I had a free Friday night as everyone had gone to bed, and I had to work on uploading vacation photos from our recent trip to Cancún. I wanted something to watch while I worked (gotta love the benefits of having a 2nd monitor) so I picked out Dredd (2012). This is the Karl Urban film trying to wipe out the memory (and stink) of that 1995 Sylvester Stallone mess Judge Dredd (1995). You know the one I’m talking about — the one with Armand Assante as the villain and Rob Schneider as the guy responsible for spouting comedic gold.
Enough about that Stallone mess. I had been interested in watching the 2012 film in the theaters, but it never worked out logistically. Better late than never. The film stars Karl Urban as Judge Dredd, your friendly neighborhood future Mega City 1 police, judge, jury, and executioner. If you don’t know the back story, lemme learn ya somethin’. The source material is based on a UK comic book storyline that originated in the 1970s. In the future, much of the planet is irradiated, and most of humanity survives in large cities (“Megacities”) that encompass entire geographic regions. For example, Megacity 1 encompasses what we know as the US state of Maine all the way south to Pennsylvania or so. The uninhabited areas between the urban cities is referred to as “The Cursed Earth.” Pretty dramatic, no? Remember, it was the 1970s at the time. Here in the future, the judge corp is responsible for maintaining order and dispensing justice in such a large area filled with people living in large urban buildings that are 200 stories high and like mini cities of their own.
In this film, Karl Urban as Judge Dredd is still the fearsome and infamous Judge Dredd of Megacity 1. Today, he has the assignment of assessing a rookie judge named Anderson, played by Olivia Thirlby. She is a mutant with some ESP abilities, such as mind reading. I liked her character. Our two judges get trapped in the Peachtrees building, which is now entirely run by drug lord Ma-Ma, played by Lena Headey. Yes, a female villain, with no smarty pants quips. Just a genuinely powerful female villain. I liked the novelty of that play straight without satire or comedy.
So that’s basically the plot of the story. Dredd and Anderson are trapped within this sealed off building, with Ma-Ma’s entire crew attempting to take them dead or alive. But frankly, if they take you alive, you’d rather be dead. Good film, but very violent though. It felt a little short though at 95 mins, but I don’t think every film produced needs to be over two hours long. I don’t know if this film was quite worth the $12 to see it in the theater, but it is definitely worth seeing at home on the big screen if you have the appropriate setup.