So how does this film compare to the original? RAMA is here to let us know.
We need to thank scribe Alex Garland and director Peter Travis for making a badass DREDD movie that would erase those cheesy Sly Stallone Dredd moments from our memory forever. DREDD 3D is hardcore, visceral, and no-holds barred. With stunning slo-mo sequences and stylish ultra-realistic 3D, the violence becomes something that’s irresistible. The level of fun that DREDD 3D offers is kind of like Punisher: War Zone, and by that I mean, this movie does its job, serves its purposes and satisfied R-rated action fans everywhere…
The future America is an irradiated waste land. On its East Coast, running from Boston to Washington DC, lies Mega City One- a vast, violent metropolis where criminals rule the chaotic streets. The only force of order lies with the urban cops called “Judges” who possess the combined powers of judge, jury and instant executioner. Known and feared throughout the city, Dredd (Karl Urban) is the ultimate Judge, challenged with ridding the city of its latest scourge – a dangerous drug epidemic that has users of “Slo-Mo” experiencing reality at a fraction of its normal speed. During a routine day on the job, Dredd is assigned to train and evaluate Cassandra Anderson (Olivia Thirlby), a rookie with powerful psychic abilities thanks to a genetic mutation. A heinous crime calls them to a neighborhood where fellow Judges rarely dare to venture- a 200 story vertical slum controlled by prostitute turned drug lord Ma-Ma (Lena Headey) and her ruthless clan. When they capture one of the clan’s inner circle, Ma-Ma overtakes the compound’s control center and wages a dirty, vicious war against the Judges that proves she will stop at nothing to protect her empire. With the body count climbing and no way out, Dredd and Anderson must confront the odds and engage in the relentless battle for their survival.
I know a lot of people doubted this reboot because they still remember Sly Stallone’s cheesy version in the ’90s where he, as Dredd, even revealed his face, but this new take by Garland, stays faithful to the material and the character never removes his helmet. Garland and Travis worked closely with creators of the graphic novel, John Wagner and illustrator Carlos Ezquerra, so that should give fans some assurance. The looks for Mega City One is unbelievably harrowing, kinda like the slums of a few third world big cities the world is familiar with today. Chaos and society’s decay, everything is so jampacked which makes it difficult for the judges from Hall Of Justice to do their job. But some of the situations, even though set in the future, are not too different from what we face today, such matters as gang violence and police corruption.
The gang in DREDD 3D is led by former prostitute Ma-Ma who produces and distributes Slo-Mo drug which decelerates the normal pace of life to 1% of its usual speed. So the filmmakers went out of their way to make sure you the audience could experience that time and space high feeling that’s oddly attractive. You can notice the ripple effect, the bullet going through one cheek, going out the other, water drops, which in a way makes the death scenes even harder to watch because you know what’s coming up after those deceitful slo-mo that make one thinks that everything is just beautiful and surreal. I think the movie does a great job of showcasing those aspects. DREDD 3D is supposed to be about a normal training day duty but then it turns into a survival situation that mimics The Raid Redemption, where countless baddies, in an enclosed environment, hunt down a few good guys running out of ammo, thinking of ways to defend themselves.
The judges, especially DREDD, are people that you’d like to see rid our streets of the slums of the earth, but they’re also the people you don’t want on the street looking for you. DREDD sees everything black and white, he takes matter into his own hand, he walks between the thin line of hero and anti-hero and that is made even more obvious by the presence of his rookie partner, Judge Anderson who has psychic abilities, so she has deeper understanding of a person, unlike Dredd who keeps all his emotions and past repressed. Dredd enforces judgment as he sees fit, while Anderson represents us the audience wondering if some of those judgments are justified. So if you see it from that point of view, there story is more complex than meets the eye. Urban does an outstanding job as Dredd, it’s challenging because he can never take his helmet off, so how do you show emotions of concern or doubt when the audiences are not allowed to see your eyes?! So Urban brings as much dynamism as possible to this man of a few words.
Olivia Thirlby who plays Anderson, can keep up with Urban, she shows maturity for her age, you can sense the sorrow that her character feels in other people. Who knew that Lena Headey could be so ruthless as gang leader Ma-Ma, she doesn’t care about anybody, she will do whatever her heart desires and she finds joy in taking lives in all sorts of diabolical ways. DREDD 3D may have significant amount of one-liners that may amuse you, but don’t let that turn you off. Embrace this dark, gritty dystopia and the ferocious, relentless story that Garland and Travis have designed, whether or not you agree with Dredd’s methods, this dangerous future knows no boundaries and it can only be handled by DREDD 3D. For he is the law and it is.. judgment time!
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