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Dredd 3D by Directed by Pete Travis
Review by Charles Mohapel
Lionsgate Movie  ISBN/ITEM#: CM121001DREDD3D
Date: 01 October 2012

Links: IMDB.com / IMDB.com - Plot Summary / Show Official Info /

British comic book fans and fans from other countries who like British comic books have known the name of Judge Dredd long before the 1995 film starring Sylvester Stallone, Armand Assante, Rob Schneider, Jurgen Prochnow, Max von Sydow, and Diane Lane. Having collected the three DC titles which collected the weekly black and white comic strips seen in the UK, then colorized and released monthly in the US, I found the poorly received Stallone film to be entertaining but not true to the source. This is my review of 2012's Dredd 3D.

Director: Pete Travis

Writers: (in alphabetical order):
Carlos Ezquerra (characters)
Alex Garland (screenplay)
John Wagner (characters)

Cast (in credits order):
Karl Urban ... Judge Dredd
Rachel Wood ... Control Operator 1
Andile Mngadi ... Passenger
Porteus Xandau Steenkamp ... Driver
Jason Cope ... Zwirner
Emma Breschi ... Hostage
Olivia Thirlby ... Anderson
Rakie Ayola ... Chief Judge
Lena Headey ... Ma-Ma
Tamer Burjaq ... Ma-Ma Bodyguard
Warrick Grier ... Caleb

Dredd 3D begins with the gruff, no nonsense Judge Dredd (Karl Urban) being assigned a very marginal probationary Judge named Cassandra Anderson (Olivia Thirlby) for assessment by the Chief Judge who tells him that Anderson is a powerful psychic whose abilities are due to a genetic mutation induced by the radiation that led to the creation of Mega City One.

Dredd and Anderson respond to a call in Peach Trees, the notorious 200 story high-rise slum tower controlled by former prostitute-turned-drug-lord, Ma-Ma (Lena Headey) and discover the bodies of the three independent drug dealers who encroached on Ma-Ma's turf and were forcibly given a new drug called "Slo-Mo", skinned alive, and thrown into the atrium from Ma-Ma's headquarters on the 200th floor to send a very public message to any other would be challengers to her criminal empire.

When Dredd and Anderson begin the search for the culprit or culprits, they capture Kay, one of Ma-Ma's inner circle. When Ma-Ma realizes that Kay is not dead but has been taken into custody for interrogation, she seizes the tower's control center and puts the tower into lockdown so that she can kill both judges. Utterly ruthless, she and her henchmen turn what looks like three 20mm M61 Vulcan Gatling-style rotary cannons on the floor where Dredd and Anderson have taken shelter with their prisoner. The trio of cannons destroy that side of the floor, causing numerous casualties, but only wounding the Judges.

Unlike the 1995 film Judge Dredd which featured a talented, well known, and well respected cast, Dredd 3D had only two actors whose work I knew well. I had seen Karl Urban as Cupid and Julius Caesar in Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and Xena: Warrior Princess on TV; Eomer, Prince of Rohan, in The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King; Vaako in The Chronicles of Riddick; Dr. Leonard 'Bones' McCoy in the 2009 film Star Trek; and William Cooper in Red. Lena Headey had impressed me as Queen Gorgo in the film 300 and on TV as Sarah Connor in Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles.

Despite being mildly annoyed by what I felt was the superfluous use of 3D early on in the film, I can honestly say that it grew on me. Shot in Cape Town and Johannesburg, South Africa with an estimated budget of $45,000,000 (IMDB.com), Dredd 3D is likely to do well enough at the box office that rumor has it that a sequel featuring Judge Death will be made.

Realistically, this film is most definitely NOT suitable for children under 18, nor for the faint of heart or weak of stomach. This is evidenced by the film's MPAA rating of "R for strong bloody violence, language, drug use and some sexual content". I'd love to watch this film again, and also anticipate the Blu-ray with all the bonus features.

Best of all, Dredd also comes in a 2D version for those who have difficulties watching a film in 3D.

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