Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Dukes See a Movie: Dredd 3D

"I am the law." Never has there been a one line tag line that has encompassed the feel of an entire movie better that this one does. Dredd takes place in a future in which the world has been devastated by nuclear war and the country is a wasteland. The entire American population of 800 million is living inside a mega city that stretches from Boston to Washington DC (aptly named Mega City 1). The skyline is dominated by super skyscrapers, hundreds of stories high that are surrounding by the crumbling ruins of the old cities.

It is in this city that we find Judge Dredd. He works for the Hall of Justice as, you guessed it, a judge. It this cramped society, crime was running rampant and the old judicial system did not have the ability to keep order. So as a solution they streamlined the entire process. Now, the men and women of the Hall of Justice act as police, judge, jury and, if the judgment demands it, executioner. In this society Dredd is in fact "the law", and if I were in his shoes I would like saying it as well.

Yeah you are!
This movie is another in a long line of comic book adaptations and movie remakes. The character got his start in the late seventies in Great Britain in a serial called 2000 AD. He has been a super popular character for years over there and has had some struggles crossing over here. A major issue was with the 1995 film adaptation, Judge Dredd with Sylvester Stallone. It was a terrible movie, but to be completely honest if it is late at night and I see it on demand I will watch it and I will enjoy it, nothing will ever change that.

Many fans of the comic were upset by the movie because they took away the best parts of the character and decided to add some random character development. In the comics you never see Dredd's face. It was started as an unofficial guideline, but ended up being put down as an official rule for the artists to follow. The creator John Wagner explained it this way. "It sums up the facelessness of justice- justice has no soul. So it isn't necessary to see Dredd's face, and I don't want you to."  The first movie failed in that regard a ton. You see Stallone's face all over the place. If you really want an example I can show you a picture. I am warning you it isn't pretty.

Well if you are sure...

He had this look on his face the entire time.
The best part is that he wore blue contacts for the role when in the comics they don't even know the color of his eyes so his normal brown eyes would have been just fine. Silly Hollywood. I guess enough time (17 years seems like enough) had passed and the powers that be felt a remake would be a good thing, and I find myself agreeing with them.

In this version the titular character is played by Karl Urban. You might remember him from his role in RED or his role as Bones in the new Star Trek movie. His chiseled jaw and even stubble made him a great person for a role that would require him to cover everything but his mouth and chin.

As the movie starts Dredd is tasked with taking a new recruit out into the field for a final exam. The recruit is a young mutant psychic. They are out on a normal case when it takes a turn towards mayhem. The building defenses go up and the two judges are forced to fight their way up the building. For those of you that say it is just like The Raid you are wrong and should feel bad for being wrong.

See even Zoidberg agrees with me.

For having a fairly limited budget by today's standards I thought they did a good job with the special effects. The movie uses the popular time slow down technique, but they actually come up with a reason as to why it is being used. Having that logic in there made me happy. Urban does a great job being the stalwart no-nonsense judge. He doesn't convey many emotions because he isn't conflicted by who he is and what he is doing. If you have nothing against violent images and you want to see a good shoot 'em up movie I would recommend this one. Also I would like to leave you with this message.

Rating: 4 stars

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