Dredd is the answer to the future question How many judges do you need to rule a metropolis like Mega City One?
The brutal and incorruptible cop/judge/executioner goes into one of the city’s big apartment complexes alone to investigate a triple homicide.
Well, it’s not alone but accompanied by a young psychic girl able to read the thoughts of others.
She is on her first field experience, and this long day of violence will decide if she deserves the badge.
The work immediately takes a turn for the worse, and they become prisoners in the building.
Along with them, dozens of criminals, assassins, and drug dealers eager to kill them to protect a new drug slowing time and senses.
Under the command of a ruthless woman living at the top 200 floors armored by security systems, the war begins.
They will have to climb the food chain of that meat grinder to bring her down from the throne.
Judge Dredd will have to resort to all his experience and all the bullets in his futuristic multifunction gun to get to the top.
And by his side, the young girl, still innocent and eager to do good, will have to wonder if this is the job for her.
Once upon a time, in the distant future…
Dredd is a sci-fi action and dystopia crime movie, brutal and violent, with a tremendous dark urban decadence atmosphere.
Luckily it is very different from the 1995 film with Sylvester Stallone. Indeed, Mega City One was too colorful, stupid, and confusing to have the necessary pathos.
The judge is almost a fascist character, utterly faithful to the rules without any empathy or piety towards others.
This fierce king reigns and protects the law behind his de-humanizing mask. A mask almost without a face, showing only Karl Urban jaw closed and his mouth bent in a ferocious grin.
It’s much more interesting the character of Olivia Thirlby. Indeed, the mind-reader girl following him uncertain about justice and the concept of good or evil.
Initially seeming weak, she will show strength for the job ahead, managing to stand up to the stubborn Judge Dredd.
Finally, outstanding and beautiful also Lena Headey as a criminal boss woman with a face and soul disfigured.
Many of you may remember her in 300 as Leonidas’ wife, defending her husband while fighting the Persians at Thermopylae.
Talent is more important than an high budget
The two directors build a miniature world inside another larger one.
Even if they don’t have the special effects or Armani’s armor from the 1995 movie, the result is remarkable.
What matters is the substance and not the first sight appearance, and their care for every little detail is perfect.
The Mega City One ambient is dirty and illuminated with striking green or red lights, poor yet equally deliciously high tech.
The same applies to costumes and characters’ faces, credible and authentic as the criminal of a world that must come.
It is a future where the strongest and ruthless will dominate the weakest with drugs and corruption in the police.
Sadly, Dredd was a commercial flop, making less box office money than his production cost.
However, a small (but not so much) circle of affectionate people has been clamoring for a sequel for years.
Someone talked about a series always with Urban’s protagonist, but we no longer hear ‘news for too long now.
Waiting and hoping, we still can continue to appreciate and have fun with this great action movie of 2012.