TIFF12: My Thoughts on Dredd 3D

Back in 1995, there was an adaptation of the Judge Dredd comics that starred Sylvester Stallone and audiences generally frowned upon Stallone’s interpretation of the character, namely in the way he quickly got rid of Dredd’s trademark helmet.  Well, it’s 17 years later and a new reboot has surfaced, which was reportedly supposed to be closer to the source material.  It’s also the film that was chosen to open this year’s Midnight Madness programme.

In this new film, Dredd (Karl Urban) is assigned by his superiors to perform an assessment on a rookie Judge named Anderson (Olivia Thirlby), who has psychic abilities.  The training mission brings them to an apartments block, which is under the rule of a drug lord named Ma-Ma (Lena Headey).  To prevent them from leaving with a prisoner, Ma-Ma locks down the building and the two Judges have to fight their way up to the top.  This plot actually seems very similar to last year’s Midnight Madness opener The Raid, though I think it’s probably just a coincidence.

This is a very gritty and violent film.  Judge Dredd has many unique ways of killing people and they are often accompanied by a humourous one-liner.  Despite these one-liners, Urban as being completely emotionless and straight-faced.  In fact, he plays the role so straight, that it is almost humourous in its own right.  All the emotion is saved for Olivia Thirlby as Judge Anderson, who has to come to terms with the tough decisions Judges have to make, specifically in the fact that they often kill criminals with extreme prejudice.

I thought that the 3D for the film was actually quite decent.  A lot of the best 3D effect happen when characters use this drug called Slo Mo, which literally slows down the action around them.  One of the goriest 3D action sequences, involves slow moving blood flying out of the screen.

Overall, I thought that Dredd 3D was an enjoyable sci-fi action film that is definitely much better than the previous Judge Dredd film from 1995.  At least Karl Urban had the sensibility to keep Dredd’s helmet on the entire film.

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Sean Kelly Author

Sean Patrick Kelly is a self-described über-geek, who has been an avid film lover for all his life. He graduated from York University in 2010 with an honours B.A. in Cinema and Media Studies and he likes to believe he knows what he’s talking about when he writes about film (despite occasionally going on pointless rants).