Film Review: Unique Style Overcomes Stiffness in ‘Dredd 3D’
CHICAGO – Judge Dredd is a comic book character, right? In a comic book movie, right? Okay, that might mean – as in this case it does – that there will be some static dialogue and the old good-versus-evil sameness. But the new film “Dredd 3D,” featuring Karl Urban in the title role, forges beyond the ordinary by generating some arresting visual sensations.
This film has it’s own sense of style, an uncommon cinematic feel that is engaging without being overdone. By creating a future world of bleak, drug induced misery, a law enforcement that also acts as judge and jury has its own debatable issues. So to render an almost ballet-like interplay with some of the ultra violence and strange behavior in the picture is an inspiration from the filmmakers. There is the overdone violence and dreck associated with it in “Dredd 3D,” but the eye candy gives up a flavor that sets it apart from the rest of the comic book gang.
Judge Dredd (Karl Urban) is the law in a collapsed, post-nuclear society. The United States have been reorganized into mega-cities, this particular one that he patrols encompasses the entire former east coast, combining territories that used to be New York City, Boston and Washington, D.C. The government is totalitarian – justice is meted out immediately through the ‘Judges,’ police officers who also immediately sentence the perpetrators they capture on the street.
One high rise building encampment (huge buildings that hold populations in the tens of thousands) is manufacturing a new drug flavor called SLO-MO, the effect of which tells the brain that everything is moving at turtle place, like a frame-by-frame replay. Judge Dredd and his rookie partner Anderson (Olivia Thirlby) are called to the building, completely ruled by the evil Ma-Ma (Lena Headey). Dredd and Anderson leverage the situation by capturing Kay (Wood Harris), Ma-Ma’s right hand man, but there is a compound-wide bounty and order for anyone there to kill the Judges. Just another day in an ongoing war.
Photo credit: Lionsgate