What I'm Watching: Dredd
Today on the 'finally got to see' pile, I've got a healthy heaping of Dredd.
Now, I'm a fan of the original Stallone Dredd movie. Yes, it's cheesy as hell, and it's pretty bad at parts, but it has its fun about it. But it is a poor representation of the concepts of the actual character and original comics.
It goes without saying that there is great trepidation going into this movie. In fact, memories of that first movie are so strong in people, I would wager that as a major factor in why Dredd did so poorly in the theaters this time around.
Which is a shame, because this movie is actually really good. Or at the very least, leaps and bounds above the original film, and much closer in tone and ideas to the comics.
This is the Dredd movie we always should have had.
The plot is very straightforward. Dredd is breaking in a rookie, Psi-Judge Anderson, and on a routine call to deal with a little case of murder in a mega-block (Picture an apartment complex of doom), they discover a drug-running project, get locked in, and have to fight their way through a couple hundred floors of thugs to take them down, before they end up as another pair of bodies on the pavement.
There's no huge twists, like I said it is very straightforward, and you know what? There is nothing wrong with that. Heck, it is almost refreshing. It's just Dredd and Anderson fighting to survive and get to the bottom of the crime family, while fighting to the top of the building. It's a simple story of crime and survival, and it does it really well.
The movie is very pretty, using some amazing colouring, design, and slow motion effects to make for some very well done action sequences that never feel overblown or too much style. Each one moves the story forward, and is there for plot. And coolness, but they serve purpose as well.
Karl Urban is amazing as Dredd. He's a far cry from Stallone's over the top performance. He's stoic, to the point, and very direct in everything. They also wisely never have him remove the helmet. Dredd should be this faceless, grim, visage of fascistic order and law, and that is exactly what he is.
This was an enjoyable action movie in an interesting universe, with a fulfilling storyline that is just pure entertainment for 90 minutes. It deserves better than it got, and you should check it out.