Friday, 14 September 2012

Film Review: Dredd (2012)

Director: Pete Travis
Writer: Alex Garland
Stars: Karl Urban, Olivia Thirlby and Lena Headey

Anyone who thought the 1995 Sylvester Stallone big screen version of Judge Dredd was bad need to thank all that’s holy that they may never see this new incarnation. I would make a pun and say it’s Dredd-ful, but the truth is it’s utter trash from quite literally the first frame to the last.

From the first time we see the shockingly poor post-production 3D this film was losing my interest; by the time the opening action sequence had reached its needless bloody conclusion, I new exactly where this film was heading; by the time the film was 30 minutes old, I had made up my mind this was a stinker. However, by the film’s conclusion I had decided that it had not one single redeeming feature. It’s a rare quality in a film, but somehow Dredd managed to do it.

The film tries achingly hard to be tough by filling the screen with blood and the dialogue with F-bombs but it just comes across as nasty and grim and wholly unenjoyable. How anyone can find entertainment in an action movie or comic book movie that revels and delights in showing almost pornographic bloodlust is beyond me. I’m all for on screen violence and destruction, but only when it’s done well and not presented just for the sake of showing something gross. It’s an example of modern cinema at its very worst.

Aside from the tastelessness of it all, the story is plain boring and is a complete cop out in comparison to what a story of Judge Dredd could have been. We see very little of Mega City One, instead the action takes place in a block of flats that could have been set on a council estate in Stoke rather than the futuristic world of the comic books. The action scenes are woefully uninspired and painfully unoriginal to the point that anyone who cares must never have seen a film before in their life. Moreover, anyone who saw The Raid will get a terrible sense of déjà vu as the story is almost identical to that far superior film.

Bear in mind this film features a drug called Slo-Mo which give the director a reason to, you guessed it, slow the film down to about two frames per second in an attempt to look ‘cool’ over and over again. It’s really amateur stuff and executed as badly as I’ve seen at the cinema.

Many people hated that Dredd took off his helmet in the Stallone film (and rightly so) but in this new film the character is, if anything, explored even less. He has absolutely zero characteristics to set him apart from any other touch guy with a gun and because of that this film is a total failure where the Stallone film wasn’t. At least the 1995 film tried to have some fun and give the audience something to enjoy with some decent set design, costumes, practical effects, and showing off the Lawgiver to its full effect. This new version is too obsessed with blood and guts to even give the title character a chance to shine.

There is nothing to recommend in the entire 95 minute running time and the fact that it’s the worst 3D I have had the misery of sitting through just made the whole ordeal even worse. I could go on about the framing and the object in the foreground but I just want to put this attack on my sensibility behind me.

1 comment:

  1. There’s an awesome-looking style to it that makes the action kick that much more ass, but in terms of action, I felt like they were missing something. Still, it’s a whole lot of fun. Nice review.