By: James Roach, Guest Writer
Dreadfully Violent and Dreadfully Pointless
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“Dredd 3D” will be able to join the ranks of other 2012 remakes and reboots like “Three Stooges,” “Dark Shadows” and “Total Recall” as an utter disappointment.
Director Pete Travis (“Endgame,” “Vantage Point”) decided to not only remake 1995’s “Judge Dredd” which starred Sylvester Stallone and was based on a popular comic, but also to hop on the new technology bandwagon and make it in 3D with the help of Slumdog Millionaires cinematographer, Anthony Dod Mantle. However, no amount of special effects can make up for poor character development, bad acting and large plot-holes.
Karl Urban (“Star Trek,” and “Red”) fumbles in the role of Judge Dredd. Urban never takes his helmet off, a staple trait of the comic character, but on screen it makes him wooden and disconnected.
Urban’s co-star is indie actress Olivia Thirlby — known for her supporting role in “Juno.” Thirlby plays a cadet named Anderson, a mutant with psychic abilities in a world where mutants are heavily discriminated against. Dredd is asked to give the barely failed cadet a final evaluation.
The biggest problem in “Dredd 3D” is its title character. Judge Dredd is without backstory, flaws or emotion making him difficult to connect with. Instead, the movie becomes all about the many-layered and flawed Anderson.
Thirlby did a spectacular job playing Anderson, and brought many dimensions to the character. Urban — as good an actor as he is — didn’t seem to be utilized as well as he could have been.
In the end, he became another stereotypical anti-hero with a gravelly voice and anger issues.
Even the gang leader, Ma-Ma, (Lena Headey, “Game of Thrones,” “Terminator: The Sarah Conner Chronicles”) outplayed Dredd, whom the movie should have been all about.
The dystopian buddy cop film takes place in Mega City One — the area stretching from Boston to Washington D.C. and centers on a new street called Slo-Mo which makes the user feel as though time has slowed dramatically.
The special effects team must have been ecstatic when they read the script. The film is laden with slowed down scenes in which blood sparkles and skin ripples with movement.
The problem with doing scenes in slow motion is that they are slow motion scenes in a fast-paced action film. An action scene should take perhaps 15 seconds rather than the 30 second Slo-Mo version.
However, in a Slo-Mo scene the full effect of watching a bullet fly out of a gun, into a guy’s cheek, and explode out of the other side of his head is really cool.
Which begs the question – was it truly necessary? Quick answer, yes, but when it is done over and over again it becomes boring.
The movie advances at a nice pace, but after about an hour, it is easy to feel claustrophobic from the small hallways and grayed-out concrete walls.
Trapped-in-a-building style movies have been done before, but usually include periodic shots of what is happening outside to break it up. “Dredd” lacked that sort of break entirely.
However, “Dredd 3D” does have some good things going for it. Costuming was done very well, and it allowed the movie to feel more real, if not believable at times, as opposed to Stallone’s version, where everything was shiny and never got any blood on it.
Who should go see this movie? Men, but not just any men — men who love explosions, but have enough restraint to wait to see the movie at the dollar theatre.
A whole bro’s night out could be made of it; steak, beer, then an hour and 20 minutes of slow motion shots of a couple of guys’ head blowing up to make the night complete.
Now, the one great thing to say about Dredd is it does follow the original comic quite well. For the original comic fans out there, Dredd would be a must see. He never takes his helmet off, delivers quick dead-pan one-liners, and never changes emotion.
The CNM Chronicle gives “Dredd 3D” two banged-up Judge Helmets out of five.