Dredd 3D


There have been so many “reboot” films lately that when I originally heard there would be a new Dredd film I groaned a little, then thought that actually perhaps the Stallone one could do with being knocked off that spot. If I’m honest the fact that you saw his face in the 1995 film (yes, it was almost 20 years ago) meant that the film was more a riding on the name of the lead actor and other stars than the character. So my friend Pete and I decided we wanted to give it a shot, so off to the Savoy we toddled.


There really wasn’t anything complex to be expected, we are talking about Dredd where it is much more about the characters and violent, dark and lost world that is Mega City One. The important part I felt was that it didn’t try to be an origin story, or somehow create a setting, you’re just thrown into a simple slightly good guy versus seriously bad woman (oh good lord Lena Headey, more on her part shortly) situation. Of course those who saw The Raid will be amused by the similarities but I think that really that is purely situational, the characterisation of both protagonists and antagonists (since Dredd is an anti-hero, for example) is entirely different not to mention the reasons behind their presence. Not to mention that I think Dredd went into production if not at the same time probably earlier, great minds think alike and all that.


Quite frankly this film was utterly captured by both Karl Urban and Lena Headey, hands down without a doubt.

I can’t imagine that playing Dredd is easy, timing and body language are a huge part of the characterisation in many ways I felt. Karl manages to counter point a strong execution of this with some lovely vocal intonation in a solid script, which fortunately contains just enough wry humour to make Dredd seem ‘hard ass but still human’ rather than some sort of Robocop.

However Lena Headey was great in my eyes. I have mostly seen her playing parts where she is strong willed (300) or perhaps a bit of a nasty character (Game of Thrones), even hard yet tough because she has to be (Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles) but never out and out villian. Maybe she relished the idea and really threw herself into it, or perhaps I was more able to appreciate her acting talent, either way she nailed the part of Ma-Ma in my eyes.

Olivia Thirlby is good and got the Anderson character down nicely but unfortunately with Urban and Headey being on such form I don’t think she really shone here. I look forward to seeing her in other movies though.

Visuals & Effects

As anyone who knows the Dredd character, world, etc knows it really is a violent world and this film doesn’t pull the punches. There is some really stark and blatant gore in the film (hence the 18 rating no doubt), along with some serious work on producing that SF element without stepping too far and thus keeping it grounded. The cinematography is very clean with only a few parts deliberately done to give that gritty look to it, but that doesn’t detract from the overall feel as the sets are well produced and give just enough air of destitution and decay anyway. The inclusion of slow motion for points is used to highlight some of the brutality which is well placed if a little cringe worthy for some (see the trailer above for a couple of examples).

In terms of hardware the Lawgiver is nicely produced and there as a staple element which is recognisable but doesn’t get oodles of screen time to steal away from the acting. There are however three guns which are used that I wouldn’t mind adding to my own personal Burt Gummer style stockpile … you’ll understand when you see the movie.

One particular item I’d like to point out however is the fact that Judge armour isn’t deliberately feminised for Anderson (or indeed the other female judges featured). This is something heavily talked about online as there is a bit of a trope for women in fantasy settings (both classic high fantasy and science fantasy / science fiction) to wear impractically gender specific armour. In fact the Judge outfits in this film look really solid and I wouldn’t be surprised if they are based upon actual combat armour from the real world with just a little 2000AD mixed in there.


With such a dystopian background and hard hitting violence there really wasn’t much of a sound track but I definitely had a couple of moments where I thought to myself “Yeah, thats a good bit of action music right there” as well as one moment where I was reminded of the original Blade Runner music. Beyond that the sound staging is pretty good, nothing overwhelmingly loud despite the sections with some serious armed combat.


This was a thoroughly enjoyable film and hands down beats the 1995 Judge Dredd movie. If you like some action and want to avoid heavy plot this will do you nicely, going straight on my bluray shopping list for its release.