In the future, America has become an irradiated wasteland, except for Mega City One, a single, vast urban landscape stretching from Boston to Washington, DC. Its 800 million citizens live among the ruins of the old world, and in the new structures of the new. The City is policed by “Judges”, a force of police officers who have the ability to review the crime and pass sentence on the street. When Judge Dredd, one of the more militant law enforcement officers, takes a rookie to a routine triple homicide investigation in a vertical apartment block things start to get rough. It turns out the three victims crossed gang leader and drug lord Ma-Ma, who is desperately trying to ensure that the suspect the Judges arrested is never questioned.

Everyone remembers the utterly laughable 1995 incarnation of the Dredd character with Sylvester Stallone, Diane Lane and Armande Assante. Well, the Dredd franchise is back with a filthy, gritty, hyper-violent world in director Pete Travis‘ version, starring Karl Urban as the title character. This is not your 90s Dredd.

A big fan of the comics, Urban puts in a solid turn as the legendary lawman, making lines that could be laughable (when, say, said by Stallone for example) seem completely reasonable while carrying off the action perfectly ““ proving that when well cast and well shot, there are few things better than watching Judge Dredd do his job.

Joining Urban as new recruit Anderson is Olivia Thirlby. While she can certainly kick some ass of her own, her softness is required as a foil to Dredd’s cold, unrelenting morality. Lena Headey may have finally found the perfect role as a cold, calculating, disfigured drug lord.

Comparisons to The Raid cannot be avoided, but the “closed system” device works for both films equally. Certainly it is effective at ramping up the stakes and drawing you in with its effects and action, which is why this device is likely to start popping up more often.

The 3D in the film is good ““ and especially effective for drug users’ experience of the narcotic “Slo-Mo” ““ but since the film was shot in 3D (not rendered or upconverted later) they made some interesting choices. For example sections of the film have a grain layer added, which by nature sits on top of the image and in 3D it simply reminds you that this is a movie, not real life. This was a specific choice made, and it’s slightly refreshing. Obviously the filmmakers decided to make use of the best of 3D, but didn’t let it stop them from making the film they wanted to make.

Is Dredd 3D Opening Weekend Worthy?

Oh yes. This film is a wild ride that will be best suited to a packed theatre full of people looking for a good time. Grab a ticket and head to a screening this weekend.

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Dredd 3D Trailer

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