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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on April 1, 2006
If you review this as "another Stallone movie", you're missing the point entirely. This is an over-the-top action movie based on an over-the-top COMIC BOOK. Even if it wasn't based on a comic, it would still be a decent sci-fi epic. However, this film was RIPPED APART when it was released, which bafled me. It is very true to the comic source (almost spot-on at times), features some wicked cool visuals and earned a nice hard R rating. I left the theater loving this film, but saw reviews that destroyed it. Whatever. A great cast, twisted sense of humor and wonderful set and costume designs. I know that director Danny Cannon's carreer was all but over after this film and that's a shame. He was a Brit who loved Dredd as a kid and I remember his excitement over getting to direct "His dream project". Stallone later attacked Cannon in interviews when defending Dredd. Pathetic. One of Stallone's best as well as one of the better films released in the 90's...
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on October 13, 2003
Who couldn't like this slick, sleek, happily depraved and utterly self-contented violent romp in the near future? It's got Sly Stallone in a fine, full-bodied role as the fascistic Judge Dredd---and hey, He's the Law! You got a problem with that? You got objections, Perp? He KNEW you'd say that! (sound of Perp being knocked unceremoniously in the head by Judge Dredd's side-arm).
Let me count the ways I love Judge Dredd:
1)It's all Action, all the time---and it Looks so Good! And best of all, it's action done by a competent, experienced crew: Adrian Biddle ("Aliens", "1492", "Thelma & Louise") for cinematography, and set design by Peter Young, who did the look for "Batman" and "Sleepy Hollow".
2)It's got Armand Assante and Jurgen Prochnow as crazed, Machiavellian evil villains (Assante crazed, Prochnow Machiavellian)!
3) It's got veteran uber-actor Max von Sydow as Chief Justice Fargo, and boy the guy looks hip and happening in a trenchcoat with a big super-duper hand cannon!

4) It's got a violent Mega-City where the angry inhabitants don't have backyard barbecues, they have block wars!
5) It's got an angry War Robot designed to control crowds---with extreme prejudice! Oh, it likes to pull peoples' heads off, too.
6) It's got angry unfinished Clones, all of whom are imperfect copies of Assante!
7) Aspen, Colorado is a penal colony! What a great world!
8) It's got starlet action! A villainous Joan Chen in tight leather hotpants! It's got the genetically perfect Diane Lane as the unfortunately named Judge Hershey (I don't know. Don't ask.)!
9) It's got a periodically amusing Rob Schneider and gratuitous Balthazar Getty! It's got a family of inbred religious cannibals who make the family in "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" look like pikers---and the razor-toothed Number 1 Son has what appears to be a minute-timer embedded in his skull!
10) Finally, it's just all around fun: the chase on Lawmasters through the neon heights and aeries of Mega City One has to be seen to be believed, and it is far more enjoyable than anything in the Star Wars prequels. And in addition, it's a pretty fine adaptation of the Judge Dredd graphic novel series.
So get past your need to see 'serious' cinema, sit back, and pop "Judge Dredd" on the hopper. Besides, He's the Law----and failure to appreciate the subtle glories of this film is a Violation, Citizen---Punishment? You don't want to know.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on August 9, 2013
Judge Dredd is the first official attempt to bring the oddball British comic digest 2000 AD to the big screen, with Sylvester Stallone starring as the magazine's most visible character, Judge Dredd. This film is based heavily on the earlier Judge Dredd comics of the 70s and early 80s, and marries ultraviolent action to deadpan humor and oddball camp. Judge Dredd's evil twin brother Rico escapes from prison and plots to replace the council of judges (who de-facto run Megacity 1 by enforcing its laws) with his own patsies. Rico organizes Dredd's exile from the city, and Dredd must sneak back in against the efforts of his fellow judges and Rico's fearsome ABC warbot to bring his perp brother to justice. So far so good.

Judge Dredd also nails the universe of the comics pretty much spot on. The film's setting Megacity 1 is a ridiculous hodgepodge metropolis that seems to straddle apocolyptic squalor with bands of oblivious luxury. It is jammed with buildings and dwellings and is generally quite silly but nobody who has read the comic will miss what it is meant to be. The judges look pretty great too- the post-fascist metal eagles, chains, and other crazy motifs that bedeck their uniforms and bikes are faithfully reproduced here (the judge uniforms were custom made by Versace and supposedly account for a nontrivial part of the film's huge budget). The hellish wastes of the Cursed Earth are also represented and they are appropriately desert-ey and cannibal-filled.

At this point you may be wondering what everyone's problem with this film is, and the answer is Judge Dredd himself. Not to put too fine a point on it, but Stallone is nothing like Dredd. He spends most of the film helmetless, romances a pretty lady cop, and has Rob Schneider as a comedy sidekick- in other words, he's just doing Demolition Man again, without the benefit of the equally bananas Wesly Snipes. And that's just no good- Judge Dredd is a heartless, stoney, unflinching justice machine who is so far from human emotion that he once gave up his orphaned neice because he worried her love for him would make him less ruthless. And he NEVER takes off his helmet.

The end result is that while Judge Dredd is a competent film, and maybe even a decent Judge Dredd film, it is an AWFUL movie ABOUT Judge Dredd, if that distinction makes any sense.

-Lavish effects and solid action sequences.
-Excellent depiction of Megacity 1.
-Captures the atmosphere of early Dredd comics.

-Depiction of Dredd himself is pretty lacking.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon September 22, 2012
While critics and fanboys alike roasted the Sylvester Stallone version of Judge Dredd I found that the movie was very entertaining.

First, the city looks MEGA. This looks like a futuristic city where tens of millions of people live. The look of the movie is great. Second, the plot is solid. The story itself is actually quite good. Third, the cast is excellent. Stallone is ideal as a big screen Dredd, while Armand Assante, Diane Lane, and Max Von Sydow give fantastic performances.

What's the drawback? Rob Schneider. His performance is a little too comic, and he goes just a little too far over the top. Plus, his character has about 10 minutes too much screen time. Thus, like Jar Jar Binks, he (for many people) ruins the movie. Then again, his character goes a long way towards humanizing Dredd and reminding him that justice sometimes means following the spirit of the law, not just the letter of the law. What is right and just isn't always what is specifically written in the law. By the end of the movie Dredd learns this thanks to Fergie.

But even though Dredd IS humanized he is still an engine of destruction taking out the lawless. Even at the end, where Dredd has been humanized, he is still a nearly unstoppable force out to bring justice to Mega City One.

Yes, this version of Judge Dredd borders on camp. BORDERS on camp. It doesn't cross that line the way, say, Demolition Man did. It may have a few campy moments, but there is still a serious movie in here among the bits of humor and campy over the top characters.

Judge Dredd may not be a great movie, but it is good, and it is VERY entertaining. And the blu ray looks a lot better than the original DVD did. A lot better.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon April 29, 2007
Judge Dredd was one of those big budget action films that was aiming high, but ended up bombing and getting ridiculed, and forgotten quite fast. Movies like The Shadow and The Phantom also fell victim to this. I sometimes have a soft spot for these overblown superhero movies that fail miserably. While Judge Dredd isn't great(I could strangle Rob Schneider), it's kinda fun in that cheesy way. You can say what you want about Stallone, but he played the part cold and lifeless coz I'm assuming that's how the character is. I don't know how accurate an adaptation the film is coz my knowledge of Judge Dredd lore is limited to Anthrax's I Am The law song. I will say Armand Assante makes for a pretty cool villain and the robot is rather impressive. It looks like a cross of cgi and animatronics, which is a combo severely lacking in movies. Storywise, it's rather cliche and predictable(tell me you didn't figure out the villain behind the chaos ten minutes into the film), but what comic-action movie isn't? Judge Dredd may go down in history as a bloated failure for Stallone, director Cannon, and movies in general, but it's all the more fun for it.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon August 22, 2012
I remember going to see JUDGE DREDD at the midnight show opening night (yes, this film had a midnight opening for some strange reason). It wasn't so much that I was desperate to see this film, but more that I was really in the mood to go see something at the theaters, and this happened to be the most appealing thing at the time. Being a comic fan, I was peripherally aware of the Judge Dredd comic, but had never read it, and had no real idea what it was about other than the powers that the Judges had, since this comic had received much more attention in the UK than in The States. Later in life, I realized what all the fans were crying foul about with this film, and I understand it.

But for some reason, I just can't find it in me to dislike this film as much as I should.

It's a terrible, awful film. Stallone is, well, Stallone. From a physical standpoint, he's a good choice for Dredd; muscular, imposing, square-jawed. But this entire film is either a grievous misjudgment of talent, or a waste of it. Director Danny Cannon, who has been working on TV shows like NIKITA and 24, is a competent director, but this film is far too out of his league. Essentially, this film uses a similar visual style (or lack thereof) that Joel Schumacher employed in his BATMAN films: dark mile-high spires of faux-majestic cityscapes filled with fire and violence blended with some very clumsy visual effects sequences. Then there are the actors like Max Von Sydow, Diane Lane, Jurgen Prochnow, Scott Wilson and Joan Chen, all of whom should really have fired their agents after getting involved in this film. From Von Sydow as the Chief Justice to whom Dredd owes his allegiance to Prochnow as the morally corrupt pragmatist who looks to start a massive crime wave in order to mass-produce genetic clones of Judges to Lane as the lone sexy and sassy female Judge who is there merely as a horrifically inorganic love interest to Wilson as the mad redneck evangelical father to a family of redneck mutant cannibals to Chen as the sassy and sexy female baddie that exists so that Lane will have someone to beat up. Then there's the eternally-annoying Rob Schnieder, just starting to ride the high of his SNL work of the 90's as the comic relief/deus ex machina who basically, like Stallone, is playing himself.

But when you get right down to the meat of the film, the best moments of the film belong to Armand Assante as Rico. He plays his villainy with such relish and such force and such a lack of shame that it's really hard to not respect this performance. He got the role, got some really terrible dialogue ("Who says politics is boring?"), got the basic motivation of his character and just RAN with it. His wild-eyed anarchic performance is sadly underlooked in the pantheon of Comic Book Film Villains, mostly because of the quality of the film. I also love the fact that the film tries to sell us on the idea that somehow Armand Assante, while certainly a masculine man, is somehow a physical threat to Stallone.

To me, JUDGE DREDD is one of those examples of how NOT to make a film, but it's an example that everything bad about it somehow becomes fun. Believe me, there are some severly skippable moments in the film (particularly when it tries to get heavy, which is only more painful), but when you're at the good stuff, you know it.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon January 10, 2004
The more I see this film after all the hype has died down, the more it grows on me. This is probably the best thing that Stallone ever did in my opinion. If you ever read the British comic book series you realize that he nailed the essence of the main character. I mean, Judge Dredd is a completely one-dimensional character, and Stallone still managed to bring him to life.
The entire movie, and the original comic book series, was based on the fact that the Judges were incorruptible. These are not just good lawmen; these are walking law books- THEY ARE THE LAW. They have to be, for they are not merely law enforcement officers, they are also judge, jury, and executioner. Only someone raised from birth to live the letter, essence, and spirit of the law could be trusted with this. Certainly, a mere human could not be trusted with such power. That is the fascination of a character like Dredd- he isn't human. Here is a man so completely identified with duty that there is no room for personal feelings. This is essential, for a Judge must be completely impartial and unswayed by personal opinion and feeling. A Judge judges the rich and powerful, and the poor and weak, by absolutely the same standard. That is why you can never write Dredd and the other Judges off as fascists- it is equal judgment for all in the name of the public good, of public survival, in an apocalyptic Cursed Earth. And God save the Judge that breaks his oath....
Max Von Sydow was also especially good as Dredd's mentor. I mean, if they could get an actor of his quality interested in this project then you know that he also saw something more to it. Playing off Stallone you actually see the one bit of humanity in the character. The scene where Sydow takes the last walk to bring judgment to the unjudged still chokes me up.
Sure, there is plenty of action and special effects here- good ones. They also managed stay fairly close to the details and characters of the original stories. But, I've slowly come to see that there really is more to it. Not bad for a project that originated from a comic book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on December 16, 2012
This blueray version has been re-mastered and it looks beautiful. Picture quality is nearly perfect. It is like seeing the movie for the first time all over again.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on December 1, 2009
Judge Dredd is an awesome movie, but I wish they would make a Blu-Ray version. The action, characters, and plot are all great for this kind of movie.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on January 20, 2007
In all honest I had NO idea there was a comic book of this when Judge Dredd came out. I was only 10 years old when the movie came out and I still remember it to the day that this movie was just hands down fantastic. To me, this movie was like The Fifth Element of its time and I feel as though the aesthetics to The Fifth Element should pay a huge amount of homage to Judge Dredd (as well as Bladerunner but that's a given). Had I knew about the comic then even as a kid, I would've given some props up to the tribute it made but because I didn't, I still acclaim this as an idea all its own and to this day, I still haven't read a single page of Judge Dredd, and I kind of don't want to because I love the stellar performance that Sly puts in with Joseph Dredd.

The movie, despite being a hardcore 90's action movie has elements I overlooked as a kid and now that I'm much older, I've noticed things I never noticed or rememberred and it felt like a brand new movie to me with the reminiscence of it being so much familiar. It has every little bit of action movie I remember being cool back in the day and all that movies today can barely mark up to; some people may hate it, alot of people may love it, a majority may be null about it, but to me this movie is a classic and one of Sylvester Stallone's BEST performances on the big screen.

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