Over the busy Christmas period I finally got round to seeing this reboot of Judge Dredd. I can’t remember much of the Sylvester Stallone Judge Dredd film back in 1995 but I do remember it wasn’t very good. So can this remake be one of the few that’s superior to the original?
Set in future America where crime is high and the only ones upholding the law are the Judges who go out and sentance people on site for their crimes. Judge Dredd (Karl Urban) is given a new partner- rookie Judge Anderson (Olivia Thirlby), a psychic, to see if she sinks or swims on her first day. Unfortunatly Anderson’s first day includes being sealed inside a tower block where gang leader Ma-Ma (Lena Headey) orders it’s residents to kill the judges.
It has to be said that this is a big improvement on the previous Judge Dredd film, and having Karl Urban in the main role is one of the film’s high points. Fans of the comic books will be pleased to know he keeps his helmet on the whole way through the film. Dredd is a difficult character to pull off due to his unflinching stance on the law and the fact that he seems to have very little sense of humour or warmth. Luckily Urban seems to have a good handle on the character and makes this steely character worth watching.
Dredd’s partnerhsip with Anderson is one of the more interesting aspects of the film. She is the rookie who is a bit of an outcast due to her psychic abilities and Dredd doesn’t think she’ll make it through the day. She is more compassionate and emotional than Dredd however she’s no pushover either and handles herself well as the situation dissolves into extream violence. Luckily she is never made as the typical damsel in distress, nor is she depicted as the love interest for Dredd.
So the film starts off well but eventually the fighting gets a bit monotonous. It doesn’t help that the plot is strangely similiar (on the surface anyway) to Indonesian actioner The Raid. However while that film was able to come up with several inventive fight sequences in its clasustraphobic setting the action in Dredd gets boring with its continuous gun fire. Another problem is that though the city of Maga-City One sounds interesting we don’t get much of a chance to see it due to the fact we’re stuck inside the tower block for the majority of the film.
Still this is still an improvement on the 1995 movie and Karl Urban makes for a better Dredd than Stallone did. Fans of the comics and Karl Urban will enjoy this film but it still has a long way to go before being the classic action film it hopes to be.
Rating 3/5-B movie fun that doesn’t outstay its welcome