It shows just how hell-bound society is when every movie depicting the future shows overly populated, dilapidated, crime-ridden cities that, unfortunately, don’t seem too far removed from some of today’s areas. Our dystopian future is once again shown in the same light (darkness?) in the second film based on the comic book character, Judge Dredd. Dredd’s a bad-ass cop that has the power to jury, judge and execute criminals in the name of justice.
The film’s premise is very simple. On a day that Dredd is training rookie cop Anderson (Olivia Thirlby), a young woman who has the power of telepathy, they are locked inside a giant building during a routine murder investigation. The building is run by Ma-ma (Lena Headey from Game of Thrones), a ruthless criminal who is manufacturing a new drug called Slo-Mo, which, true to its name, makes you feel as though time is moving at a fraction of normal speed. Gun fire ensues.
Those that remember Sylvester Stallone’s 1995 failure will be pleased to see a more straight-forward shoot-’em-up action flick with this adaptation. If you caught last year’s Indonesian action flick The Raid, then the plot here is going to feel like a déjà vu – albeit not as jaw-droppingly impressive. What we have here is essentially one giant shoot out with a tiny bit of character development and a whole lot of people getting killed. Director Pete Travis (Vantage Point) directs the action well. There isn’t a shred of subtlety or great dialogue to be found amongst the scattered corpses… but this isn’t the kind of film you’d expect to find any. It’s an unashamedly graphic action movie that will definitely keep its target audience happy.
A problem with the film is that the action, while being well staged and well filmed, gets a little stale once the first handful of set pieces have played out. After a while, the lack of originality becomes a bit of an issue. How many different ways can you see someone get shot? This film tries hard to find out.
Repetition aside, there is fun to be had here. Karl Urban is good as Dredd and Lena Headey embraces her character’s king bitch persona with gusto. The scenes depicting what it’s like to be on Slo-Mo are undeniably effective, and the 3D – if you so happened to catch it like that – works well with the over-the-top action on display. Switch your brain off and embrace some good ol’ fashioned goon slaughtering. Just don’t expect much else.