Dredd 3D

“Dredd 3D” is the story of a heavily armed, stoic police officer, set in a dystopian future where officers of the law are referred to as “Judges” due to their authority to immediately pass sentence on criminals – including death sentences. When Judge Dredd and the rookie he’s evaluating get called to a triple homicide, they wind up discovering the manufacturing center of a drug that’s been plaguing the city: Slo-Mo.

A relentless, remorseless cleansing effort ensues.

“Dredd 3D” is dark, gritty, violent, bleak, brutal and deadly serious. Fun for the whole family, and good for kids of all ages!

Judge Dredd is a long running character from the British Science Fiction anthology “2000 AD”. He notably made it to the silver screen previously in 1995 in Sylvester Stallone’s unintentional comedy “Judge Dredd”.

Here, with Karl Urban of “Star Trek” fame under the helmet, Dredd takes on a darker tone more befitting the character. He’s an urelenting, unforgiving force for justice. Heavily armored and carrying a gun equipped with a wide array of ammunition options, Dredd marches forward, dispassionately dispatching any criminals who cross his path. He’s the very embodiment of law enforcement.

He’s given a rookie (Olivia Thirlby) named Anderson to evaluate… a mutant psychic. She narrowly failed her placement exams, but her psychic abilities make her an appealing candidate to the Hall of Justice nonetheless. Overwhelmed with potential calls to respond to, the rookie selects a triple homicide at a high-rise known as “Peach Trees”. The two quickly learn that the high-rise is under the control of gang lord and drug kingpin Madeline Madrigal (Lena Headey). Ma-Ma controls the manufacture and distribution of the drug Slo-Mo, which is currently causing an epidemic in the city. Slo-Mo makes the human brain experience the passage of time at 1/100th its normal speed. She committed the homicide that drew the judge’s attention by having her henchmen give the drug to three people who had crossed her and then throw them over the 200 story balcony. The drug would cause them to experience the fall much, much more slowly; inifnitely prolonging the moment of their death. Killing them in this way would deliver the message of intimidation to the other residents of the complex.

Once Dredd and Anderson discover what’s going on, they begin their march to the top floor in order to administer justice. Along the way they experience no shortage of well armed resistance, and small theatre warfare ensues.

Like its central character, “Dredd 3D” is a singularly minded film. It sets a tone, quickly establishes a world and its central character, and then devotes the rest of its time to extensive shoot outs and the remorseless dispatching of justice. It’s the ultimate zero tolerance fantasy. Criminals, once identified, are sentenced to lengthy jail sentences for minor offences, and death for more serious ones. And Dredd is not shy about dispensing the death sentences, either. There are a number of executions, there are a number of people killed in shootouts… this is a very violent movie, with a high body count. It’s a serious, R rated, bad ass action movie.

Which I appreciated, very much. In spite of glaring similarities to this year’s “The Raid: Redemption”, “Dredd 3D” carves a unique spot for itself with its tone and its lead character. The Slo-Mo plot device gives plenty of opportunity for the inclusion slow motion sequences, which were very well done, and add a touch of style to the proceedings. They also give a great opportunity to really show off the movie’s excellent 3D. The plot here is very basic, there’s not a lot of complexity to the characters, either, although the rookie psychic, Anderson, is given some decent development. But there doesn’t need to be a lot of nuance here. It may be pretty basic, but it’s all very solid, and then they let the well made gun fights take center stage.

Highly recommended for fans of the character, or for anyone interested in a dark action film.


42 thoughts on “Dredd 3D

  1. Oh, Hell YES! The perfect family fare, alright… if we’re talking Sarah Connors’ ;-). Loved this film. Yes, it does share a similar trapped motif with THE RAID: REDEMPTION, but they remain distinctly different (outside of the profuse perspiration). As violent as this was, I wouldn’t be surprised if they disc release an UNRATED version. I really enjoyed this; it’s everything Stallone’s wasn’t. Fine review. Thanks, Fogs.

    • No problem, man, my pleasure!

      I agree, I enjoyed it quite a bit. I was tempted to grade it even higher actually, just based on my enjoyment factor, but…

      Its not exactly deep or anything. LOL Thats alright, it delivers exactly what the premise promises. A lot of hard boiled, hard nosed crime eradication. 😀

    • Sure. It’s not always “in your face”, but there are some times when the 3d is really brought to the fore. Primarily during the Slo-Mo sequences. Due to the fact that time slows to such a degree, the film takes the opportunity to really stop things and show like smoke drifting, or water particles, etc etc… and the 3d really pops. There are also some excellent moments involving the height of the tower and the fall from the 200th floor. This is a decent one to see in 3d, from what I read it was natively shot in 3d, Ian, not added in post…

      • Sounds good. I figure, if this stupid fad is sticking around anyways, filmmakers may as well be using it right but only Cameron so far has been able to.

      • Yeah, and that’s usually the problem. Its simply not needed, and honestly its hardly noticeable. The problem was that when Avatar came out, everyone went on about how it was subtly able to use 3D and used it for depth instead of gimmicks.
        Unfortunately, no one was able to pull it off and so what we got were a bunch of films with pointless 3D which doesn’t even register with audiences. It just makes the picture dimmer and less focused.
        Every once in a while I will throw in my Avatar 3D bluray just to be reminded that someone actually managed to get it right at least once.

      • Well, I certainly wouldnt recommend basing your decision on the 3D. It’s a pretty cool dark cop flick, kind of a futuristic Drity Harry/Death Wish style movie.

        3D, to me, is enjoyable when done right. It can add a bit more visual pizazz to the movie. Unfortunately, few films actually utilize it well…

        This one does a decent job with it though!

  2. I found it a bit more compelling having been a bit of a Dredd fan and a vilifier of the misbegotten Stallone effort. Urban sets an iconic benchmark for badasses and its good to see an adaption hold true to the character!

    • I was flirting with going A- with it actually, but I decided to err on the side of caution. LOL.

      Much closer to going higher with the grade than I was with going lower. Very enjoyable. I can see how fans of the character would be pleased!

  3. Chicken. This is clearly an A. You said it yourself.

    “Dredd 3D” is dark, gritty, violent, bleak, brutal and deadly serious. Fun for the whole family, and good for kids of all ages!


    “It sets a tone, quickly establishes a world and its central character, and then devotes the rest of its time to extensive shoot outs and the remorseless dispatching of justice. It’s the ultimate zero tolerance fantasy.”

    What else do you need the movie to do for you. Embrace your emotional reaction and love this movie the way I do. If hate (HATES) gets an F, then Dredd needs the A. Give in to your dark side and let it flow through you.




      I had a lot of fun with it, I really did. And it was borderline between an A- and a B+, I’ll give you that.

      But it was a little too simple for me to go a range grade with it. And felt too much like “The Raid”. It was really good , though. I certainly wont knock anyone who wants to grade it out higher than I did. LOL

  4. Until about halfway through your review, I thought your opening paragraph was making a comment on the comic-to-film genre overusing slow motion sequences.

    So, there’s seriously a drug that’s running the streets called slo-mo? And when people use it, they use slow motion sequences? I haven’t read much Dredd stuff, is that from the comics, or is that a Community-esque meta-joke for comic-film fans? Has anyone explained said joke to Zack Snyder, before he stamps his approval on the editing of Man of Steel? (Just kidding of course, I actually enjoy his Let’s-Make-the-Comic-the-Storyboard-and-use-Slow-Motion-on-Every-Memorable-Panel Technique, no matter how overused it is)

    Also, comparing this to “The Raid”, for me, gives it a must-see-this-week boost. I’ve been wishing I could’ve been able to catch the Raid in theatres, but it never came ’round these parts.

    • LOL. Have a few issues with Mr Snyder, do ya? Wait til he shows us how great Superman is gonna look in slow-mo! 😀 LOL Gahwd.

      I havent read ANY Dredd, so I cant comment on comics-to-film stuff at all. I will say this though, the concept of Slo-Mo (the drug) helps them integrate slow-mo (the film technique) very well. They play their hand nicely.

      Meanwhile, I do have to caution on the raid similarities… I was asked that on twitter, too. The PLOT has a lot of similarities. Essentially both are about law enforcement raids on a high rise building with the chief criminal at the top and a bunch of armored stooges in between and no way out.

      Aside from that though, thats where the similarities end. The Raid’s action sequences were 10x better than these… but then again, few movies can compare to that one, action wise. LOL

  5. Excellent 3D? Perhaps I forgot to put my glasses on, but I thought the 3D here was pointless. In amongst all the other 3D fare we’ve had this year.

    One of my friends who I went to see this with said, at films end, that this was basically The Raid. (Which I really need to get around to seeing!)

    It was ok for me. Not great. Not bad. The slo-mo shots were used a bit too much, in my opinion. There just wasn’t enough to grab me with this film. It brought no emotion out of me. Which is never a good thing.

    • Wellllllll…. thats one of the things I hate about 3D Jaina. It’s inconsistent. Even within the same movie. My podcast partner, Tank, was pretty psyched about the 3d, too. But I’m not saying you’re wrong at all… because maybe in your theatre, the projection was a little off. Or you sat at a different angle… or… I have no idea, but the point is that 3d quality can vary from one theatre to the next on the same movie!!

      And that sucks… the 3d was pretty good here, though, I have to say.

      Meanwhile, no chance at my top ten, I’ll say. But I did seem to have a little more fun than you did. I thought this was very entertaining!!

  6. This movie was so much fun and I don’t know anyone that has seen it and been disappointed. Too bad it performed so poorly in the box office. I don’t think the trailer did it enough justice by making him appear robotic when he really was a pretty good character. The 3D slo-mo sequences were pretty cool. Nice write up!

    • I blame the trailers too, Roch. NO DOUBT. I have some crow to eat on my podcast tonight because I’ve been saying for weeks now that I thought this movie would stink… based on the marketing that was presented to me. I cant blame others for thinking the same way I did and then staying away.

      The truth was though that this movie WAS a lot of fun. If I were Reliance, I’d be putting a secondary wave of marketing into effect right now with all the positive blurbs they can grab, plus a recut trailer focusing on the shootin’s !! 😀

  7. “Judge Dredd” starring Sylvester Stallone is absolutely terrible, but it has always been a guilty pleasure of mine. Plus, it was my first exposure to the character. I know this won’t have the cheese factor of Stallone’s version, but I am looking forward to checking it out.

    • Oh, man. The cheese factor here is literally 0%. I dont think there’s even a moment where someone would say it was cheesy. They took some serious care to make sure that this movie was stright faced and serious as could be.

      And I did wind up watching good portions of “Judge Dredd” Saturday. It was on right after I finished this review, how could I not?

  8. I was totally blown away by this despite my initial fears of it being too Raid-esque. I so wish this would have done better over the weekend so we could see more of this world only glimpsed at in the beginning. Urban rocked it, and memories of the Stallone crap-fest were utterly annihilated……well not completely.

    • LOL. No, no exercising those demons entirely. 😀 Stallone’s Dredd will forever live in infamy. Gold plated shoulder pads and all. LOL

      This was really good… but I’m not shocked how poorly it did. The marketing was terrible. Who knows though. Nowadays with overseas grosses, blu and DVD, we might get a sequel yet!

  9. Been seeing generally-positive reviews of this all over the place. I’ll admit I’m just a little surprised; from the trailers, I thought we were in for another cheese-fest. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to make it to the theatre for this one, but I’ll add it to my viewing list (not that it wasn’t likely to make it regardless, being a comic book film.)

  10. Well damn, you’ve sold me on this one. Do you think this film will lose anything by not seeing it in 3D? I’d prefer not to unless it’s really necessary.

    • No, this one got a B+. Trouble got a B-. There’s a difference in there. People will read B+ as “Bordering on an A range movie”, while a B- is “Just better than the C range”

      Hard NOT to compare this to “The Raid” if you’ve seen ’em both! I mean, geez, the similarities were overwhelming in the overall plot, no? If the Raid had a psychic cop, this movie would have been a huge ripoff! LOL

      They’re different, of course, but the plot is sooooo similar.

  11. I wanted to se this. But I was tired, grumpy, and didn’t feel good so I skipped it opening weekend and my roommate went. He liked it. I think I would like it. I wanted to go the second weekend. I was already down to ONE showing. Not just one showing in each theater, but ONE showing in the entire city. At 9:30 at night. I wanted to go to the cheap 5$ before noon showing. I hear that the changes rather ignored some of the things form the comics. And the fan boys were upset that word got around FAST. So that in the end it bombed worse that Sly’s version. At the same time, I’m hearing that is it a better movie all around and would have done well if there had never been a popular comic behind it.

    • Its definitely more solid than the Stallone version, I thought that it was pretty decent.

      As to whether or not it bombed… yeah, I’m seeing a $23 mil gross on a $50 mil budget. That’s a super flop. It’s bad. LOL

      Still, it was a decent enough movie. If you get a chance when it hits home market, its a decent enough watch then. 😀

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