Sep 24, 2012

Laying down the Law (Dredd Review)

It is what it is. That's a good opener right? But that's basically what my review of Dredd is. I mean that in the most complimentary way possible.

I've discussed this before; that a movie can only be judged on its own terms. (See what I did there?) If a movie is trying to be high art and shake the very foundation of a genre than it must be evaluated with that in mind. Dredd is not trying to do that. Dredd is straight up and embraces its own carnage and brutality. 

Set in a dystopian  future where most of the world is a radioactive wasteland; Dredd takes place in the urban hellhole Mega City One. The city's name is apt, it stretches from Boston to Washington D.C. The justice system is quick and ruthless. The heavily armored Judges act as judge, jury, and executioner. Often within three seconds. A judge sees you kill a person? No evidence, no arrests, they kill them right where you stand. They find evidence of a crime you've committed? Stealing? Vagrancy? Vandalism? You get incarcerated for however long the Judge sees fit. The movie follows Judge Dredd, the big dog on the block and Judge Anderson, the rookie on her first day. They get stuck in a mega apartment building/slum controlled by drug lord Ma-Ma.

It's a straightforward premise and sticks to it. It doesn't aim to deconstruct the ethics of what the Judges do, (although there are a couple moments where it touches on that,) it's focused on the practicality of the situation Dredd and Anderson are in. They are locked in, now let's watch them get out.

It's not cheesy like it's 90's predecessor. Karl Urban plays Dredd without an ounce of humor or remorse and it works. He doesn't spout off catch-phrases or one liners. He rolls up and kills the bad guys with extreme prejudice. The acting is fine to very good, the gun play is magnificent, the gore is nasty and detailed, and the film has some fantastic visuals when certain characters are high on "slo-mo." If you are at all interested in action movies or extremely violent shoot'em ups you should go see this. It delivers what it sets out to deliver.

Over on filmdrunk.com they have an ultimatum to people who expect some lofty philosophizing about how Dredd fails to be more than the sum of it's parts, "If you're a film critic and you analyze this movie as anything more than a comic book about an apocalyptic cop who shoots first and asks questions later, then I hope your nuts get stapled to a seesaw."

It's a bit... harsh. But I agree with the sentiment.


Now let's compare that to this piece of crap.

To quote Judge Dredd after he threw someone out a window to their death, "...Yeah."

1 comment:

  1. The cast is good and the action is inspired, and I think that’s where Dredd stands above all of the other remakes that continue to get churned out almost every month. Nice review Mr. Froggie.

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