In a bleak future city of Mega City 1, laws are policed by Judges who are law enforcement, jury and executioner, answering to no one, dealing solely in black and white. Judge Dredd is assigned a rookie by the name of Anderson for assessment and together are called upon to answer a crime in one of Mega City 1’s huge city blocks, housing many thousand residents, and run by a gangster named Mama.
Judge Dredd came to life on the pages of 2000 AD in 1977 in the UK and since then has found fans around the world. In 1995 Sylvester Stallone made the movie Judge Dredd to largely negative reviews. While some parts were very poorly done, such as Dredd taking his helmet off, did get somethings right. Dredd 3D takes a second shot at the ultra violent comic strip with Karl Urban as the titular character.
First things first, in this movie, Dredd does not remove his helmet. The world of Mega City 1 is a darker, grittier version of the first movie, with more in common with the comic strip. It is an ultra violent city with over more crime than can be handled by law enforcement. While not the futuristic place imagined on paper, Dredd 3D brings a city that appears to be the half way point between today and the Mega City known to comic fans and for those fans, there are several easter egg-like references to the original comic strip.
Karl Urban brings an almost Clint Eastwood-like performance to the role as he sneers, growls and emotes with only half of his face. Anderson is played by Olivia Thirlby and has to take a different approach as a rookie and her other traits. She looks young and unexperienced and yet when she has to, is convincing kicking butt. Gang leader Mama is Lena Headley, a violent scar faced ex prostitute and plays the role with menace that is only 2 short steps away from insane.
While Dredd 3D is, well, in 3D, this is perhaps one of the first movies that really uses it, not just a gimmick but is used to emphasize certain sequences very well. For most of the movie, it is easy to forget that it is showing in 3D.
For those who were disappointed by the first movie, Dredd 3D should restore their faith in humanity, and Judges. Anyone coming to Dredd 3d without prior knowledge of the comic strip will quickly be able to follow along and understand the world which they are watching. Either way, the movie is ultra violent, loud, dark and gritty and very enjoyable to anyone who likes such movies.