Drew Turney

There are probably two kinds of people when it comes to watching a second Judge Dredd movie. The first are hardcore fans of the comic who were ready to storm the gates of Disney (owner of the Hollywood Pictures-badged film) with pitchforks and flaming torches demanding Sylvester Stallone’s hide after Danny Cannon’s abysmal 1995 effort, ”Judge Dredd”.

It was bad enough that his contract seemed to specify that he spend at least 50 percent of the film unmasked when Dredd’s trademark is that he never removes the helmet, but we had to endure a mugging Rob Schneider too, like it was an Adam Sandler comedy?

The second kind is the film fan who loves his or her action adventure flicks, endured the Stallone-starring bile and subsequently decided to give this remake a wide berth.

Like an incoming government after a bad recession, Pete Travis (”Vantage Point”) does all he can do to rectify a past that wasn’t his fault. All we see of Karl Urban as Dredd is his scowling mouth. There are no comic touches or cute quips. And it’s the true dystopia out of the comic, not a PG-rated one without any blood or violence. As the criminal matriarch Ma-Ma (Lena Headey) instructs her minions at one point regarding some captured enemies, ‘skin them and toss them over the balcony’.

Taking a rookie (Olivia Thirlby) under his wing who seems to have no skills apart from psychic powers, Dredd visits one of the city’s gigantic, self-contained, drug-riddled and impoverished apartment blocks to look into the grisly killings mentioned above.

Once there, the forces of gang lord Ma-Ma have the building shut up tight, with Dredd and his young cohort locked inside, hunted down like rats and running low on ammunition. The cat and mouse game sees goons blown away ten to the dozen in spectacularly bloody fashion, including a visually inventive drug den shootout and helicopter middy guns strapped to balconies to obliterate the halls across the gigantic interior space of the apartment block.

Director Travis uses the sequences of the designer drug Slo-Mo to really cut loose, representing the ultra-slow sensory input and lurid colours of the environment experienced by the taker. Otherwise it’s a bleak and violent vision that cleaves close to the source material and will come close to scouring the last vestiges of the Stallone version out of your brain.

Blu-ray details/extras : An excellent audio and video transfer is accompanied by a ‘helmet’ full of extras, including about 6 featuretes and a motion comic.

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Drew Turney

An Australian-based film critic and celebrity interviewer now based in Los Angeles, California.

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