By Demitri Levantis

It’s very rare that I ever believe the taglines or hype on movie posters outside of the cinema. But when I noticed there was going to be a new Judge Dredd film I was understandably sceptical until I saw the phrase: “No Stallone Here!” beneath the title on the poster at my particular picture house.

That’s right. Director Pete Travis and Judge Dredd creator John Wagner have ensnared something very rare from the savage wilderness of the science fiction film world: a good remake!

Lord of the Rings’s, Karl Urban, suits up as the feared law enforcement officer of the future – hell bent on enforcing the law by any means necessary. The story (more true to the comic books than the 1995 drivel), tells of Dredd’s mission to hunt down and capture, Mama, a drug lord who controls the grey tower blocks of Mega-City-One; the New York City of Dredd’s dystopian America.dredd-movie-image-karl-urban-02

Saddled in at Dredd’s side stars Juno’s Olivia Thirlby as the psychic powered Cassandra Anderson. A rookie Judge ready to take on the mob rule of the future. Together, Dredd and Anderson engage in a bitter fight to the death through the claustrophobic corridors and alleyways of Peach Trees Towers, the setting of the entire film’s one-day premise.

Speaking as a reader of the Judge Dredd comics (2000 AD) I can safely say, this is a graphic novel film like no other. Unlike it’s contemporaries (The Avengers, The Dark Knight Rises, The Amazing Spiderman), this is a graphic novel film with balls. Of all the ways to tell a story about a hero who represents a totalitarian life by the gun – the bloodiest method has definitely been employed.

Dredd stands for me as a fine character study exploring how a hero with no emotions would function and take on moral duties when others are in mortal peril. And as far as I’m aware, it’s the only film in the past few years that has used slow-motion and 3D adaptations to tie in with the importance of the drug and gore fuelled storyline.

The film is now available on DVD and comes equipped with special features of the history of the Judge Dredd and of the dystopian world of Mega-City-One. Hours of deleted scenes and interviews with cast and crew are also available; plus a free comic book style prequel to the film’s story.

Comic book heroes have been in the norm of the film world for the last few years and here we have the only one of their ilk to come baring a very large 18 certificate. Expect a thrill ride of much violence, death and militant hype to accompany you on this perilous journey into the future of an annihilated American society.

Rating: 5/5

About The Author