With Karl Urban, Olivia Thirlby, Lena Headey, Warrick Greer, Rakie Ayola, Jason Cope, Joe Vaz
Written by Alex Garland (based on characters created by John Wagner & Carlos Ezquerra)
Mega City 1 is an over crowded desolated future dystopia with gigantic slum high rise apartment buildings breeding crime like rats. Judges are hardcore distributors of the law, which allows them to take care of a crime on the spot, even if it means execution for murder. (The debate on the unchecked, fascist degree of such a law system can be debated, but we'll concentrate on the entertainment factor of the movie here, not its politics)
Dredd is a particularly tough and notorious judge, and has to test-drive Anderson, a female rookie judge who didn't make the grade, but has exceptional psychic abilities (a mutant result which usually affects people with physical mutations). While out on patrol, a gang related murder has them investigating one of these high-risers. The drug Slow-Mo has infested many of these buildings, and this happens to be the head quarters where its tough female kingpin of this drug, Ma-Ma is bunkered. On capturing one of the culprits (and not enough evidence to execute him on the spot), he has to be taken in. But Ma-Ma wants to ensure he keeps his mouth shut, so the entire building gets locked down to corner and kill Dredd and Anderson. The result is an intense stand-off with some amazingly violent and effective, slick scenes. The extreme slow-motion and 3D camera technology paired with the Slo-Mo drug (that slows down its user's perception) result in some incredible sequences, like a bullet ripping through a perpetrators' cheeks one frame at a time(!)
As in current situations, the majority of the people in the building are not criminals, but are muscled into silence and compliance by the ruthless criminals. Amid innocents, scum and those in between, Dredd and Anderson fight their way through, an inevitable clash with Ma-Ma imminent. Dredd's hard-line by-the-book attitude and Anderson's more human and compassionate side clash while they fight for survival, leaving viewers on the edge of their seats.
The movie was shot in Cape Town, so naturally recognition of familiar places and faces sometimes takes away some of the disbelief suspension for city natives or those familiar with it, but not enough to rob the viewer of hell of a blast.
PS. The debate on whether Judge Dredd can remove his helmet or not may seem like a small thing... but as Stallone found out how the fans felt about it in his version, you'll have to wait and see what the outcome here will be, by going to watch the movie.
Click here for an exclusive interview with Dredd star Karl Urban
5 - Blistering
4 - Hot
3 - Smolder
2 - Room Temperature
1 - Fizzled
0 - Extinguished
A: Multi-Viewing Potential