In the future, law and order is not separated like it is now. In the future, within the walls of Mega City One, law and order consists of a cadre of specially trained judges who are judge, jury and executioner all in one. And one judge stands above all others…. his name spreads fear in the criminal underworld… DREDD!
I am finishing up the comic book flicks of 2012, in 2013, with Dredd! Could it surpass the amazingness that was the 1995 Judge Dredd vehicle starring Stallone. You remember, the one where Dredd takes his helmet off in the first 15 minutes and LEAVES IT OFF! Yeah, you remember. And just like X-Men 3, it’s left that dirty diaper smell burned into your nostrils since then. So why should you give Dredd a chance? Read on citizen.
Judge Dredd has an amazing, international cult following. The concepts this character brings to life is pretty damn scary in my opinion. Mega City One is anything but a utopian society. It consists of 800 Million people. For those of you doing the math, and keep in mind, I am at least three beers in, after a tough workout, is roughly 1/7 the population of the Earth NOW. There was no mention of what Judge Dredd’s future Earth population is. However, the vast majority of Dredd’s future Earth lives within the, I am hoping, single digit Mega Cities.
Whatever your misconceptions of what this movie might have been, leave them at the door. Cause this is ANYTHING but the Stallone flick from almost 20 years past. The first moment I saw the test images of Karl Urban as Dredd, I have to admit, I was a little let down. Unlike Stallone, Urban does not have that iconic look to his mouth and chin, no matter how horrible that movie was. But what Urban does bring to the roll is a series of movies he carried to at least three stars. He showed he could go toe to toe with an icon in Doom. And he then showed some amazing chops in Pathfinder. Down to brass tacks, Urban can act. And so many people don’t view action movies as true acting.
When we’ve been inundated with the likes of the Stallones, Schwarzeneggers and Van Dammes for the last thrity plus years, we forget that we should feel compelled and somehow identify with our action heroes.
While Urban totally pulls it off, there were parts of this movie, and mythos I felt were lacking. In a way, this was an introduction to the character. But it shouldn’t have been. Here’s why: the mere mention of the name Dredd should have a Mega City One criminal leaving skid marks in their undies. I didn’t get that feeling with this movie. Even though this movie was without a doubt an origin tale for Judge Anderson, it felt as though Dredd has not been stalking MC1′s criminals for very long. However, this is a good thing, cause it was way more realistic. It came off as Dredd being a judge who followed the rules and laws to the “T” and having a serious reputation.
Olivia Thirlby’s rookie Judge Anderson brought some light to Dredd’s grimm and gritty, very gray toned world. Keeping with her true comic book origins as a Psi Judge was great. It also helped humanize the iconic Dredd with a rookie who you knew would be a monkey wrench in what might have been a walk in the park at Peach Trees for the senior, take no prisoners style you’ve grown accustomed to. The other point that helped bring new life, not only into the Dredd franchise, but the comic book movie genre in the 2010′s is that the main antagonist, was another woman. Lena Headey’s Ma-Ma was like Helena Bonham Carter, juiced up on steroids and hate, thrown into a blender, chugged till the point of vomiting and then chased with a “Crazy Chicken.” Go ask your neighborhood bartender for one, don’t ask any questions and then slam it. With very few words, and an amazing makeup job, Headey was able to convey her evilness and contempt for the law in Mega City One. It was a fresh breath of air to convey a woman as a strong female villain. So often in movies, women are only conveyed as sex appeal and potential victims. Neither Thirlby nor Headey would have any of that.
The action was super intense, and actually had me tensing up at moments. The idea behind the “Slo-Mo” sequences was pretty brilliant, and not only worked from a story telling aspect, but from a visual styling as well. Dredd delivered on all aspects, story, feel, visuals and most importanly for me, when we’re dealing with a comic book movie, the ideals and essence of the characters involved. This movie has me clamouring for more. I didn’t even mind the change in costume design, cause it fit and it worked, but in ways was still true for the initial concepts of the character that can best be described with this five leter word…. Dredd.
So, I know, I know, it’s been quite a while since the last installment of the Hardcore Review. And for those of you who read my words and rants, I thank you, and I thank you for your patience with the lag. In my defense, but not as an excuse, I have been working on my latest comic book, Youth in Asia issue 7. I’ll update you on that later, cause right now, I know you’re thinking, “What the hell man? Shut the hell up, and gimme the grade already!” Well, here you go. Since Dredd is such an iconic character and totally badass, but this was in many ways a team book, I dip back into FINISHING MOVES! This time, we go back. Sure it’s a maneuver still being used today, but it has it’s origins around the same time as the disasterous 1995 Judge Dredd. And in a way it kind of fits. Cause when it was released in theatres as Dredd 3D. I give you, 3D! The insanely amazing, double team maneuver given to everyone from the founder of ECW, Tod Gordon to the beautiful Beaulah McGillicuty. 3D destroyed every iconic tag team in ECW history. The Gangstas. The Eliminators. Van Dam and Sabu. And even the vaunted Public Enemy. All that, and you don’t even need the horn rimmed and taped up glasses to view it!