After the epic fail that was the 1995 "Judge Dredd" movie with Stallone (was it that long ago?) as a Dredd fan since 1977 I was naturally both excited and concerned when I first heard there was to be another Dredd film. On seeing the writing and production team of Alex Garland and Andrew MacDonald become involved and then that first picture of Karl Urban with 'the' Judge helmet I started to hope that this could actually be pretty good!
|Karl Urban as Dredd.|
Well, with the wait finally over I finally got to see the movie. I was not dissapointed! Without going into too much detail regarding the plot, Dredd is forced to bring order to the citi-block of Peachy Trees, a feared 200 storey slum and it's resident drug overlord Ma-Ma. Tagging along is misfit mutant psychic and rookie Judge Anderson, who is getting a last chance evaluation from the big man himself. Following a routine investigation into a multiple homicide, the two capture one of Ma-Ma's right hand men Kay. In order to prevent him and the Judges leaving and blowing her whole operation she takes over the entire block and puts it under lock down and incites every miscreant in the whole block to take out the two Judges and everyone else to stay out of the way. Dredd and Anderson have to battle for survival to get out of the block alive...
|Olivia Thirlby as Anderson.|
I can honestly say I really enjoyed the film. What I would say is see it with an open mind if you are a Dredd fan. It is not a Dredd movie for the purist but it is everything the Stallone one was not! The look and style are very gritty, realistic and urban (geddit), the violence is brutal and bloody and the script and performances are good. Karl Urban makes a good Dredd, with enough grimace, laconic delivery and a nod to Clint Eastwood. There are a lot of nice touches in there for the fanboy (Judge Alvarez, Kenny Who?) too and they manage to get in loads of Dredd quips without it being cheesy! Thirlby is great as a young Anderson, and although pretty close she is not exactly the one you may know from the comics, at least history wise. Her 'psychic' talent is used well and she adds the 'human' element to the story, questioning herself and the Judicial system in the same way her comic counterpart would. Lena Headey is of course excellent as Ma-Ma, vicious and terrifying. The film is rounded out by a strong supporting cast including Domhnall Gleeson (unreconisable Bill Weasley!) as Ma-Ma's techie and Wood Harris (Avon Barksdale in The Wire) as Kay.
It may jar at first. Mega City One may not initially look quite as 'mega' as you may expect it too. There are some very traditional looking vehicles on the roads. This is a pared down realistic looking world not too far into our own future. Go in with an open mind, stay with it and I am sure you will enjoy. I am looking forward to the sequel already!
Apparently it also received the seal of approval from John Wagner -
Judge Dredd creator John Wagner had been critical of the 1995 adaptation, but positively received Dredd. He said: "I liked the movie. It was, unlike the first film, a true representation of Judge Dredd... Karl Urban was a fine Dredd and I'd be more than happy to see him in the follow up. Olivia Thirlby excelled as Anderson... The character and storyline are pure Dredd."
And regarding a sequel -
At the London Film and Comic Con in July 2012, Garland said that a North American gross in excess of $50 million for Dredd would potentially allow for sequels. Garland said that he had plans for a trilogy of films with a second film focusing on the origins of Dredd and his city, and a third introducing Dredd's nemesis, the undead Judge Death and his Dark Judges. In August 2012, he also mentioned that a Judge Dredd television series would be a positive future step for the series. In September 2012, Garland further expanded his sequel concepts. He said that he would explore the "Origins" and "Democracy" storylines and introduce the villains Judge Cal and Chopper. He also said that he would pursue the concept that Judge Dredd is a fascist. Also in September, Macdonald said that further films would be made in partnership with IM Global and would likely be again shot in South Africa.
|Judge Dredd RPG d20.|
|Judge Dredd RPG.|
|Judge Dredd Miniatures Game.|
Quite tempted with a Judge Cal and retinue...
"Oh Dredd, woe Dredd, all alone and so dead. In the Big Smelly" (Ode to Dredd by Judge Cal)
Mongoose have been running a Kickstarter project which is looking good with Lawmasters, Brit-Cit and Sov Judges and a Manta Prowl Tank coming up among other things. I am after the Brit-Cit Judges and the Dark Judges for sure. Check it out!
|Dredd by Bolland.|
Well that's enough of my Dredd ramblings for now. Yet another project to think about?
Anyway, remember folks - He IS the Law!