Hats off to the makers of Dredd 3D for succeeding in burying the memories of that 1995 Sylvester Stallone version, Judge Dredd, that fans of the comic book still remember with horror. With their new film, director Pete Travis and writer Alex Garland bring the character back to his brutally violent roots, and stick to the concept of Dredd as a sardonic, single-minded dispenser of justice in a post-apocalyptic world overrun with criminals, the homeless, and assorted degenerates.
Most of the action takes place in a massive high-rise where Dredd and his rookie partner, the mind-reading Cassandra (Olivia Thirlby), get trapped when trying to flush out crime lord Ma-Ma (Lena Headey). It’s hard not to draw parallels with the excellent Indonesian film The Raid: Redemption that had a similar premise; and to be fair this one’s just as much fun if you’re not squeamish about blood and violence. Because bullets pass through cheeks in super slow-motion, and blood literally splatters out of the screen, all in glorious 3D.
Karl Urban, playing Dredd, sportingly keeps his mug hidden under that helmet throughout the film. His deadpan portrayal of our hero delivers some nice comic moments, like one in which he asks a murder suspect to confess to his crime so he can execute him on the spot…thereby saving himself a pile of paperwork.
I’m going with three out of five for Dredd 3D. It’s brisk and brutal, but a good time is guaranteed.