Dredd [3D Blu-ray/Blu-ray + Digital Copy + UltraViolet]
& Digital Copy Included
3D + Blu-ray + Digital + Ultraviolet
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High octane sci-fi action movie with all-out, guns-blazing, bone-crushing, explosives-laden action. Based on the popular comic book character JUDGE DREDD.
The future America is an irradiated wasteland. On its East Coast 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. The ultimate Judge Dredd (Karl Urban) is tasked with ridding the city of its latest scourge -a dangerous drug and the sadistic prostitute turned drug pusher who is using it to take over the city.
Though few moviegoers queued up to see it, Pete Travis's Dredd is, like its titular hero, a tough, effective piece of action machinery with a single purpose: to fill the screen with as much eye-popping visual mayhem as possible. Based on the iconic British comic series Judge Dredd, which was previously adapted as the 1995 Sylvester Stallone vehicle of the same name, Dredd hews closer to its source material in its depiction of a postapocalyptic world reduced to anarchy and the police force known as the Judges, who try, convict, and execute criminals in one fell swoop. Karl Urban (Star Trek, The Lord of the Rings) is terrifically effective as Dredd, a monosyllabic force of nature dispatched to halt the manufacture of an addictive and disorienting narcotic called "Slo-Mo" by the vicious drug lord Ma-Ma (Lena Headey). With judge-in-training Anderson (Olivia Thirlby) in tow, Dredd works his way up Ma-Ma's 200-story tower stronghold, facing off against her minions as well as corrupt Judges in a barrage of elaborately violent action set pieces. Much of what sets Dredd apart from other comic book and science fiction-action features--the obsessive, brutal focus of its protagonist and the relentlessly bleak environment of the film's setting, Mega City-One--may also be off-putting for viewers who appreciate some grey areas or levity in their entertainment (though that's not to say that Dredd doesn't have its own flinty sense of humor).
But Travis's approach should appeal to both fans of the original comic as well as those who favor a vision of the future on the darkly dystopian side, à la Paul Verhoeven's RoboCop and John Carpenter's Escape from New York. Karl Urban acquits himself well to Dredd's steely single-mindedness, expressing an unyielding sense of righteousness in a helmet that obscures nearly all of his features; Thirlby and Headey are also fine as strong, forthright female characters on either side of Dredd's moral compass. The single-disc Blu-ray includes both the standard and 3-D versions of the film, with the latter option avoiding some of the vertigo-inducing effects of digital 3-D while also offering the best showcase for the extraordinary "Slo Mo" sequences. Extras include a solid, introductory featurette on the history of the Dredd character via interviews with, among others, its creators John Wagner and Carlos Ezquerra, and an overview of the picture's visual effects and 3-D process with cinematographer Anthony Dod Mantle. A brief motion comic outlines the back story for Ma-Ma, while the remainder of the supplements are devoted to electronic press kit coverage of the set design and Dredd's array of equipment, among others. A digital copy and UltraViolet stream/download round out the disc. --Paul Gaita
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Top customer reviews
This movie doesn't give us a Mega-City One with the colorful flourish, scope, or futuristic backdrop of "Judge Dredd" from 1995, but it also has none of the camp, and all of the dark edge from the comics. This film favors a smaller story, narrowed down to one escalating conflict in a massive super-structure, large enough to cover 6 city blocks, packed with survivors, vagrants, and felons. Through this focal point we sample how cruel and self-destructive the entire slum city really is, between the various shades of drug lords, the outgunned law enforcement, and the hapless tenants caught in-between.
Unlike Sylvester Stallone's body-building white knight in Judge Dredd, Karl Urban gives us an unyielding para-military brute who never softens or blinks. It's not a physical presence so much as a tireless, deliberate stride of barely-contained fury. Stallone was beefy and boisterous, while Urban is a seething, weathered gunman who discards compassion as a liability and a distraction.
Introducing Olivia Thirlby as rookie Judge Anderson with a special, classified "gift", instead of as a seasoned officer, often gives audiences a counter-view to citizens' motives and emotions, which contrasts against Dredd's swift hand of punishment. Her first foray is a rough trial but it also adds a new layer to the considerations of judgement.
Lena Headey is probably the one sticking point for me. Headey does a decent job as Ma-Ma acting bat-guano crazy while keeping all her cards to herself, but it's hard to sense any direct threat from her presence. She's an unlikely villain with a reckless abandon verging on nihilism to keep her crew in line.
The violence is often intense but brief, except for the a few times the director takes the opportunity to prolong the gore. On special occasions, the drug-induced slo-mo extends the visuals to evoke a mental wince, and rightly so. Body counts rise abruptly as the story progresses. But the violence always has a purpose and I rarely found it wasted.
I know comparisons between the 2 Dredd movies are unavoidable, but for my personal take the best Dredd movie would drop the actors from the new film into the landscape and technology of the old one. Regardless, I wanted to see a dark Judge Dredd and I think that's exactly what the remake delivered. I hope the sequel is more ambitious and retains the best elements from this one.
Judge Dredd may seem hollow and robotic to new comers, but this is exactly why his character is so beloved. The film makers do a great service to the character, and Karl Urban's performance helps to solidify this. I can only smile when reading irate reviews hammering the lack of character development and robotic acting. The reviewers obviously don't understand. There is a reason why JD never takes his helmet off. He is meant to be faceless. He is the one solid and reliable rock in the sea of crazy that is the far future.
The one drawback is that this film is very violent, and if you aren't prepared for it you will be turned off fairly quickly. It also makes great use of slow motion to capture and juxtapose the action from different viewpoints. This gives the action scenes a strange pace, but I felt it to be perfectly suited to the plot. It only felt overdone during a couple of sequences.
Speaking of plot, this film has taken some knocks because of a thin plot. I find this funny considering how paper thin most movie plots are when compared to novels and comics. The Hobbit is a movie about a long journey, and is great because of what happens along the way and what obstacles they have to overcome. This movie is essentially a day in the life of Judge Dredd, and is about his journey to stop and apprehend a gang leader. It is great because of what happens along the way and what obstacles he must overcome. A simple, clearly stated plot with great story telling wrapped around it is what you will find in this film if you give it a chance. I did, even with my fear of past failures, and I loved it.
I don't like the Ultraviolet service, but this disc also has an iTunes compatible download. If there is a drawback, then it is that all of these are crammed onto a single disc instead of giving us a separate disc for the Blu Ray and the digital download. Also, having no DVD version available in the set was a bit of a downer since I like to loan mine out to friends to get them hooked. The digital download worked fine for me, though, and the BR ran perfectly in my 1st generation PS3.
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