Remakes, remakes, and more remakes. When will they slow down. The remake game is in full effect and Hollywood is scouring any and every genre to find viable material to re-introduce the new generation of movie lovers to. Concurrently, as the sci-fi genre is experiencing a renaissance, the are a number of films that are being given a face lift. Hollywood is pouring insane amounts of money into remaking former big hits with the hope of reinvigorating the genre. First Total Recall in 2012, now after nearly 20 years, Judge Dredd is making his second big screen appearance.
Dredd is a gritty, brutal action manifestation that reintroduces a new generation of movie goers to the harsh realism of a futuristic, post apocalyptic world. This world has been shaped by over population, violent crime, and drugs. Dredd is a remake of the 1995 film, Judge Dredd, that was based on a comic book characters created by John Wagner and Carlos Ezquerra. The movie stars Karl Urban (Star Trek 2009), Olivia Thirlby (The Darkest Hour), Wood Harris (Next Day Air), and Lena Headley (300).
The movie tells the story of the judges who serve as judge, jury, and executioner serving justice to an over populated inhabitants of Mega city. The bulk of the film takes place in a 200 level building, known as the Peach Tree, that is being controlled by a vicious street lord known as Mama. This new incarnation is a more gritty, uber-realistic interpretation on the character and its world. This iteration is a completely different take as opposed to the prior version. Just like the other It gives it a more realistic feel to a possible future that grounds it as opposed to the 1995 version that seems extremely far fetched compared to this one.
The action is brutal but does not pack the punch that it should. Despite being extremely violent, some of the action sequences are hindered by the drug induced reality that the film tries to simulate. It vastly hampers the enjoyment of the carnage. The action scenes are very brutal but too animated. They have a cartoon-like appearance that takes away from the brutality and the enjoyment of them.
Karl Urban as the helmet wearing harbinger of justice. Gives a truer take on the character as opposed to the version that Sylvester Stallone delivered nearly 20 years ago. Urban has the gritty scowl and is gives a less animated and emotionless performances. Urban uses that raspy tough guy voice that has come to be associated with many of the new action heroes just like Christian Bale as Batman and Adrian Broady in Predators. However what this Dredd is missing is the villainous performance that one take it over the top. Ahmad Assante’s villain in the 1995 version was great. Lena Headley’s character is decent but doesn’t mess up. She is completely overshadowed by Karl Urban. His take on the character is better than Stallone. He’s twice as brutal and more tuned into it. Fans of the character will truly enjoy his depiction as it is clearly the highlight of this.
The problem with any remake is that it will be compared to its counterpart. Dredd is slightly better than the other. Dredd is one of the few re-imaginings that does the story better than the prior. This outlook on the world of Dredd nails the character as it is a better interpretation on the comic book. Its not great but it is good enough to warrant adding it to your video collections.
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