“Dredd 3D” is wickedly cool. The sci-fi flick deserves the praise because of its cheesy one-liners and excessive violence. It has all of these things and pulls them off spectacularly. A movie like this is not for the faint-hearted, but for people who want to experience something fast-paced, gripping and gruesome — and “Dredd” certainly delivers.
Directed by Pete Travis, the film is based off of a British comic strip series. The movie takes place in a fictional city called Mega-City One. The futuristic city contains more than 800 million people that are controlled by only one source of law enforcement: The Judges.
Unlike typical police officers, the cops of the city possess the powers of judge, jury and executioner. The hero of the film is Judge Dredd (Karl Urban), a cop who wears a permanent scowl and a helmet that never leaves his head. He is joined by a judge-in-training, Anderson (Olivia Thirlby).
Together they take on a drug lord, Ma-Ma (Lena Headey), who controls a large sector of the city and distributes a drug called Slo-Mo. The side effects of the drug distort reality, leaving the user with the disembodied sense that time has slowed down into a sedated state of bright lights and Technicolor. Some of the scenes that depict the effects of the drug are the most beautifully created moments in the movie, with breathtaking 3-D effects.
These scenes are joined with the many remarkably crafted moments of bloodshed. Even the most squeamish movie viewer would appreciate the artistry of “Dredd.” In one memorable moment a character plummets to certain death, and the resulting blood splatter from the impact is conveyed with such vivid color and enhanced 3-D effects that the violence changes from gore to gorgeous.
Thirlby, though undeniably beautiful, is an essential component to the film’s success. She clearly isn’t in the film solely because of her sex appeal. Headey performs Ma-Ma to perfection with her constant sneering and ruthlessness, though it is a shame that the audience never finds out the reason behind her cruelty.
“Dredd’s” artistic streak and stylized violence is a credit to Travis’ directing aptitude. The film lasts only an hour and 35 minutes, but it keeps the audience attentive from start to finish. The fast-paced design, the eye-catching 3-D effects and the relentless violence makes “Dredd” easy and gripping to watch. It is far from dreadful.
Overall rating: 3 ½ stars
‘Dredd’s’ plot surrounds a futuristic city run by the cops, who also run the judicial system.