If you’ve ever wondered how a Batman movie would be without the Bruce Wayne character…then GET EXCITED.
If you saw the awesome 1995 Sylvester Stallone-starring JUDGE DREDD and thought, ya know what would make this a lot closer to the comics? If they made a whole fucking movie based on that early scene where Sly rolls up to a building and clears it alone by telling his gun to use different bullets, but with lots and LOTS of super-slo-mo….directed by John Carpenter….IN 3D!!!
If that’s what you’ve been waiting for, THEN THIS IS THE JUDGE DREDD MOVIE FOR YOU!!!
I guess it makes sense, the first action movie I see post-Rises is essentially one giant ode to Nolan’s Batman without ever finding its own voice, or doing anything interesting with all the potential of its lead character.
DREDD 3D is a hard movie to wrap ones head around. Right off that bat you got these assholes saying how shitty the 1995 film was and how it had nothing to do with the 2000 AD comic, even though the 2000 AD comic is essentially what happens when Heavy Metal has sex with Paul Verhoeven’s brain. The Danny Cannon flick is basically one of Verhoeven’s better films without him having to lift so much as a nutsack. New Dredd is closer to the single-minded Dredd novels, the more hard-boiled one-note cop/action flicks, not the zany comic-world bursting with weirdness and epic story potential. In fact, it’s sort of ironic that in the weakest beat-down in box-office history, David Ayers’ cop movie kicked the shit out of essentially David Ayers’ SyFy movie. What I’m trying to fucking tell you is this new Dredd thing….there’s really no reason for it to be A DREDD FILM. Yeah, the name may look nice on a poster, but come on…it could’ve easily been random-stone-cold-cop-kicks-down-shithole-doors-5-years-in-the-future and very little would’ve changed…except then we could’ve gotten away from that stupid ‘he doesn’t take off the helmet’ nonsense…which would’ve been good. That shit gets old about a half hour in. First off, in the film, Dredd isn’t some widely known mega bad-ass, he’s just a good cop, only known by other cops. He’s isn’t feared. He’s just a working stiff. So we’ve got no reason to give a shit about his identity or why he keeps the helmet on. For the rest of the movie you sit there thinking, ‘ohhhh okay, so there’s no point, he’s just a dick with no personality and….a helmet. Cool.’
Moving on, let’s dive right in…for starters, the whole new thing takes place in one building. So if the scale of the original film was far too large for you, and the futuristic flights of fancy too overwhelming….HAVE I GOT A DREDD MOVIE TO SELL YOU!!! Lucky for you, the only non-real-world thing you’ll have to deal with here is a 100-and-something story ghetto housing structure. Which may or may not actually exist in our world now. Other than that concept, you’ll be fine. No whacky future tech/innovation to wrap your head around. Also, if the first film’s corrupt government underpinnings felt a little too grim and far-fetched, you should feel safe calling this new Dredd the ESSENTIAL DREDD FILM because there’s none of that. Never hinted at once. The singular focus of the film is far too limited to get into any of that nonsense.
If you sit and compare pre and post-X-Men comic book movies, people will most likely tell you how much better the post entries are. And yeah, there are a Nolan-share of great ones. But for me, the pre-X movies are just so much more awesome, full of heart, fun, and really just made for the fans. With X-Men and even Spider-Man, they found a formula that made money….AKA, get rid of the zany. Batman ’89 of course proved that ZANY can = money. But no other comic films have ever really replicated that kind of success. Then X-Men comes along and they found a way to ground it in supposed ‘realism’ and drama, take away the comicy sensibility and BAM…virtually every comic film that followed, was built on that structure.
It’s difficult for me to separate Dredd and Batman. Dredd is essentially a spin-off of the caped crusader. Yeah, he’s like supposed to be the HARDCORE version of Batman, something you find out gets really old as Dredd 3D plods along. Comparing the two adaptations, Dredd ’95 built a world as Burton did for Batman, they’re great looking films with vast sets and great design and effects work, it’s that large-scale 90s world-building we don’t see anymore. Also, the fucking movie cost 90 MILLION DOLLARS, which translates to about 30 more than Avengers in today’s monies. So years after Burton tickled the cape and cowl with his black fingernails, Nolan comes along looking like a Swedish pornstar, and resurrects the Batman series with a gritty real-world approach….so what does Dredd do? Well, THE SAME THING!!! Now we have this ‘realistic’ Dredd movie (yeah Judge, you gotta keep some fucking SyFy elements to hold my attention), but they never stopped to think, by trying to play catch-up to everyone else, they tossed out all that was cool and interesting and fun about Dredd to begin with. I mean, the comics are pretty fucking funny, the violence is cartoonishly over-the-top, and it’s a lot of tongue-in-cheek action going on. The original film got that. Sure, the violence wasn’t AS over-the-top as it could’ve been, but Sly nailed the tone and the spirit. In this new thing, it’s all waaaaaaaaaaay super serious and played like a kid pretending to be some giant bad ass to impress the girls.
I didn’t hate the film.
I like Dredd, the character and the concept, so of course I wanted to check out the new film. In the end, compared to what had come before, it just feels so fucking worthless. I guess the idea is to continue taking cracks at it with a different approach every decade, which is fine. Dredd doesn’t deserve a prominent franchise. He’s too obscure and in the end the general public doesn’t really give a shit about him, and obviously…this new film didn’t do much to change that. The best the fans can hope for is that this somehow spawns some decent DTV sequels for the die-hards. I just hope then they have the balls to go more wacky and fun and do better than ‘generic-cop-in-helmet-ghetto-tower-action-siege’.
One more thing! My last gripe…then I’ll disappear faster than DREDD 3D did from your local theater. That 300 lady, how the fuck does she keep getting roles? She ALMOST sinks the film. She’s THAT shitty. Never mind her horrible make-up and wig work that looks like I fucking applied it. This thing with her trying to be some psychopath gang-leader….yeah, weak. Weak weak weak.
So all in all, this thing is fine mid-level entertainment, it’s just so damn basic and rehashed. DREDD 3D is to Judge Dredd what Cloverfield is to Emmerich’s Godzilla. A smaller/less memorable take on a grand concept that feels like a decent one-time watch and nothing more. It’s more of a theme-park ride than a film. Fun while it lasts, immediately forgotten. I guess the best Judge Dredd film is still Robocop, so fuck it.
STUNTCOCK MIKE meeting Dredd at the premiere of Avenging Angelo.