Monday, October 22, 2012

Dredd 3D (2012)

**This review contains spoilers**

In the future, Judges police Mega-City One, a violent and unruly metropolis, containing eight-hundred million people. Having the power of judge, jury, and executioner, the Judges try to control the endless outbreaks of carnage. One day, in an attempt to bring down the vicious drug lord known as Ma-Ma (Lena Headey), Judge Dredd (Karl Urban) infiltrates a slum apartment building with the help of a rookie Judge. Judge Cassandra Anderson (Olivia Thirlby) is a mutant, who possesses psychic powers, but her lack of experience as a Judge becomes a problem.

Dredd and Anderson try to secure one of  Ma-Ma’s more important gang members. Kay (Wood Harris) is one of Ma-Ma’s trusted clansman. Dredd and Anderson prepare to leave with Kay, but they run into some unexpected trouble. Ma-Ma locks the Judges inside the apartment building, and she instantly orders a hit. Ma-Ma controls the distribution of Slo-Mo, an addictive drug that provides a powerful slow motion experience for the user, and Kay’s testimony could destroy her empire. Ma-Ma will do anything to kill Dredd and Anderson, so the two Judges will have to fight their way through the apartment building, and survive relentless attacks from Ma-Ma‘s henchmen and other residents.

I couldn’t stand Vantage Point, but Pete Travis’ directing for Dredd is outstanding. His style is raw and gritty, and Travis creates the perfect desolate atmosphere for this film. And the 3D effects are simply amazing. The effects from the Slo-Mo drug are breathtaking in 3D, and Dredd is loaded with impressive visuals.

Karl Urban’s serious and straightforward performance as Dredd is enjoyable. Plus, leaving the helmet on for the entire film was a nice touch, because the helmet adds more mystique to the Dredd character. Olivia Thirlbly and Wood Harris provide a pair of solid performances, but I have mixed feelings for Lena Headey’s Ma-Ma. Headey’s physical appearance (the scars, the scruffy hairdo, the tattoos, her dirty teeth) is more intimidating than her actual performance. I LOVE Headey, but she’s kind of dull as the primary antagonist.

Dredd is an action-packed thrill ride. Dredd is brutal, violent, gruesome, and the 3D effects are incredible. Dredd 3D is an exciting action/sci-fi film, and yes, it‘s better than Judge Dredd 1995.

Initially, Dredd received overwhelming amounts of praise. But when Dredd hit the US, the high rating on Rotten Tomatoes (I think it was 95%) took a huge hit, and Dredd 3D was a massive box office flop. Dredd  is outstanding, and some people (mainly internet movie geeks like myself) can’t understand the disappointing box office numbers. Well, Dredd’s failure at the box office is easy to understand for a few reasons.

1. 3D. Attaching 3D to the title off this film wasn't a good idea, especially when you put so much emphasis on the 3D effects. A lot of moviegoers won't spend the extra cash, and you can't ignore the declining profits for 3D films.

2. Stallone’s Judge Dredd is an infamous turkey. The casual moviegoer isn’t going to search the internet for the truth: Dredd is an unrelated adaptation to Stallone’s Dredd. “A remake of that awful Sylvester Stallone movie? I’m not going to spend my money on that piece of trash.” After watching the trailer, this had to be the first thought in any causal moviegoer’s mind.

3. The marketing campaign was shit. Lionsgate pushed the trailers and TV spots, but why should everyone else care about Dredd? Flooding the internet with trailers, and pushing the TV spots sounds like a good idea, but everything just felt so vague. Was Lionsgate seriously expecting to coast off of a 95% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and favorable reviews from the Toronto and San Diego Comic-Con International Film Festivals?

4. This ties in with part three, but Dredd doesn’t have mass appeal. A female antagonist isn’t enough, and most women aren’t going to watch a bloody and violent action film. Plus, Dredd 3D isn’t kid-friendly at all.

Final Rating: 8/10 

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