Karl Urban laid down The Law as the iconic Judge Dredd in the newest adaptation of John Wagner and Carlos Ezquerra’s comic. It’s just another day in Mega City One, a future colonization of the United States that barely thrives after surviving a nuclear fall-out. Order is kept in this world by Judges, people trained to be Judge, Jury and Executioner on the spot. The most infamous and ruthless of the Judges Dredd is out making his rounds with rookie Anderson (Olivia Thirlby) when they take a homicide call inside the Peach Tree Mega Block (A living complex that holds an entire neighborhood). Thanks to Anderson’s mutant psychic powers they arrest one of the men behind the grisly killing, who happens to be linked to Ma-Ma (Lena Headey), a ruthless drug lord who possesses power over the newest drug “Slo-Mo” that makes users experience reality at a fraction of the normal speed. When the Judges decide to take in one of Ma-Ma’s henchmen for questioning, the entire Peachtree complex locks down in order to stop them from endangering the empire.
Ma-Ma gives the order: Take-out the Judges.
The vicious war that ensues is one of the most visually entertaining and literally pulpy undertakings ever put on the screen. In a world of post conversion, cheap 3D thrills, Dredd uses the technology to immerse spectators in the world of Mega-City One and is the most fun 3D experience in an action movie. The “Slo-Mo” drug experience sequences improve upon the “Bullet-time” sequences in films like The Matrix and Wanted in a way that makes 3D enjoyable and justified. When Dredd puts a bullet through someone’s face it’s almost artistic! You can see the ripples of force as the gunfire rips through a criminal’s face, blood gliding toward you, and the awesomely grotesque detail of a jaw being destroyed before your eyes.
It doesn’t even matter if the bloodbath was CG or not, it just looked freakin cool!
The brilliant script that plays like a game where you go floor after floor taking out henchmen to get to the big boss works really well and kept up an adrenaline filled pace. Not all fighting sequences were in “Slo-Mo” time which balanced out the action.
This goes without saying but this isn’t your daddy’s Judge Dredd.
Urban truly became justice incarnate as he plowed through level after level of criminals, dishing out judgments by the tip of his “Lawgiver” gun. His interpretation of Dredd is steely and commanding, his voice is a weapon. And Urban never takes off the helmet and his delivery of the “I am the law” line is chilling. You do not want to be the people he directs that statement to. The things he did to those who questioned that! Bloodbath is putting it lightly. The way he makes his way to Ma-Ma is relentless and Headey just plays her cruelty with tough sadism. After a 50 Cal mounted turret sequence that shows the lengths Ma-Ma would go to blast the Judges off her turf, any sort possible sympathy for her villainess is completely obliterated. Urban and Headey are perfect foils to one another and the final showdown is a sight to behold in 3D.
For Fans of: Judge Dredd (most will be happy with this update), The Raid, Wanted.