‘Dredd 3D’ is the latest adaptation of 2000 AD’s iconic lawman dispensing justice as both judge, jury and executioner in the fractured, future landscape of Mega City One.
Unlike what you might have seen before, this is the real Judge Dredd ; the original Judge Dredd who is thin, wiry, gruff and taciturn and whose iconic helmet stays resolutely on throughout. In the lead role, actor Karl Urban gets this. He understands the stature of the role and gives good ‘chin’ as the fanboys might say. Unlike Stallone’s adaptation, Urban’s Dredd is not a domineering presence but a determined one and this time he’s brought company.
... Similar to ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’, ‘Dredd 3D’ subverts your expectations.
In ‘Dredd 3D’, screenwriter Alex Garland (’28 Days Later’, ‘Sunshine’ and ‘Ex Machina’) saves us from a sanitised origin storyline and instead goes for realism and brutality in this shamelessly ‘R’ rated feature. Similar to the recent ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’, ‘Dredd 3D’ subverts your expectations. Instead of a he-man super hero, Dredd’s ‘Training Day’ storyline throws up a different hero, that in the shape of another feminist icon: Judge Cassandra Anderson. Played by the superbly cast Olivia Thirby, it’s her first day and she’s under assessment. However as the movie continues you’ll be delighted to find out that ‘Dredd 3D’ is more about her growth and development than Dredd’s. With her own opinions and value set, Anderson is no victim and nor is her character there merely as token support.
Looking back, few 3D movies actually work. Even less break into a sweat, creatively-speaking but ‘Dredd 3D’ is different. Unlike most 3D movies where the effect is grafted-on after birth, Dredd was shot intentionally in 3D and it uses this technique to not only to enhance the visuals but also inform the story.
Shot in South Africa and away from Hollywood’s bean counters, ‘Dredd 3D’s’ production followed its own course. Forged in the fire of real passion and and made by clear comic book devotees, ‘Dredd 3D’ clearly breaks new ground in the same way Alex Proyas’ ‘The Crow’ did for comic book adaptations. Maybe now with the success of ‘Deadpool’ Hollywood might re-evaluate the potential of this ‘R’ rated movie and grant it the sequel it so richly deserves. The cursed earth and its many published tales lie beyond.