Before we get started with this review I would like to somewhat shamefully admit that the last movie I saw in 3-D was Maleficent at the Mall of Georgia Regal Cinemas over a vacation however many years ago because my cousin wanted to see it. I have never really been too excited about 3-D movies and usually find them to be too expensive and gimmicky.
So, imagine my surprise when I discovered this movie was BADASS. So badass it was worthy of the all-caps. First of all, when the film came out, it sort of registered on my radar and mostly I thought “Whyyyyyyy? The first one was terrible and whyyyyyyy?!” Not to ever insult Sylvester Stallone, who I love, but yeah, I would much rather watch Demolition Man instead.
Michael Gingold, writer for Rue Morgue, Fangoria, and more hosted this “Weird Wednesday” and through his talk at the beginning of the film, I learned that Judge Dredd was initially a comic (I’m sure a lot of you are rolling your eyes and saying “DUH!!” but I didn’t know) in Great Britain, that rivaled DC and Marvel in popularity but didn’t get as popular in the US until much later. He also stated that most of this film was actually shot with a 3-D camera, which is why the 3D effects in this movie were AMAZING.
The film stars Karl Urban (McCoy in the Abrams Star Trek films and more importantly to me as Skurge in the Thor films) as the titular Judge and Olivia Thirlby (Juno, Bored to Death) as a judge on her “training day” as it were. Funnily enough, King Kong aint got shit on either of these judges. To clarify, judges in the world of DREDD are pretty much cops with crazy weapons who are allowed to be judge, jury, and executioner. The film is set in a post-apocalyptic America where most of the country was decimated by war and now 8 million people live in one stretch of land between Boston and Washington DC, all sequenced into “MegaCities”.
Judge Dredd and trainee Anderson get a call about a multiple homicide in “Peach Trees” a massive, post nuclear fortress where 75,000 people live. Among the several other monoliths in MegaCity 1, Peach Trees could be considered “the projects”. Ma-Ma, ex-prostitute turned drug kingpin, expertly portrayed by the one and only Lena Headey, rules these projects with an iron fist. When Dredd and Anderson arrive on the scene, four men had been thrown from the top level of the building, skinned alive on Ma-Ma’s orders. The guy who does the skinning, which trainee Anderson figured out immediately because of course she’s a psychic, is Kay, top member of the Ma-Ma Clan. Wood Harris, otherwise known as Avon Barksdale on The Wire, who 100% kills it in this role.
The coolest 3-D scenes center on when certain characters take a drug called “Slo-Mo” of which the Ma-Ma clan is the chief distributor. One hit off this inhaler filled with brown liquid, and you are moving and seeing everything in (surprise) slow motion. The action scenes are incredible and I so wish that everyone could see this movie in 3D at the theater. A lot of people must have felt that way, because the whole theater was sold out.
I can’t say enough good things about this movie, but I’ll add the fact that Domnhall Gleason stars as a hacker with robot eyes and Alex Garland (Ex Machina, Annihilation, but you already knew that) wrote the screenplay. An awesome cast, non stop action, and a satisfying conclusion makes me incredibly embarrassed I didn’t see it in its initial run but thanks to Alamo and Mike Gingold for the opportunity to see it six years later.