I recently re-watched Dredd on Netflix in Canada. I was really looking forward to this movie when it was in production, but as is usual for me, waited for it to be released on DVD/blu-ray before I got a chance to see it. I really enjoyed it. I saw it on Netflix and decided to watch it again, and came here to see if there were a review. I was honestly shocked not to be able to find one.
I’m remedying that now.
Dredd came out about the same time as the Raid: Redemption, and though their stories are very similar, production schedules suggest that they did not influence each other much if at all. In Dredd, Judge Dredd is evaluating Judge Anderson, and during the arrest of a drug dealer in a high-rise complex, they come into conflict with the local crime boss, who shuts down the building and sends out legions of mooks to kill our heroes.
The plot isn’t deep, but I believe the movie does a good job of characterizing Anderson. Dredd is Dredd, and Dredd does not change. That’s important. That’s part of the problem with Stallone’s silly (but not absolutely terrible) adaptation. Dredd does not fit the Hollywood paradigm, so this movie had to made outside of that system.
Dredd also isn’t really the protagonist of the movie. I’m not a major devotee of the comic, but in the few I’ve read, this also seems to be the case. Characters that in other comics would be secondary, such as the villain or another Judge, all but take over the story. These characters have the arcs and the growth that is denied to Dredd, who is unchangeable.
Karl Urban, as with everything I have ever seen him in, is awesome. Yes, I have a bit of a man-crush. He does an amazing job of embodying Dredd – at least a Dredd that I can recognize. Lena Heady – from Game of Thrones – does a great turn as the crime lord and Olivia Thirby really delivers as Judge Anderson.
The action is fast and furious and there isn’t the reliance on shaky-cam common to movies that either think it’s edgy or don’t have the budget for a fight choreographer. The setting is fantastic. I really enjoyed this movie.
I give Dredd 4.25 Lawgivers out of 5.