I really enjoyed this film, it’s exactly what you want from a Judge Dredd film : straightforward, uncompromising and violent. All words you can also use to describe the titular hero himself. Dredd (Karl Urban) is at a murder investigation in Peach Trees (a 200 storey slum tower block within Mega-City One) along with female psychic and rookie Cassandra Anderson (Olivia Thirlby). It’s not long before they find themselves sealed up in Peach Trees behind bomb-proof doors, with 99% of the inhabitants baying for their blood..
The script is written by Alex Garland (The Beach and 28 Days Later) and the scenario – almost all of the film is set within the same tower block – is refreshing and never boring. The inclusion of rookie Anderson and her psychic ability adds an extra dimension to the film – as well as emotional elements she adds uncertainty and vulnerability to the film. Something which would be lacking if it was just Dredd by himself.
It’s believable within it’s own universe but you do feel there are a couple of ‘fudges’. The drug slo-mo, which slows down human perceptions seems to have been chosen just so the director can make use of ‘beautiful’ slow motion segments in which people are shown falling to their deaths or being shot in the chest with flesh shown rippling out in concentric circles from the point of impact. Still it’s a nice effect, it’s not overused and it combines with the audio to create moments of almost dream-like contemplation. There are also a couple of occasions which seem over engineered such as when Dredd eventually faces off with the villan of the piece – the drug lord Ma Ma – and finds she has a bizarrely over-complicated booby trap rigged up, something which ultimately does her no good at all.
Overall though a very enjoyable film, if you like Judge Dredd in comic form you will enjoy this (as long as you aren’t one of those really anal fans, in which case you will probably spend the entire film feeling enraged about the slightly-different-from-the-comics belt buckle design worn by Dredd). A very good film and much better than Stallone’s Dredd too! 8/10