3 out of 5
It’s a good thing that I waited almost a year until I watched it. I have to be honest that I was very skeptic when this film was released. I watched Sylvester Stallone’s Judge Dredd when I was small and I liked it. Growing up I started reading the real Judge Dredd comics and realized that the 1995 adaptation was completely ridiculous, but I could never bring myself do dislike it and just brushed it of as a laughable childhood memory.
So when Dredd was released in 2012 I was very careful and maybe a bit worry. I finally watched it and couldn’t help but to compare the plot with another film called The Raid (Serbuan Maut). Well, The Raid was directed by Gareth Evans who is a Brit. I believe that he must have spent sometimes of his childhood reading 2000 AD, espcially the Judge Dredd section. So why did I give 4.5 stars to The Raid and only give 3 stars to Dredd? The answer is because Evans’ The Raid took the concept of Judge Dredd stories and simplified it. He trimmed the plot. He was doing no in-depth approach to his characters, making it just get in and get the f*** out of here mission that worked well for a fast-paced action flick. While in the new adaptation of Dredd it tries to tackle the concept of the future’s dystopian justice system where a person from the law enforcement acts as the police, judge, jury, even the executioner. The Mega City where the story set is based on a semi-totalitarian society where law enforcement has the ultimate power.
True, Dredd is a better adaptation of the comics compared to the 1995 film. But it still has many flaws which is understandable since the idea of the justice system and its judges is too difficult to translate into a 1.5 hour film. I’m happy that Karl Urban stays true to the character throughout the film, giving a deadpan, no-nonsense performance as Dredd. Olivia Thrilby is quite convincing as rookie judge Anderson who is a psychic and is still struggling to completely grasp the meaning of becoming a judge. Lena Headey’s villanious Ma-Ma is cool, but she needs more screen time to show how dangerously manipulative she is. I’m happy I watched Dredd, but I will still stick to the comics. ‘Nuff said.