Viewed – 06 May 2013  Blu-ray

I recall enjoying the British science fiction comics 2000 A.D. and Judge Dredd Magazine throughout my childhood and often wondered what a movie adaptation would be like.  Over the years since I discovered that perhaps this rich universe wasn’t quite so easy to adapt after witnessing the fun but disappointing Judge Dredd movie starring Sylvester Stallone, who seemed miss-cast in such an iconic role.  However now we come to the second attempt to bring this character to the big screen, and rest assured, they seem to have got it (mostly) right this time.

Dredd 2

Karl Urban stars as Dredd, one of several future cops who are basically judge, jury and executioner on the mean streets of Mega City One, America’s last surviving city in the middle of a wasteland.  Teaming up with psychic rookie ‘Anderson’ (a complex Olivia Thurlby) and called out to a routine triple homicide at a large apartment complex, these two mismatched law enforcers soon find themselves trapped in the building after the mobster ruling over it, Ma-Ma (a wonderfully evil Lena Headey) locks it down.  Echoes of Korean martial arts actioner The Raid immediately entered my mind along with thoughts of the first Die Hard movie, and to be honest I was shocked.  The Judge Dredd comics had a huge world to pick from with many characters and locations … and the movie chooses to stick to this one, claustrophobic setting?  Okay … well let me just say, it works a treat delivering a violent and intense experience that not only perfectly captures the character of Dredd (and fans rejoice – Karl Urban never removes his helmet) but also delivers a full on action-fest.

Director Pete Travis has made a very stylish and enjoyably gory movie that hits hard.  Africa’s Cape Town standing in for Mega City One is stunning in it’s architecture and the subtle use of CGI helped create a believable futuristic world without overwhelming.  Slow motion effects showing the use of a black market drug are also impressive, and overall I had a great time.  Yes for such an iconic character and universe – there is so much more that could have been done here, but perhaps playing to it’s strengths rather than blowing the budget was the right choice.

Highly recommended.

Verdict:  4 /5

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