A franchise rebooted? Not quite . . .
What We Liked:
- The movie gets Dredd right. The character never removes his helmet (just like in the comics) and is a grade-A badass. There are no “funny” sidekicks. Why, this reboot washes away the sour taste left behind by the crappy 1995 flick starring Sylvester Stallone with some strong medicine . . .
- . . . perhaps too strong medicine. The new Dredd is violent, very violent. Perhaps too violent. My wife, who loves the character but can’t stand violence that much, gave up on the movie within ten minutes. Be warned.
- The judges are portrayed pretty uncompromisingly unlike the Stallone flick which tried to tone down the whole Fascist Police State thing. Here the so-called judges are policemen, judges, juries AND executioners all rolled into one. In one scene it also explains why this is a bad idea. Yup, corrupt judges.
- Critics complained about the movie being too similar to the recent The Raid: Redemption movie. It didn’t bother us too much to be honest. 2000AD had Dredd raiding mega-blocks since before Raid director Gareth Evans was a juvie!
- Great soundtrack music. Really gets the pulse going.
- We like the costume redesign. Less camp and more practical than the Stallone ones.
- Karl Urban is a great Joe Dredd. He really, um, makes his five o’clock shadow chin work for him. Seriously.
- Special effects are pretty decent for a low-ish budget movie like this. (It was shot in Cape Town to save on costs – the South African film industry has come quite a distance.)
What We Didn’t Like:
- The movie bombed big time at the U.S. box office and even if it performs well on DVD and becomes a cult item (which we think it will) the chances of another Dredd movie getting made are practically zero. Sad to think that the shitty Stallone movie actually did better at the box office! Perhaps Dredd needed some bigger name stars. Along with John Carter, Dredd is the sci-fi franchise that deserved better.
- South Africans will instantly recognize those minibuses at the beginning and the scenes clearly filmed in Cape Town with some CGI buildings inserted into the background. Sure, the film-makers had a limited budget, but especially the vehicles stand out like a sore thumb in the “futuristic” landscape.
- We kinda missed the Black-humored zaniness of the original comics. Remember the one in which white sugar is banned as a dangerous substance? Or the one in which a block war breaks out over an incident involving an ice cream? Or the League of Fatties?