Poorly Judged Effects Usage
With America becoming a waste land, towns and cities have merged along the East Coast to create Mega City One, a sprawling metropolis where criminals rule the streets. Fighting the scourge of the earth are the "Judges"; bike riding cops who act as judge, jury and executioner with Dredd (Karl Urban) being the most feared of these law enforcers who is currently on a mission to wipe out those dealing in a drug called "Slo-mo". But Dredd also is in charge of rookie Cassandra Anderson (Olivia Thirlby) who has psychic abilities thanks to the radiation which left America in the mess it is in. They find themselves at a 200 storey slum where Ma-Ma (Lena Headey), a former hooker, runs her drug business and is in no mood to let anyone mess with her empire, locking the building down with them stuck in there with the residents hunting them down.
I know I am probably in the minority but I actually liked Sylvester Stallone's "Judge Dredd" because I watched it as a fan of Stallone rather than having read the comic book on which it was based. But as I have always said, remakes are not for fans of the original movies but are for a different generation and as such after watching "Dredd" I hate to say it but I didn't like it.
Now before I get lambasted let me say what I liked and the whole idea of a future where what we have now forms a wasteland is good. Those opening scenes of run down buildings grabbed my attention and there was something strangely artistic about them. It is the same with the look of Dredd himself as the outfit looks a lot more believable than the one in "Judge Dredd". And in truth I like the idea of Dredd and Cassandra finding themselves stuck in the 200 storey slum with Cassandra looking to slaughter them in a lock down situation. It is all good as are the performances with Lena Headey making for a sadistic gang leader.
But then there is the negative and I guess director Pete Travis was given a box of tricks for Christmas as his use of slow motion was over indulgent. Now don't me wrong as I understand that the movie features a drug called slo-mo where people get to slow down reality but the slowing down of some action scenes makes it seem more of a gimmick rather than a device for telling the story. It also leads to some of the most graphic, no blood thirsty action I have seen on screen and that includes in horror movies which trade on torture porn. I am sure there will be those who are impressed by the CG of a bullet tearing through a man's cheek, rippling the skin as it bursts out the other side but for me it is one of the many over indulgent scenes which in turn make it gimmicky.
What this all boils down to is that "Dredd" didn't do it for me thanks to the over indulgent use of slow motion to heighten the blood thirsty nature of the action. And that is a shame as other than that there are many good things going on from the look of the future to the story which sees a lot of focus on the character of Cassandra and her in at the deep end experience as a rookie with Dredd.