Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Wednesday Movie Night: Dredd (2012)

Pete Travis has directed movies like Vantage Point, and Endgame, but Dredd sort of seems like new territory for him. This movie based on a video game is one of the better ones brought to life as it grapples with the harshness of being a judge, and having to kill those that rise up against you and threaten the job you have protecting the community. While not the most innovative thing to hit movies it does reach expectations further than you would have going in to watch it.

It's a city in the future, and the cops now act as judge. So on the spot they can determine the fate of the criminals they find. A cop, and a trainee decide to take on a gang who are behind the drug, SLO-MO, that slows down time from the perspective of the one taking it. This drug is used for enjoyment, and also to torture the ones that the gang don't like before they murder them. The cop though finds him, and his trainee in trouble when the gang puts their city on lock down in order to kill them both. Judge Dredd is  a lot more than they expect though as he plots his way out, and getting rid of the gang.

Dredd sort of has that video game vibe about it to appeal to probably the main audience that will go to see it. So some of the slow motion effects, and even the color of the film feel like movies like Resident Evil, but a little bit better done than that. The movie thankfully keeps it short though as near the end you sort of begin to space out as the ending becomes clearer. The acting exceeds expectations even though Judge Dredd just sort of feels like Batman, or at least his voice does.

Karl Urban may not be the most recognizable actor in the world, but he is getting there with roles in Red and Star Trek, and now a leading role in Dredd. There isn't much to evaluate though as he is just a guy who stays behind the mask, and is serious. He's cool though. There is also Olivia Thirlby who sort of leaped from indie movies like Being Flynn, and Juno to Dredd. It's an odd mix. Her character, Anderson, is probably one of the more interesting ones, and she gets the conflict she deals with well through her expressions. Also, Lena Headey is unrecognizable as the lead of the gang, Ma-Ma. Her transformation makes her one of the stronger performances in the movie. You also have other actors like Rakie Ayola as the Chief Judge.

The movie is extremely violent though, and you have to question the whole point of watching countless people splatter. Like seriously, they were just splattering blood, and it was gross. At points you just have to turn your head away if it grosses you out, because the slow motion effect makes it even worse to watch. Had you not had to fear turning your head away every few minutes it would have been a more enjoyable viewing experience.

Overall, Dredd may not exceed expectations of people who aren't fans of the genre, but it is an interesting viewing experience. The characters are pretty solid, and their development is intriguing to watch. With a little less violence it would be a little more watchable. It's a solid movie though that definitely may be better than you expect it to be.

Rating 3 of 5.

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