While 'Dredd 3D' may not be one for the faint of heart and weak of gut, it certainly provides an adrenaline rush for folks seeking thrills at the movies. Bombastic and beautifully shot, the movie's over-the-top moments (and there are a few) are easily forgiven, as 'Dredd' aims to solely entertain and mostly hits bullseye.
What's it about?
Nuclear war has laid most of the world to waste and the survivors now live in a large, enclosed city in North America where crime levels are abnormally high. The city's peacekeepers are called Judges - enforcement agents that are allowed to arrest offenders, convict them and execute judgments immediately on the spot. Among them is Dredd (Karl Urban), a highly qualified officer who is assigned rookie Cassandra Anderson (Olivia Thirlby). Anderson failed the test to become a judge but is still an asset to the agency because of her psychic abilities. The duo set out to investigate a triple homicide in a massive housing complex called Peach Trees, where the victims were first drugged with a new hallucinogen Slo-Mo, that reduces reaction time significantly. However, when they attempt to take an accused back to headquarters for questioning, they are locked in by gang lord Ma-Ma (Lena Headey), who wants the judges hunted down and killed before they can discover what's really going on at the facility.
Urban as Dredd is cold, concise and highly hoot-worthy as the judge who doesn't seem to possess an iota of emotion. Dredd has no character arc - which is fine, considering that Thirlby makes up for all that. Looking like a young Milla Jovovich and suitably Bambi-eyed for the role, Thirlby provides the heart, while Urban brings home the beef. Lena Headey as Ma-Ma is perhaps the scariest female super villain we've seen since Cruella de Vil. Jokes apart, Headey is only a shadow of the beautiful queen she played in '300', with a gruesome scar, chipped teeth and a deeply unsettling stare.
The visuals, as mentioned before, are breathtaking and especially those filmed in slow motion. Also, Dredd's Lawgiver pistol and Lawmaster bike are accessories that would give any superhero or vigilante, major outfit envy. The film does occasionally suffer from campy dialogue ('Ma-Ma is not the law; I am the law.') and while we understand that the character is a no-nonsense guy, Dredd often sounds like a wound-up bot.
What to do?
'Dredd 3D' is far from dreadful and has bucket loads of bang-boom-pow fun. Go watch it.
in.com rating: 3.5/5
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