There’s nothing like a futuristic police force on big bulky and highly innovative techno-Motor bikes running fast in a dystopian Third-world district while hunting down criminals. A district where Judges are armed with universally equipped guns to judge and if necessary execute whoever gets on their way and doesn’t follow. Judges, by the way, possess the combined powers of judge, jury and instant executioner which means they are the LAW. The most practical if also not the most violent judicial system we can imagine in a metropolis that is plagued by crime, over-population, drugs and poverty.
Enter first time Judge Anderson (Olivia Thirlby) who was gifted psychic powers through genetic mutation with her evaluator Judge Dredd (Karl Urban) in a mission about a triple homicide that happened in a slum tenement called the Peach Trees Block.
The two coincidentally invades the territory of ex-prostitute and wanted Drug Lord named MA-MA (Lena Headey) who’s in charge of the production of the time-dilating super drug Slo-Mo. A psychedelic drug that could mentally slow down time that everything seems in slow-motion. The only reason that makes the film work well in splattering kaleidoscopic 3D and depicts a heart-stomping plunge of death. Threatened that the judges would find out her secret after they caught the culprit of the crime who happens to be MA-Ma’s right hand. MA-Ma was forced to shut down the tenement and bring out her clan to bring the Judges down.
And from there the rest of the story goes. A claustrophobic survival film where two Judges are trapped and monitored in high-octane bloody action movie that’s going to kill you if you let loose in the edge of your seat. Judge Dredd is not a hero. He comes with a believable bulky costume and sometimes acts like a robot but his character feels like a product of Nolan. While it took awhile before he got hit by millions of bullets the point is he got hit and it brought out the human within him. He’s not a super. He just knows well when to move. And that’s when he finally gets blood-thirsty for vengeance and to enforce his final judgement. Opposite to Dredd is Anderson who steals every scene with her charm and the use of her psychic powers. Her psychic powers came in handy to point out the culprit but was also necessary to two of the films’ greatest achievement. First, to take the audience into a breather of space where minds could battle and lastly, to use it as an emotional device to the only character who has or may have a heart.
The only downside of the movie for me is that the script could have been polished so as to avoid cliched action movie one-liners that sounds cheesy even if delivered with angst. It may have an ensemble cast of relatively unknown actors but I couldn’t honestly think of other actors that would perfectly suit the roles of Dredd and Anderson. Karl Urban is the new Dredd. Anderson gives an awesome performance and Lena Headey as Ma-Ma, well she had a calm and confident character but could have used more bitchiness and screen time later on in the film. If you’re observant enough the film actually depicts economic inequality because even in the future the world is still ruled by Capitalist. Across the deadly tenement is a ‘condominium’ unexplored but probably inhabited by the rich.
The film is said to be R-18 but the cut I’ve watched was an R-16 in Abreeza Cinema. I don’t really know the difference between the two but the newly introduced rating by MTRCB feels close to an R-18 version because of the extreme bloody violence, filth, grit and explosions! Plus the film and its makers knows their material and storyline isn’t as mind blowing or as intelligent as the few other action films we have. They know that this is and it’s supposed to be a B-movie for the comic book fans. 🙂
All in all, Dredd 3D is an amazing B action movie that comes with dreddfully explosive action sequences and bloody deaths. An instant cult classic!