In this ultra-violet future, there is no more separation of power – there is only the Judges, who are not only judges, but also jury and executioner all roled into one. And one of the best of these enforcers is Judge Dredd (Karl Urban). That’s why the Chief Judge (Rakie Ayola) asks him to take on Anderson (Olivia Thirlby), a new recruit. She failed her entrance exam but because she’s a powerful telekinetic, they want to give her a chance anyway. And it just so happens that their first case leads them to an apartment house controlled by Ma-Ma (Lena Headey), an extremely dangerous drug dealer. And suddenly Anderson and Dredd find themselves locked in that building with a whole lot of goons with a whole lot of firepower after them.
Dredd should have been better than it was. If you look at the parts separately, they are pretty damn awesome, but if you put them altogether you get a movie that is somehow less than that. Instead it was rather boring and unengaging.
I have to say that thing that entertained me most about this movie were the corners of Karl Urban’s mouth. He manages to keep them constantly in frown position, even when he talks (and still talk understandably), which I found pretty damn amazing.
And I loved Olivia Thirlby’s Anderson. Not only is Thirlby wonderful, but I also really liked Anderson as a character. She holds her own, it is perfectly clear what she brings to the table despite being such a naive noob, she has a sense of humor, but at the same time she’s scary as hell and absolutely ruthless. It would have been nice if Lena Headey’s Ma-Ma would have gotten the same complexity treatment, but both the character and Headey remain underused.
The special effects were really good, though we’d already seen most of the slo-mo effects in the trailer. I expected (and wouldn’t have minded) more of them. But the slo-mo gore was surprising and brilliant.
But the movie grew long, especially because most of the time there was just a lot of shooting and explosions. And that does become pretty tiring when it’s the only thing that happens. It didn’t help either that you knew how the film would end approximately 5 minutes in. That didn’t make me wish I hadn’t seen the film, but it did make me wish that it was 30 minutes shorter.
Summarising: The cast is probably still worth it.