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DREDD 3D (review)

Written by Alex Garland
Directed by Pete Travis
Starring Karl Urban, Olivia Thirlby and Lena Headley

Chief Judge: Sink or swim; chuck her in the deep end.

Judge Dredd: It’s all a deep end.

No matter how hard I try, I cannot remember seeing JUDGE DREDD, the 1995 film starring Sylvester Stallone, that was based on the comic book of the same name. My brother tells me I needn’t relive it, describing it as Stallone at his worst, and Rob Schneider at his worst (which is really saying something when you think about it). And as this latest adaptation, by British director, Pete Travis, is entirely unrelated to the previous film, I’m glad I don’t have to. That said, DREDD 3D may end up being just as memorable in the end.

Screenwriter, Alex Garland, is responsible for some of the more interesting Danny Boyle films, like 28 DAYS LATER and SUNSHINE, so it is rather puzzling to me how thin his work on DREDD 3D is. I understand the action is the point here, but there is truly nothing of note going on in this film. Two judges, which is to say futuristic police officers who have the authority to capture and sentence their perpetrators on the spot, are trapped inside a 200-story building that is run from top to bottom by a ruthless street gang. It’s two against dozens, which is certainly a good tension builder, but the depth stops there.


I preferred this movie when it was called THE RAID: REDEMPTION. At least that one relied on the action itself instead of special effects. Maybe DREDD 3D is just not for me. I think there was maybe just one too many heads exploding against the pavement in a bizarre slow motion effect that exists somewhere between glitter and gore for my taste.

Your turn!

How many sheep would you give Dredd 3D?


One Comment

  1. A puzzling review. I think Dredd is one of the best action movies in years. I don’t think Dredd relied on special effects at all. They’re there to serve the futuristic setting, and the effects of the slo-mo drug, and do an admirable job with a limited budget. I think the film suffered with The Raid comparisons, which has nothing to do with Dredd copying The Raid, just unfortunate timing.

    Dredd had finished shooting at the end of 2010, before they’d even pointed a camera on the set of The Raid in 2011. It’s just that the latter got released first. This may be blasphemous, but I also preferred it to The Raid. At least the characters were intriguing outside of the action. Whenever the action stopped in The Raid, the whole thing got very boring, very quickly.

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