Dredd 3D Blu-ray Review
Written by Daniel Benson
Blu-ray released by Entertainment in Video
Directed by Pete Travis
Written by John Wagner and Carlos Ezquerra
2012, Region B, 95 minutes, Rated 18 (UK)
Blu-ray released on 14th January 2013
Karl Urban as Judge Dredd
Olivia Thirlby as Anderson
Rakie Ayola as Chief Judge
Lena Headey as Ma-Ma
I was never much of a fan of Judge Dredd in the 2000AD comics. I had nothing against them, it just wasn’t something that ever appealed in the huge way it did to many of my friends. Sylvester Stallone’s 1995 foray into the character did little to draw me in and re-ignite my interest. Never averse to a bit of gratuitous violence, the 2012 version had registered as a blip on my radar, but nothing that was essential viewing.
Thankfully, the home entertainment release landed with me just before Christmas, so I was able to indulge in the traditional seasonal treats of face-shootings, explosions and general ass-kickery. Ho Ho Ho!
Karl Urban takes the lead role with Olivia Thirlby as the rookie judge with extraordinary psychic ability. It’s her first day in the field and Dredd is tasked with assessing her suitability for permanent assignment to the Hall of Justice. Her academy scores were borderline, but her ability to read minds makes her a valuable asset. When the pair are called to an incident at a Mega-Block called Peach Trees (such a sweet name for a dystopian high-rise slum), they come up against the ruthless female crime boss Ma Ma who puts the building on lock-down and challenges the residents to kill the two judges. Sound like The Raid much? It is, but without subtitles and with a man who never takes his helmet off.
There have been cries of “rip-off” with regard to Dredd’s similarity to the The Raid, but it isn’t the case. On paper, the films are very similar; protagonists must fight their way up a crime boss-controlled tower block against the assorted criminal inhabitants and take out the main bad guy/girl on the top floor. They’re both essentially hyper-violent versions of Donkey Kong. Dredd, however, was scripted and filmed before Gareth Evans' martial arts extravaganza. This is one of those happy coincidences, happy because both films are great (albeit very different) action pieces.
Karl Urban makes an impressive Judge Dredd, staying true to the comic and never removing his helmet. Credit to him for not going the way of Stallone and making sure he got a share of facetime. Olivia Thirlby’s Judge Anderson is the antithesis of Dredd. She has a softer side, even breaking into Dredd’s stoic nature by the end, but still manages to keep a razor-sharp edge when it’s needed. If the Hall of Justice needed a duo that balances each other out, then this is definitely it.
The main draw of Dredd is the action sequences, many of them rendered in exquisite slow-motion as a result of the ‘slo-mo’ drug that is rife in Mega City One. Dredd and Anderson never hesitate to draw their weapons when wading into conflict and their journey up the tower leaves piles of bodies in its wake.
Forget the similarities to The Raid, Dredd is its own movie. Only having a vague affinity with the comic was enough for me to thoroughly enjoy this film, so I’d imagine that any avid 2000AD reader will find much to enjoy here. And for those who’ve never read the comic and thought Judge Dredd was a fairly crappy mid-90s Stallone vehicle? Watch it anyway, if you like your action movies loud and violent you’re in for a treat.
Video and Audio:
The video is widescreen 2.35:1 1080p with a DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack.
The special features consist of the following featurettes:
- Dredd: 2000AD the Original
- Welcome to Peachtrees
- The 3rd Dimension
- Dredd's Gear
*Note: The screenshots on this page are publicity stills and not a reflection of the Blu-ray image.*
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