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“Dredd 3D” – Review (POSITIVE)

September 26, 2012

1995 wasn’t too kind to the pulpy ultra-violent dark hero known as Judge Dredd. Dredd was IPC Media’s popular futuristic crime stomper, who was turned to a laughable Sly Stallone action/adventure flick; filled with cheesy one-liners, questionable changes to the source material, and annoying sidekick that only Satan’s pubic hair, Rob Schneider, could pull off.

Nearly two decades later, we’re brought a 3D reimaging of the neo-classic hero, from writer Alex Garland (“28 Days Later”) and director Pete Travis (“Vantage Point”), who decide to stay grounded in what made the comics entertaining and violent, by mixing bombastic ultra violence, amazing visuals (efx wise & cinematography), and casting an actor who fits the profile of Judge Dredd, better than Stallone ever could have.

The future America is a barren wasteland. The East Coast, running from Boston to Washington DC, lies Mega City One; a vast, violent metropolis where criminals rule the chaotic streets. The only force of order lies with the urban cops called ‘Judges’ who possess the combined powers of judge, jury and executioner. Known and feared throughout the city, Dredd (Karl Urban) is the ultimate Judge. In this desolate future a dangerous drug epidemic has surfaced, users of the narcotic known as ‘Slo-Mo’ experiencing reality at a fraction of its normal speed. During a routine day on the job, Dredd is assigned to train and evaluate Cassandra Anderson (Olivia Thirlby), a rookie with powerful psychic abilities thanks to a genetic mutation. A heinous crime calls them to a neighborhood where fellow Judges rarely dare to venture – a 200 story vertical slum controlled by a prostitute turned drug kingpin named Ma-Ma (Lena Headey).

The movie borrows a similar plot element from this years cult hit “The Raid: Redemption”, cops go into a building and venture up to the tippy-top to stop the barbaric crime lord. While “The Raid” is more of internally personal story, “Dredd” takes its approach as a force to be reckoned with. Dredd doesn’t stop, he continues on and on making it his civic duty to serve his final judgment, if it kills him, he’ll try to accomplish it.

The movies true testament comes from its visual standpoint. “Dredd 3D” has some of the best cinematography in action movie this year, period. It’s the first time where I can honestly say that I’ve never thought I would see graphic violence look so gosh darn beautiful. When certain characters are under the influence of ‘Slow-Mo’, the filmmakers do not hesitate to take advantage of the actual high-speed photography, and in 3D you couldn’t ask for anything better. I’m not a 3D person, but I’ll admit it, “Dredd 3D” was the BEST 3D experience at the movies I’ve ever had, better than “Avatar”!

Karl Urban nails it as Dredd, he never once broke character, and he always kept the helmet on. Dredd NEVER took his helmet off, and for Stallone to do so in his version was in my opinion a middle finger to the fans. Urban’s performance has a heavy mocho-grit to it and he isn’t afraid to strike fear into those who reprise fear onto innocent others. “Dredd 3D” is a fantastic ultra-violent action epic, and it’s something I highly highly recommend you see. It’s a real shame that the movie bombed at the box office, I really wish people gave the movie a chance, one shitty Stallone picture should not taint a popular franchise.

3D GRADE: A

MOVIE GRADE: B+

OVERALL GRADE: A-

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