Monday, 17 September 2012


Smell the Movies
Smell the TV


Country of origin:USA / UK / India
Director:Pete Travis
Genre:Comic book violence
Starring:Karl Urban, Olivia Thirlby, Lena Headey
IMDB link:
Tagline:Judgment is coming
Favourite line:"Negotiation's over. Sentence was death."

Sylvester Stallone?
Who’s he?

The plot:
In the future, America is reduced to a desolate, radiation riven wasteland. Only one city remains; vast; criminal; overpopulated.
Mega City One.
In a city where the criminals run the streets, just one force serves to mete out justice: The Judges. Feared by all, The Judges have the power to determine if criminals live or die, and can administer their brand of justice instantly, even executing if necessary.
The most feared Judge of all, Dredd, is assigned the task of assessing the suitability of new recruit Anderson, young, wet behind the ears, but with the distinct advantage of being a mutant; she has the capacity for telepathy.
On patrol, the pair of them are called to a district called Peach Trees, a 200 storey mega-tower block, where murder has occurred. Arriving on scene, they discover three bodies, skinned and hurled from one of the higher floors.
Just as they are about to begin their investigation, suddenly, the tower is locked down.
With metal shutters covering the entire outer surface, there is no way in or out. Their only option is to fight their way to the top of the building, and take down the drug-lord who controls the tower, known only as Ma-Ma.
Trouble is, every criminal in the building has been offered a reward for their murder. Two Judges.
Two hundred storeys.
Two chances: kill or be killed.

With only the lamentable 1995 Sylvester Stallone vehicle to contend with, this could only ever be a success, really. The director and writer really would have had to have conceived something truly diabolical for this to fail and, thankfully, they chose the wiser route.
With the muscular, imposing figure of Karl Urban behind the mask, signs going in were promising, No ego, here, so no need to remove the mask and, thankfully, fact fans, he remains suitably anonymous throughout.
With a plotline that shares heavy echoes with this year’s simply stunning The Raid, it was going to be an impossible task to view this film without comparing it to that low budget offering, and so it proved. However unfair it may seem, it would be like watching a boxing movie about a down on his luck Italian American fighting his way to the top without once thinking about Raging Bull. Oh no, hang on....
Whilst both Dredd and The Raid are 18 certificates –something that is extraordinarily hard to achieve these days – there is little doubt which one is the most brutal and extreme, and it’s the one that cost one million dollars, not forty five million.
Take nothing away from this effort, though, for it is effective, hard-boiled comic book sci-fi action, with plenty of grit and gristle, more than the odd splash of blood, two strong leads in the form of Urban and Olivia Thirlby as Anderson, not to mention the standout performance of Lena Headey as Ma-Ma, a meaner, more vicious, more fucking straight down the line sinister villain you are unlikely to find anytime soon.
Rollicking good fun, then, and here’s hoping it makes enough money to justify another as, apparently, the trilogy is already planned out.
Giving it a watch is recommended.
But watch The Raid first, kids, for that is truly explosive, whereas this has the temerity to merely be very, very good indeed.

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