Movies: Dredd

I really like Karl Urban. But I would have liked this movie more if I could've seen the rest of his face.

I know that goes against the character. Though I've never read it, I'm reliably informed Dredd does a good job staying true to the tone of the comic book series on which it is based. I've also been told it's much better than the Stallone film (which I never saw, but replacing Rob Schneider with Olivia Thirlby for sidekick probably goes a long way toward making this one better than the other).

For the uninitiated, Dredd is the story of a post-apocalyptic dystopian society (here set definitively in America, though I'm led to believe the comic is less particular). Justice is maintained as best as possible by Judges, which are like cops only more empowered to, like, execute people on the spot. Urban plays the titular Judge Dredd, Thirlby a psychic rookie named Anderson out for a day of fun evaluation to see if she's fit for duty as a Judge. But things go south when they respond to a triple homicide and arrest the underling of a drug lord known as Ma-Ma (played by Game of Throne's Lena Headey, doing a very similar kind of thing here in being nasty and ruthless). Ma-Ma doesn't want her guy interrogated because then he'll spill her secrets. So she locks down the highrise they're in and sets her people out to hunt down Dredd and Anderson.

What follows is the expected shootouts and violence. Nothing that really requires anyone's full attention  because there's nothing much to miss. While visually gritty in a way that brings to mind Bladerunner (though Bladerunner was slicker looking, more oily in a way), the plot is pretty basic and doesn't require much brain power. Though it's nice that Anderson is not just some squeamish girly who relies on Dredd to protect and save her.

One thing I didn't much like was the guttural way Urban used of speaking throughout the movie. Again, I know that probably has more to do with interpretation of the character of Dredd, but it was too Christian Bale's Batman for my taste. Maybe he was trying to cover his accent?

All told, a so-so film that I wouldn't necessarily recommend but wouldn't warn anyone off from either. If there was meant to be a social commentary of some kind, it fell through the cracks created by all the shooting. But if one is looking for solid mindless entertainment, Dredd suits admirably.

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