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Dredd 3D

Dredd 3D: Justice is Finally Served

  • Karl UrbanOlivia Thirlby...
  • 3DAction & Adventure...
  • Pete Travis
reviewed by
Marija Loncarevic
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Dredd 3D: Justice is Finally Served
One of the best-known British home-grown comic characters, Judge Joseph Dredd, didn’t really get a chance to shine in Danny Cannon’s ridiculous sci-fi action Judge Dredd, back in 1995. 

In the latest re-embodiment of the famous street judge – from director Pete Travis and creator and screenwriter John Wagner – the lawmaker regains his momentum and is now standing a lot prouder and healthier than the first time around.

Set in a more violent and grim future, America is nothing but a wasteland and the streets are no longer patrolled by ordinary police officers. The surveillance control has been handed over to the merciless judges; who have the right to carry out arrests, hand out sentences and execute the guilty-when needed. 

Dredd (Urban) is one of the most feared and experienced judges out there and he makes a perfect choice of a mentor for rookie judge trainee, Cassandra Anderson (Thirlby).  A ‘mutant’ whose unparalleled psychic abilities might come in handy in their fight against crime, Cassandra’s future as a street judge looks promising. 

Much like Training Day (2001) – minus the special effects – the duo goes out on a routine surveillance; their first and only stop, after having heard reports of a gangland killing, is at the Peach Trees block; an area controlled by notorious kingpin, Madeline Madrigal (Headey), aka Ma-Ma, whose ‘Slo-Mo’ drug is quickly becoming the hottest new commodity in the city.  In order to retain control, Ma-Ma quickly orders a block lock-down, forcing the two judges to fight their way up a two-hundred floor structure.

With a vastly improved storyline and a much darker tone, Dredd is a significant step up from the dismal Stallone adaptation seventeen years ago.  Its simplicity and elegance are the film’s greatest strengths and it manages to keep things tight. 

The action is compelling, bloody and in-your-face, and the 3D effect definitely serves to enhance rather than obstruct the enjoyment of the huge number of explosive scenes. The 3D particularly stands out within the context of the ‘Slo-Mo’ drug; its creativity peaks in showing the drug’s effects on those who are taking it.

As a ferocious Judge Dredd, Urban stays true to the comic-book character.  He is relentless, unforgiving and compelling; unlike his forerunner, he never removes his helmet.  The judge-in-training, Thirlby, keeps up with the pace pretty well and in the role of Ma-Ma, Headey creates a vicious monster who has no time for sympathy.

On the downside, Dredd lacks conviction and originality and the deficient budget occasionally shows through. The story lags in the middle, while the ending – which held a promise of a stronger and tougher face-off – seems rushed.

Violent and straight to the point, Dredd 3D is perfectly enjoyable and worth watching.  Shaking off the disappointment of its predecessor, Dredd 3D successfully manages to warrant itself for another sequel.

Like This? Try

Judge Dredd (1995), The Raid: Redemption (2011), Die Hard (1988)

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The Peach Tree block is named after a restaurant in Shrewsbury, UK – the place where screenwriter Alex Garland and Judge Dredd creator, John Wagner, first met to discuss the film.

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