It's time to be Judged.
As for Dredd is an awesome film, but not perfect. It has its limitations with its budget and story, but again it's a great action film. The story like I said is pretty simplistic. Anyone who's seen the recent film The Raid: Redemption will find similarities with their plot, though this film is much better. It is sometime in the future after some kind of nuclear war and one of the few places that remains is Mega-City One that encompasses the range of Boston to Baltimore. There in this hell hole of survivors fighting for survival the only organization that keeps order are the Judges. Two judges Dredd (Karl Urban) and the rookie physic judge Cassandra Anderson (Olivia Thirlby) who's failed her training tests and the Hall of Justice only gives her another chance with Dredd for her physic abilities. These two judges head to the Peach Trees Tower where three men have been murdered. The two judges investigate and capture a small time drug leader who deals in the new drug called Slo-Mo, which slows the brain down and everything seems to go in slow motion. The drug kingpin of the entire 200 story building Ma-Ma (Lena Headey) can't let the man testify and seals down the building from there the action and fun truly begin. On a side not I can see this possibly happening sometime in the not too distant future where the US is a police state. I'm sure some would say were already there. As I said a pretty simple plot, but as I said it works for this film. From what I hear and read this film had a budget 45 million. I could be wrong, but even if I am by today's standard of action/Sci-fi films it isn't much and not even have the budget of Stallone's film. The writers of this film knew the constraints they had and kept things simple focusing mainly on three characters. The partner/mentor relationship between Anderson and Dredd, and Ma-Ma and it works really well.
It's a risk having your main character head covered the entire film, but it works in this film and that is thanks to Karl Urban who blows Stallone's performance away. Even with the helmet on Urban is still able to give a human element to Dredd. Over the last handful of years I've come too really like the actor. He was one of if the only bright spot in Doom and of course his great role as Dr. Leonard McCoy. This is an actor who needs to be given more chances to shine. The gorgeous Olivia Thirlby also did a superb job as Judge Anderson. She really shows the scared and damaged emotions of the mutant physic who wants to become a judge and her growth in the film. I had never heard of the beautiful actress before this film, but she can act and I hope to see her in more films. The chemistry between the partners was great, and if there is a sequel which I truly hope this film makes enough money for then I would really like to see them as maybe partners. How many cop action films have a man and woman as partners? I can't think of any off the top of my head. The two did a really good job and I think it can work again in sequel. Lena Headey is another actress I haven't really heard of. I was surprised to see that she played Sarah Conner in the Terminator TV series and Queen Gorgo. I did not remember that. Anyway she did a good job playing the ex-hooker turned ruthless drug kingpin. Oh I also forgot to mention Wood Harris who plays Kay the guy the judges arrest and Ma-Ma doesn't want to testify. Yeah the film has a tiny cast with one or two minor roles and tones of extras, but like I said the writers new their limitations with the budget they had.
The slow motion worked in this film. I was a little nervous like I think others were about the slow motion scenes in the film, but it worked great enhancing the action. I also think it worked because they didn't go overboard with it. The action in the film was raw and gritty, and great. This is definitely an R-rated action film and to be honest this is more of an action film then Sci-fi film. Though there is a lot of blood I don't think the effects people went overboard with it keeping it believable. The effects were just decent. You could tell that the director and effects people had a limited budget, but I think it was a good thing. For a first film of a possible franchise you need to keep things simple. That was one of the problems with Stallone's Dredd. I think they tried to do this overblown action Sci-fi film with at the time a limited fan base. That was before comic film skyrocketed. This Dredd on the other hand doesn't try to do too much with the effects and it works.
Pete Travis the director along with Reliance and DNA films did a good job with the making of Dredd. The other film I saw that Travis directed was Endgame staring William Hurt, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Johnny Lee Miller is a good film and shows how good a job Travis can do with a limited budget. I think he perhaps even does a better job with this film as it is his first time doing a comic action/sci-fi film. I also need to give credit to Reliance, DNA the production companies along with the distributor Lionsgate for taking a chance with the film after the total bomb of the previous Dredd film. Lionsgate is turning into one of my favorite production/distributing film studios. Sure like every studio they've made some bad films, but in recent years the quality of their films have gone way up and they've been making better films all around.
Don't go into Dredd expecting a Sci-fi film or out of this world special effects because you won't get them. Overall Dredd is a great action film with a limited to mid-range budget with a good story, great acting, great action, decent special effects, and good directing. This film makes Stallone's Dredd look like a pile of sh*t. The film doesn't have to have a sequel, but I hope it earns enough for one. I haven't read the comics, but I think people who have will enjoy this film as well along with everyone else. Give Dredd a chance and remember to keep your eyes open for Karl Urban and Olivia Thirlby two good actors who need to be recognized.