Known and feared throughout the city, Dredd (Karl Urban) is the ultimate Judge, challenged with ridding the city of its latest scourge - a dangerous drug epidemic that has users of "Slo-Mo" experiencing reality at a fraction of its normal speed.from£2.90 | RRP:
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Please note this is a region 2 DVD and will require a region 2 or region free DVD player in order to play The future America is an irradiated waste land On its East Coast running from Boston to Washington DC lies Mega City One--a vast violent metropolis where criminals rule the chaotic streets The only force of order lies with the urban cops called “Judges” who possess the combined powers of judge jury and instant executioner Known and feared throughout the city Dredd (Karl Urban The Lord of the Rings Star Trek) is the ultimate Judge challenged with ridding the city of its latest scourge--a dangerous drug epidemic that has users of “Slo-Mo” experiencing reality at a fraction of its normal speed During a routine day on the job Dredd is assigned to train and evaluate Cassandra Anderson (Olivia Thirlby Juno) a rookie with powerful psychic abilities thanks to a genetic mutation A heinous crime calls them to a neighbourhood where fellow Judges rarely dare to venture--a 200 story vertical slum controlled by prostitute turned drug lord Ma-Ma (Lena Headey Game of Thrones 300) and her ruthless clan When they capture one of the clan’s inner circle Ma-Ma overtakes the compound’s control centre and wages a dirty vicious war against the Judges that proves she will stop at nothing to protect her empire With the body count climbing and no way out Dredd and Anderson must confront the odds and engage in the relentless battle for their survival
Karl Urban stars in this sci-fi action thriller based on the 2000 AD comic series. In a desolate post-atomic world, the remaining humans live in police-controlled 'Mega Cities'. In Mega City One, Judge Dredd (Urban) is the most feared of an elite group of law enforcement officers who hold the power to sentence offenders and, if necessary, execute them on the spot. Dredd's latest adversary is Ma-Ma (Lena Headey), the matriarch of a drugs gang that has been selling a reality-altering substance known as SLO-MO. With the help of a young trainee (Olivia Thirlby), Dredd must bring his merciless brand of justice to some of the city's most dangerous districts.
Average Rating for Dredd - 5 out of 5
(based on 1 user reviews)
Dredd is the best B-movie you'll ever see.
I mean that as a compliment: whilst Hollywood has been inundated with comic-book movies of late, so many of them take themselves so seriously that they risk disappearing up their own cape. Dredd, on the other hand, embraces the excesses of its source material, channelling the brutal violence and exaggerated visuals of the original 2000AD comic strip "Judge Dredd" into a tight, exciting action-fest that's also surprisingly involving (especially given that all you ever get to see of the main character is his scowling chin).
From the start, it's clear that this isn't going to be the kind of comicbook movie where an emotionally-conflicted pretty-boy superhero is called upon to save the world. Instead - as the bloody and disorienting opening car-chase sequence makes clear - Judge Dredd is an uncompromising, hard-edged and ruthless authority figure who lets nothing stand in the way of doling out punishment to the criminals that deserve it. And far from saving the world, he's just trying to impose order on a small part of it.
All of these qualities are summarised briskly in the opening minutes of the film, which establishes the wider world of Dredd quickly and efficiently. This includes a worrying vision of a future police-state run by gun-toting "Judges", set against the backdrop of a giant sprawling metropolis called Mega-City One (which matches my many-years-old memories of the original 2000AD version pretty well).
However, no sooner than we've been introduced to these elements, the film bravely pares everything down to a very simple concept: Judge Dredd and his psychic sidekick - the rookie Judge Anderson in her first day on the job - manage to get themselves locked in a giant apartment block filled with criminals who are out for their blood, and they have fight their way to the top to survive.
If this concept sounds a little like another well-known recent action-movie (The Raid), then this can be chalked up to coincidence - and in any case, there's enough that's unique about Dredd to distinguish it from its rivals.
For one thing, there's the cast. Karl Urban's Dredd is a pitch-perfect take on the character, a cold-blooded dispenser of justice who carries himself with a grim seriousness that's dryly amusing, without ever pushing things so far that it feels like a parody. It's a world away from the campness of the old Sylvester Stallone version, and (unlike Stallone) Urban isn't afraid to keep his face concealed under his judge's mask for the entire movie, maintaining the enigmatic and slightly inhuman qualities of the character. It's even more impressive, then, that through limited facial expression and body language alone, he's able to turn in such a memorable and distinctive performance. I'd even go so far as to compare his Dredd to classic sci-fi characters like the Terminator, as he manages to capture that same unstoppable and inhuman quality that Schwarzenegger did.
Supporting players also turn in good performances: the character of Judge Anderson is leant a huge amount of humanity and heart by Olivia Thirlby, who strikes just the right balance between vulnerability and hard-assed-ness. The main villain of the piece, gang leader and drugs baron Ma-Ma, is played by Lena Headey (who you might recognise as Sarah Connor from the Terminator TV show), sporting a disfiguring scar that only adds to the sense of menace and danger that's already present in her intense performance. And henchman Kay (played by Wood Harris, who also portrayed Avon Barksdale in The Wire) manages to seem threatening yet also slightly inept, allowing him to veer between being a figure of fun and a genuine problem for Dredd and Anderson to overcome.
Yet for all the great performances, solid writing and impressive special effects (in particular, the movie is occasionally punctuated by unexpected moments of extreme-slow-motion beauty, courtesy of a plot device involving a drug that makes you perceive time as passing at a different speed), the movie remains commendably committed to a very simple, straightforward structure: Dredd and Anderson rising through the floors of the apartment block, bumping off bad guys, and getting closer and closer to the villain who's pulling all the strings.
This allows the movie to maintain a constant sense of jeopardy and momentum (even when Dredd and Anderson are able to catch a breath, there's really nowhere for them to safely hid) whilst also introducing enough variety - in terms of the villains, allies and weapons that the judges encounter - to stop the film from feeling repetitive or stagnant. By the time it reaches its explosive climax, you'll wonder where the time went, as its (already reasonably short) 95-minute running time passes incredibly quickly: a sure sign that you're being wholeheartedly entertained.
And that, ultimately, is where Dredd excels: as a piece of entertainment. Sure, it's not going to win any Oscars, and it's not backed by an A-list star or director, but isn't there room in the movie industry for an unpretentious and satisfying slice of resolutely adult-oriented action-based Friday-night fun? Dredd convincingly makes the case that there is. And don't argue with him: after all, he is the law.
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