WARNING: Spoilers. There are plot giveaways in this review. (But nothing big so stop having a cry and read the damn review!)
OFFICIAL SILVER SCREENER REVIEW
– DREDD –
IMDB Rating: 7 out of 10 (97.993 votes)
Director: Pete Travis
If Karl Urban, or the Slo-Mo effect, weren’t in this film, I’d be giving Dredd my lowest score ever. But they were in the film. So that’s good…I guess.
Dredd, a remake of the 1995 Judge Dredd film starring Sylvester Stallone, didn’t really take me on an adventure anywhere. Instead, it held me up inside a lifeless cage with boring characters and a clichéd plot – an all too similar coincidence that the two Judges are trapped in a cage as well, literally.
The Dredd universe, supposedly holding 800 million people in a barren wasteland, was incredibly inexpansive. All the action took place in a dirty, rotten apartment block – named ‘Peach Trees’ for no apparent reason – and it felt like, as Dredd and Anderson made their way up the 200-floor structure, that the filming all took place on one floor. No floor was different to any other one, and ultimately led me to believe it was just lazy film-making.
Of the 96 minute run time, and excluding credits, only 15 minutes of action took place outside ‘Peach Trees’. That was simply not enough. It didn’t allow for the time needed to get to know the world around the action, or introduce the characters properly. Instead, it rushed things along and introduced a frantic pace that was, for the most part, kept up throughout the film. The director gets kudos for that.
Though it was action-packed, I found Dredd unnecessarily violent. People were having their brains blown out, faces smashed, and skin cut off. And for what? Viewing pleasure? It didn’t add anything to the film for me. It was just violent for the sake of being violent. I don’t mind violence at all; Tarantino uses violence to his advantage by making it a little comical (in particular the shootout scene in Django Unchained where Django takes out like 30 guys). In Dredd, Pete Travis was making everything bloody for no good reason.
The character development was extremely weak, because of the extremely low run-time of Act 1. Judge Dredd was nothing more than a guy who loved to kill with a gun that never needed to be reloaded, and pop out awesome one-liners in the face of death – symbolized perfectly by his mask, which covered him both literally (it’s a headpiece – duh) and metaphorically (his personality was nowhere to be found).
I didn’t really like Olivia Thirlby in the film. I thought her performance was kind of weak, and over-the-top, which may sound contradictory, but trust me – when you see the film, you’ll know what I’m talking about. And her psychic abilities just felt like collateral to me, with no relevance to the film whatsoever. Whatever scenes she used her power in could have easily been cut out of the script.
Also, I didn’t really dig the scene in the Slo-Mo creation room, where the writers tried to create a cheap ripoff of the last scene of “The Fugitive” (the one in the laundry room). Instead, they took the tension from “The Fugitive” and replaced it with crappy dialogue and unbelievably unlikely survival. Basically, Dredd is shot, then convinces the other Judge to stall by saying “wait” 3 or 4 times, and then once Anderson predictably saves the day, Dredd shows no signs of being shot at all – he sows himself up with a magic gun thing, and is then good to go. No, writers. That was not okay.
I liked Karl Urban, though. I thought he was pretty good. He delivered his lines well – although he played it a little too much like Christian Bale. But, nonetheless, he did deliver some great lines; my personal favourite was “As for you Mama…judgment time.” My jaw dropped and an instant bromance was created.
The Slo-Mo scenes were well directed, too. I appreciate the glossy, almost crystalized feel to each shot when a character was on the drug. It created a really fantastic insight into how the drug worked, and how drugs made the addicts feel while on it.
But overall, something lacked in Dredd. There was a sense of dull introductions, and misleading fun seeping from it.
Or maybe that’s what the director was going for. But that’s not what’s up for discussion here. I’m sorry, but maybe it’s time to reboot Dredd…again.
MY RATING: 4 out of 10.
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