This weekend, "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes" opens. It is a film from a popular science fiction franchise, and it is set in a grim future. Often, sci fi franchises imagine thoroughly unappealing worlds with many unlikeable characters. An example of this is the comic book series "Judge Dredd," which has been adapted into two movies. The most recent, "Dredd," came out 2012.
"Dredd" is set in a future where crime permeates all aspects of society. Because of this, cops are one stop law enforcement agents. They are empowered as "judges," who can apprehend the criminals and be the judge, jury and, if necessary, executioner to n'er do wells when they catch them. Their intimidating uniforms are out-sized helmets and bulky suits. The seasoned Judge Dredd (played by Karl Urban) is assigned to test novice Cassandra Anderson (played by Olivia Thrilby), who has psychic abilities and almost passed her aptitude test. She is tested by shadowing him for a day on the job. They go to Peach Trees, a giant slum tower, to investigate the deaths of a few people who were thrown from the top floor. On the top floor is Ma-Ma (played by Lena Headey), a dangerous drug lord who deals in a new drug called slo-mo, which slows everything down. When she learns they are taking one of her clan's members for questioning, Ma-Ma seizes control of the building and orders the judges to be killed.
This movie is a lot of fun to watch as it has memorable characters and stunning action scenes. Judge Dredd is a fighter par excellence. Anderson plays off his physical prowess with her more emotive capabilities quite well. She is also a strong warrior in her own right.
Karl Urban is perfect in the title role. He has a powerful voice and is a no-nonsense character. Olivia Thrilby is equally impressive as Anderson. Although she is less experienced than her boss, she still has street smarts. Lena Headey is excellent as the villain. Unlike many comic book villains, she is calm, which makes her very scary.
"Dredd" is a great choice for fans of shoot 'em up action films.