“Dredd 3D” is the story of a heavily armed, stoic police officer, set in a dystopian future where officers of the law are referred to as “Judges” due to their authority to immediately pass sentence on criminals – including death sentences. When Judge Dredd and the rookie he’s evaluating get called to a triple homicide, they wind up discovering the manufacturing center of a drug that’s been plaguing the city: Slo-Mo.
A relentless, remorseless cleansing effort ensues.
“Dredd 3D” is dark, gritty, violent, bleak, brutal and deadly serious. Fun for the whole family, and good for kids of all ages!
Judge Dredd is a long running character from the British Science Fiction anthology “2000 AD”. He notably made it to the silver screen previously in 1995 in Sylvester Stallone’s unintentional comedy “Judge Dredd”.
Here, with Karl Urban of “Star Trek” fame under the helmet, Dredd takes on a darker tone more befitting the character. He’s an urelenting, unforgiving force for justice. Heavily armored and carrying a gun equipped with a wide array of ammunition options, Dredd marches forward, dispassionately dispatching any criminals who cross his path. He’s the very embodiment of law enforcement.
He’s given a rookie (Olivia Thirlby) named Anderson to evaluate… a mutant psychic. She narrowly failed her placement exams, but her psychic abilities make her an appealing candidate to the Hall of Justice nonetheless. Overwhelmed with potential calls to respond to, the rookie selects a triple homicide at a high-rise known as “Peach Trees”. The two quickly learn that the high-rise is under the control of gang lord and drug kingpin Madeline Madrigal (Lena Headey). Ma-Ma controls the manufacture and distribution of the drug Slo-Mo, which is currently causing an epidemic in the city. Slo-Mo makes the human brain experience the passage of time at 1/100th its normal speed. She committed the homicide that drew the judge’s attention by having her henchmen give the drug to three people who had crossed her and then throw them over the 200 story balcony. The drug would cause them to experience the fall much, much more slowly; inifnitely prolonging the moment of their death. Killing them in this way would deliver the message of intimidation to the other residents of the complex.
Once Dredd and Anderson discover what’s going on, they begin their march to the top floor in order to administer justice. Along the way they experience no shortage of well armed resistance, and small theatre warfare ensues.
Like its central character, “Dredd 3D” is a singularly minded film. It sets a tone, quickly establishes a world and its central character, and then devotes the rest of its time to extensive shoot outs and the remorseless dispatching of justice. It’s the ultimate zero tolerance fantasy. Criminals, once identified, are sentenced to lengthy jail sentences for minor offences, and death for more serious ones. And Dredd is not shy about dispensing the death sentences, either. There are a number of executions, there are a number of people killed in shootouts… this is a very violent movie, with a high body count. It’s a serious, R rated, bad ass action movie.
Which I appreciated, very much. In spite of glaring similarities to this year’s “The Raid: Redemption”, “Dredd 3D” carves a unique spot for itself with its tone and its lead character. The Slo-Mo plot device gives plenty of opportunity for the inclusion slow motion sequences, which were very well done, and add a touch of style to the proceedings. They also give a great opportunity to really show off the movie’s excellent 3D. The plot here is very basic, there’s not a lot of complexity to the characters, either, although the rookie psychic, Anderson, is given some decent development. But there doesn’t need to be a lot of nuance here. It may be pretty basic, but it’s all very solid, and then they let the well made gun fights take center stage.
Highly recommended for fans of the character, or for anyone interested in a dark action film.