR: Relieved to know that there are some reboots worth watching. Great Sci fi movie.
Rockit Raccoon Rating: 7.9/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 78%