Cast: Karl Urban, Olivia Thirlby, Lena Headey
Director: Pete Travis
In this radically gritty reboot of the iconic and long running
Brit sci-fi comic book 2000AD series, our very own Karl Urban (a
lifelong fan of Dredd himself) dons the helmet of Judge Dredd and
heads out into Mega City One to dispense justice.
On a routine day out bringing law to the lawless, Dredd is called on to evaluate rookie judge Anderson (Olivia Thirlby) to see if she's good enough to make the grade. Anderson's failed the aptitude tests but is one of the strongest psychics ever seen.
So, the duo is paired up and by Anderson's choice, take on a triple homicide inside the Peach Trees mega complex.
But when they get there, they find the 200 level block is under the control of cold hearted bitch Ma-Ma (Game of Thrones' Lena Headey) who immediately locks everything down and orders the judges executed.
As if that wasn't bad enough, a new drug called Slo-Mo (which makes the user feel like time's moving very, very slowly) is infiltrating Mega City One - can Dredd and Anderson make a difference - and more importantly, stay alive?
Our very own Karl Urban is the hero of the piece.
His screen Dredd is everything and more I'd have wanted for the gritty, urban and violent reboot. Urban's got Dredd down to a tee - from the stony faced chin and sneer to the gravelly, enforcer (almost Robocop-like) voice of Dredd. It's a perfect version of the law dispensing judge -and more than fans could have ever hoped for. Credit has to go to Urban, who owns the role from the
get go and who knows the source material as well as having been there from the start - having seen this reboot, it's hard to now imagine anyone else as Dredd now.
Meanwhile, Olivia Thirlby is the perfect foil to Dredd - her Anderson is vulnerable, human and gives us the ideal way into Mega City One and the way of the Judges. Her character has hints of an arc (as much as you can in a film where two people shoot their way out of a building) and a backstory which would give some exploration in any future films. Lena Headey has little to do as MaMa except be a cold, evil sneering presence but she makes the most of her onscreen time and has the cruel veneer down to a tee.
While Dredd certainly hits the right notes for the comic book
fans (certainly, the fan pleasing nods within structures will give
2000AD fans a tingle of nerdy excitement), there are moments when
some parts of the audience may feel a little left out or if they've
seen The Raid or Die Hard, a sense of deja vu.
A lack of real strong plot is not a major distraction but becomes evident occasionally (and the rookie out with Dredd story is a familiar one from the comics), as does the over-use of zoom ins on Anderson's spider-sense like psychic abilities, which due to over-reliance loses its novelty.
At the end of the day though, this reboot deserves to be seen by many; sure, it's violent but it's slick, original and probably the closest thing to a live action comic book of Dredd you'll ever see. I hope it gets the mass market appeal it needs to ensure a sequel, because there's plenty of exciting potential here.
Thrilling, high octane, and visceral, Dredd 3D is anything but Dredd-ful. In fact, it's actually completely awesome.