By Angela Espinoza, Arts Editor
In the midst of its recent remake, it’s been impossible not to try and compare the 1995 Stallone so-bad-it’s-good version of Judge Dredd and 2012’s Dredd (3D). What most are finding though is that despite the fact that they’re both based on the British comic 2000 AD and wear similar uniforms, the two films really have nothing in common—plot, characters, or otherwise.
It all begins with a Christian Bale Batman-like narration about the colony of Mega-City One, courtesy of Judge Dredd himself (Karl Urban). The city houses eight million people, and is essentially a shit hole in the middle of a dessert. The judges operate as “judge, jury, and executioner” on those that commit crimes. On this particular day, Dredd is partnered up with psychic rookie Cassandra Anderson (Olivia Thirlby) for her training exercise. This also happens to be the day they cross the path of insatiably violent drug lord ‘Ma-Ma’ (Lena Headey), who essentially rules all 200 floors of the apartment complex Peach Trees. Once Ma-Ma puts the complex on lockdown, it’s two against dozens for Dredd and his rookie.
With Nolan’s Batman movies being what they are, it wasn’t so difficult to imagine a man with a gruff voice putting the law into his own hands. Even better though is that Urban plays his character for laughs; Dredd is so dedicated to his job, not once does he change his tone, the way he performs his actions—he essentially has no character arc, and it’s intentional (and amazing). It is instead Thirlby’s character we get to see learn the ways of a judge, and grow into a badass.
The film utilizes its use of 3-D in glamourizing the fictional drug “Slo-Mo,” which apparently slows the brain down to one per cent of its regular speed. In terms of technicality, these are without question some of the best parts of the movie.
Dredd is heavy on the violence and plays it for laughs, and I can’t wait to see it again.