Dredd – 3.5/5 – Movie Reviews by Ry!

dreddDredd – 3.5/5 – This is a review for a movie that came out a year ago.  I have heard about this movie a few times, and through word-of-mouth, a lot of good things were expressed for this movie.  After all this good nature talking, I decided to sit down and watch this pseudo futuristic tale.  After watching this film, I was pleasantly surprised at how (in plain terms) fun it was.  Barring some convienent plot elements, the film is a pure adrenaline rush.

Premise: In a violent, futuristic city of the new world, it is a place of despair and violence.  Even for this dire outlook, there is still order and laws to follow.  In this new world, the police have the authority to act as judge, jury and executioner.  One of these ‘judge’ teams have to take down a gang that deals the reality-altering drug.  What ensues is a path where there is only one thing for the Judges to do; executes and destroy.

In the lead role of Judge Dredd is actor Karl Urban.  As Dredd, Urban provides a brooding but stern individual, who packs a big punch for the good guys.  Through his mannerisms regarding just his mouth (since his face is covered) he exuded the passionate fervor with deep confidence, even when situations are dire.  With his interactions with citizens, gang thugs and his rookie partner, he shows a ‘no tolerance’ policy, and sticks with it.  I give Urban more props in providing depth through dialogue and mannerism of his lower face (mouth and chin) as mentioned earlier, because his eyes are covered.   His partner in crime is a rookie cop with psychic powers.  She goes by the name of Anderson, and is played by Olivia Thirlby.  She does a decent job as the partner, and gives true grit when it comes to the usage of her powers or when she is caught in a ‘hostage’ situation.  Even for some decent scenarios involving her, she doesn’t really provide the layers that define her ‘rising star’ character she is playing.  Her chemistry with Urban is good, and she does well in complimenting his brash attitude with her ‘rookie’ mentality.  For the supporting cast, the one stand out is the head of the gang causing all the hell for the Judges’, Mama.  She is played by fame actress Lena Headey.  In this role, she provides a vile, heartless individual, which will do anything and everything to kill off these two judges who have entered her domain.  Through action set pieces, interaction with her ‘thugs’ and fellow citizens, she exudes evil; making you hate her deeply throughout.  Outside of her, all the other characters are typical typecast for a standard ultra-violent film.   They are the ‘aloof’ crazy thugs, the ‘dirty’ cops, the ‘scared/innocent’ citizens and regular bystanders.

The films direction follows a simple linear thread.  Being encompassed in an ‘action’ film dealing in the future, you follow a basic introduction, common conflict, and ‘connect the dots’ situational actions that lead to an inevitable climax.  In the beginning, we get the standard background for Judge Dredd, his rookie partner Anderson, and the evil leader of the gang, Mama.   After the introduction, we head into the ‘common conflict’ that brings these parties together.  This is when the two judges report to one of the residential blocks for a triple homicide.  After integrating the local health agent, they move in, and infiltrate one of the homes that have a suspect related to the crime.  This supposed routine arrest makes a turn for the worst, as Mama puts the whole building on lockdown, and puts a bounty to kill both the judges.  From here, the generic setup turns into a fast pace, violent display of shootouts, fights that trails through the destruction of this building.  Everything here is ‘in your face’ and ‘shocking’, which helps distract the audience from any kind of ‘logical’ gaps you might quickly notice in the film.  The one thing that stands out pass the violence is the convenience of certain plot devices placed to move the film along.  At times, they are way too obvious, causing some of the action to be drowned out by the predictability.  The good thing is that this is a very minimal occurrence, and doesn’t deter from the pure rush you get from the evidence of the ‘futuristic’ setting, action and crazy weapons used by the Judge.   Once the film ends, it comes to an abrupt close, give you a feeling of wanting to keep following the Judge and his journey.

The visuals of the film are both amazing and cliché.  The side that is amazing is the construction of this ‘futuristic’ world and the Judge characters.  The world is a very dire and desolate place, and with the hazy colors and grainy camera usage, it gives you a deep dark complexion of everyday life in this place.  In contrast, the Judge’s attire provides a reflection of something good; some sign of hope and justice that could battle against the despair of the world.  Also, a great element is the usage of the ‘drug’ that is seen throughout the film.  Not going to overboard, the film does a good job displaying the effects of the drug.  The cliché aspect of the film comes in some of the ‘action sets’ and thugs attire.  Here, it is all standard elements (even in a futuristic world) and doesn’t really do much to add flavor to all the other aspect introduced in the film.  The score is not a hindrance, but there isn’t much music to help infuse into the action.

Overall, Dredd has a lot of great elements, but still displays a lot of common film techniques and convenient plot devices associated with the action genre.  Karl Urban is great as Judge Dredd, and the rest of the cast does enough to keep the story going.  If you’re looking for a decent action flick to watch, this is one for you.  This is a good rental for a Friday night.

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