The Sylvester Stallone version of Judge Dredd was not good. I wouldn’t say it’s unwatchable, like I would about Escape from LA, but it’s pretty bad. That’s probably why I didn’t know what to expect when going in to watch Dredd, with the main character portrayed by Carl Urban.
I have to say, I was impressed, and I don’t think it was just because I went in with low expectations. It was well stylized, the acting was strong, and there were some pretty bad ass fight scenes. Who doesn’t like watching a gun battle in slow motion, especially when the movie isn’t shy about letting us watch a skull explode?
There were a lot of things this movie wasn’t shy with: flayed corpses that had been dropped from a considerable height; another body dropped from that same height, but we’re watching it hit from below so we get to see the face crumple on itself and release an incredible amount of blood; psychic, semi-nude rape scenes that reveal just enough to let your imagination get away from you; a guy getting his eyes poked out, by hand; and, of course, a ton of people getting shot in various body parts and from various angles. I would say the movie was graphic, but not in way that was either comical or vulgar.
I think this movie also served to prove a good point: you don’t need to have a broad, sweeping expanse of story to have a decent movie. If what you have is small in scope but well written and well told, that’s enough. Sometimes, a lot gets left behind when a writer or director tries to cram too many details or too many big ticket ideas in to one film. Simple can sometimes be better, and this is a prime example of that.
We both thought it was a good time, and would give it a solid 7/10. Carl Urban did a great job at being brooding, scowly and miserable all the time. (He would probably make a really good Batman. He certainly has the looks to pull off Bruce Wayne.) If you like dystopian movies and gun fights, this is for you.