Tag Archives: Judge Dredd

“Dredd” movie review

If it’s September, that must mean that we’re due a 3D action movie or two to lead us gently into the more reflective Autumn season and transition gently from the explosive mayhem of the summer – whilst I wait for the next instalment in the Capcom derived video game-to-movie franchise which dare not speak its name at the end of the month, these early weeks are taken care of by “Dredd“, director Pete Travis and writer Alex Garland‘s attempt to give this iconic comics anti-hero a film worthy of his stature.

He is the law.

And what a film it is – lean, hungry, mind-bogglingly violent, stylish and thrifty, “Dredd” is the kind of sci-fi western that you feel as much as watch, with brutal action sequences and melee combat having a positively visceral effect when viewed in the 3D format that this film is primarily releasing in (there’s controversy in the UK about how few cinemas are playing the 2D prints – only one of Britain’s Multiplex chains are showing it).  Any worries that we might have had about whether this film would be as disappointing as the 1995 Sylvester Stallone/Danny Cannon iteration are comprehensively erased by what is a confident, stylish action movie which makes a virtue of a lower budget and creates a uniquely convincing world.

Not having $200 million dollars to throw at expensive CG and gargantuan action sequences has made this version of “Judge Dredd” get creative and construct its post-apocalyptic world in modern-day Cape Town.  There are the huge city blocks of the comic, but they’re nestled in against a resolutely practical and contemporary backdrop  – highways and overpasses, contemporary vehicles and clothing all stop this film from distancing the casual viewer.

Don’t let her inside your head! Olivia Thirlby as rookie Judge Anderson in “Dredd”

The plot is as straight-ahead as it gets – a gang-related murder in the Peach Trees block is attended by taciturn law man legend Judge Dredd (Karl Urban) and ride-along rookie Judge Anderson (Olivia Thirlby), pitching them head-first into conflict with hooker-turned-syndicate crime maven Ma Ma (Lena Headey), whose drug empire is run from the building and whose army of heavily armed thugs are intent on stopping legal interference in whatever form it takes.

That simplicity, in essence, is one of the best things about this film – The plot single-mindedly concentrates on propelling the action forward and the script focusses on making the world convincing rather than in beating the viewer around the head with distracting gadgets and surface detail to hide the fact that there isn’t much of a story.  This film doesn’t reinvent sci-fi cinema as you know it, but it does a brilliant job of making this post-apocalypse world seem like a postcard from the future – the tech is all backdrop rather than foreground, showing up periodically to let Dredd do something cool and doesn’t draw undue attention to itself.

Urban is great as the titular bad-ass, finding a way to make the character funny without getting mired in cheap one-liner schtick and showing some holes in the metaphorical armour that his otherwise imperious icon of justice wears – a Dredd who bleeds and occasionally needs to think on his feet to get through the hellish multi-level fight through the under-siege building he finds himself occupying is infinitely preferable to the one-man killing-and-quipping machine that the Stallone version gave us.  Olivia Thirlby is great too as Anderson – there’s a fantastic scene which gives her psychic gifts ample room to roam and we get to see how she would interrogate and intimidate a perp into silence – it’s telling that a scene where a bad guy gets the upper hand on her doesn’t convince entirely as being anything other than a plot contrivance as up till that point in the movie, her neophyte Judge has shown that she has the right stuff and wouldn’t necessarily get suckered in the way that she was.

The 3D is a selling point, but I found it restrained for the most part – used sympathetically to inhabit the scenes where futuristic crankers are on the ‘Slo-Mo’ drug which slows down time for the user but not employed to constantly chuck sharp objects at the viewer or as a way to distract viewers from creaky storytelling.  There’s a climactic scene which employs the broken glass trope of action cinema in a curiously beautiful and aesthetically pleasing way – is it worth the price hike?  I’m not sure, but it is native 3D rather than post-converted shenanigans, so let that guide your ticket-buying choice.

This is a fine, stripped-down action movie with an intriguing take on the iconic character and the future-shock world he inhabits – I hope that it leads to more adventures for the 2000 AD law man and that all concerned behind the camera find a way to retain the tactile near-future dystopia they’ve delivered so credibly in this very entertaining film.

Advertisements

3 Comments

Filed under Films, Geekery

New “Dredd 3D” clip busts perps, ripples flesh…

You’ve watched the trailer and can now see a brief clip from the new Dredd 3D” on the film’s official site.

Image

Any fears we may have had that the makers of the film were watering down the content to appeal to a mainstream, PG-13 audience has just been well and truly slammed int0 an ISO-Cube for seven years, I think we can conclusively say.  The Cannon/Stallone “Dredd” this most certainly isn’t – Empire’s review from the 2012 Comic-Con screening indicates that “Dredd 3D” is very much its own take on the source comics material, for good or ill (Karl Urban‘s great, the low-budget is noticeable, it’s all quite similar to “The Raid”) but the tone is generally complementary.

Image

So much gore!  It’s like director Pete Travis and writer Alex Garland have mainlined a bunch of Paul Verhoeven‘s eighties films, drawn from “2000AD” as though it were the sacred text that some would say it is and then gone to town to deliver the kind of old-school sci-fi actioner that many a fan will yearn for from this film.

I’m almost aggrieved that I have to wait until September to see this – it looks so good!

2 Comments

Filed under Blogs, Films, Geekery, Movie Trailer

Wrath of the Titians

If you’ve been blogging for a while and take a look at how people searching online reach your site, you will no doubt have more than your fair share of ‘They searched for THAT and found me?’ results in your blog’s dashboard area.

Image

Hence this post, inspired by some optimistic fellow seeking “Rosamund Pike Wrath of the Titians”.  Conjures an interesting picture doesn’t it?  They were, of course, seeking Rosamund in this Spring’s sequel “Wrath of the Titans“, but they did at least have a fighting chance of reaching my blog or finding a lovely image of the charming Ms Pike in her most recent film role.

As interesting are the bonkers results – “Sandra Bullock in Judge Dredd” comes to mind.  Clearly somebody conflating Sandy Bullock in the Stallone vehicle Demolition Man with the not exactly dissimilar Diane Lane in the 1995 Stallone “Judge Dredd” and perhaps telling us a little more than Stallone might want to know about how unique and memorable some of his back catalogue is to the casual viewer?

Regularly top of my stats?

Image

I get a 100 to 200 searches every week for the Fantastic Four, who I’ve only posted about once, in relation to the putative Josh Trank reboot of the franchise that Twentieth Century Fox are quite eager to get underway.  I’m not running a web hub for the perpetually bickering, Doctor Doom-thwarting Marvel superheroes, I don’t post regularly about them, but who can refuse that level of traffic?

Or is it just lusty Jessica Alba fanboys skewing things?  Who can say?

My favourite, utterly barking search result?  This one.

I know, right?  Somebody thought of that and ended up clicking through to me, I assume for my sterling coverage of Tom Hiddleston and Benedict Cumberbatch‘s careers.  Or they’re just into tall dudes.  Takes all kinds of folks, I guess…

3 Comments

Filed under Blogs, Films, Geekery

New “Dredd” poster is…moody?

Dredd teaser poster via JoBlo.com

Let’s see, it’s June 9th and we’ve still only seen tiny glimpses at the Karl Urban fronted “Judge Dredd” reboot – the mono-titular “Dredd” – which opens in September.  So, not too far away at all, then?

I confess to being…slightly bemused.

See, most action flicks are in the business of setting out their proverbial stall early, so that you get a good idea of what you’re going to get well ahead of time (Gods forbid that we go and see a film nowadays and not have every aspect of the plot spoiled months in advance by trailers and TV spots which can’t help but tell you everything that happens…).  And, so far, we’ve seen precisely two-to-three seconds of actual “Dredd” footage via grainy GIF files on nerdy forums.

“You leaked set pics? The sentence is insta-death!, creep!”

If you’re presenting a reboot of a character somewhat ill-served by the first pass at realising him on-screen wouldn’t it make sense to try to get a groundswell of opinion and chatter about the film going by showing some moving images to interested fan folk?   Whilst we can’t trust the internet to be responsible for getting butts in seats as some recent genre pics have seemingly tried to, getting the audience most likely to show up on opening weekend excited about your product would seem like a good idea?

Nope, nothing even remotely high camp about that costume. Not a hint.

Especially if you want erode the still-extant ill-feeling felt by 2000 AD fans towards 1995’s not wholly successful, Sylvester Stallone vehicle.  Sure, you can promise R-ratings, headshots aplenty and the deal breaker that Dredd’s iconic helmet is staying put throughout until the Mega City One cows come home to their Farm Block.

If we haven’t seen a trailer for “Dredd” by the time that “The Dark Knight Rises” opens on July 20th, I’m going to be one rather concerned nerd…

Related articles:

2 Comments

Filed under Films, Geekery

Not Dredd-ful…

Yes, I went there.  Here be terrible puns.

Image

“Which one of you perps said Stallone was better?”

John Wagner, co-creator of Mega-City One’s least socially progressive plod Judge Dredd has seen the new Pete Travis directed film and pronounced it good.  Or not ‘Drokk!’, at least.  Which is nice.

This may go some way towards offsetting some of the bad early buzz about directorial lock-outs from the edit room, behind-the-scenes wrangling, fan worries about early set pictures and that jazz – it would be nice to think that an independently financed production like this could realise this iconic Brit sci-fi anti-hero properly and launch a series of   delightfully dystopian adventures which might get this character some of the attention he deserves.

At least it’s got a year or so head start on the Robocop reboot, which can only be good news for fans of futuristic bad-asses dispensing ironic summary justice.

3 Comments

Filed under Films, Geekery

October Thrashing Mad

In a move which can only confirm their reputation as the nicest Thrash-inspired UK outfit on the block, Yorkshire’s own Evile have confirmed a UK tour for October 2012, with a Sheffield show scheduled in positively indecent proximity to my birthday.  You might say utter coincidence – I’d like to think otherwise, obviously…

Evile lead guitarist Ol Drake

Ol Drake of Evile – fast fingers flying ferociously, don’t you know?

Nonetheless, what absolute legends.

If you’re unfamiliar with Evile – I can see that you might be – let’s do our best to remedy that by directing you to the video for their delightful track “Thrasher”.  Isn’t that just the most face-meltingly quick and bracing slice of Thrashy Metal goodness that you’ve heard all day?  It’s like the mid-eighties never went away and Metallica never made a duff record.  Ahem…

Like an oddly metallic, quite heavy comfort blanket – Evile!

It’s a weird thing to feel oddly comforted by music which is, on the face of it, quite abrasive and the proverbial middle-finger to provincial notions of safety and familiarity but Thrash/Neo-Thrash/Thrash Revival stuff is still as vital and exciting (and quite absurdly soothing) to me as it was back in the eighties when Slayer had dodgy mullets and the mighty Anthrax (always my favourite of the Big Four) were penning glorious odes to Judge Dredd.

I never quite got into Black Metal – the Cookie Monster vocals have been something of a sticking point for me – so Thrash is probably as musically extreme as I go.  Punky energy and occasionally politicised lyrics with the aural comfort blanket of 900 MPH guitar solos and Metal double-bass drums – what’s not to like?

To convince you further as to Evile’s status as princes amongst men and women, have a gander at guitarist Ol Drake fearlessly mashing up Judas Priest and Lady Gaga on YouTube with a version of “Born This Way”.  I’m sure that Mother Monster would approve…

2 Comments

Filed under Music

Dredd & Anderson - cheery servants of future justice

In a move which is calculated to cheer up/terminally depress the “2000AD”/Judge Dredd fan in your life, new stills have been emerging from the Pete Travis-directed “Dredd” movie, scheduled for a September 2012 release.

More images at 2000AD’s blog – slightly NSFW as one of them features Anderson shooting some dude’s brains out.  Charming.  And I thought she was the civilised one…

Whether the grittier images shown thus far will do much to convince the Dredd hardcore about the validity of this new film is anybody’s guess – I suspect that nothing, shy of the technology becoming available to allow us to each make our own pet projects on a computer, will please some folks.

I didn’t love “Dredd” director Pete Travis’ previous film, “Vantage Point”, but he did at least demonstrate with that conspiracy thriller that he was handy with on-screen action and pacing, if not with making that thriller’s ponderous, “Groundhog Day”-style, time and perspective schtick anything less than criminally annoying.

It’s in 3D – as is The Law, nowadays – and surely should be due a trailer any day now.

Leave a comment

02/07/2012 · 4:30 pm