Independently rebooted sci-fi comic is powerful, concentrated, brutal and with beautiful slow-mo 3D drugs effect scenes.
Director: Pete Travis | Stars: Karl Urban, Olivia Thirlby, Lena Headey
Budget: 45 million | Box office: 40 million (4 weeks)
Reboots are really evil, but as always there are some exceptions to the rule. I was quite happy with Total Recall reboot and now we have a new adaptation of British sci-fi comic strip. Me and apparently many people didn’t much like the nineties version with Sylvester Stallone, so the opportunity for remake was really open. I just thought that it will be some lackluster copy with updated visual effects, but Dredd really surprised me.
First and most important thing is that it‘s an independent production. Like recent Looper, Dredd was developed not by big Hollywood studio, but smaller production company. And it‘s a tremendous task to create a big budget sci-fi movie without a major distributor backing. Studio DNA Films already had a successful adaptation of famous sci-fi novel Never Let Me Go. But I wouldn‘t even have started to take interest in the new Judge Dredd movie if not the really intriguing and precisely created trailer. The sounds of Skream La Roux song remix and slow-mo 3D scenes mixed with heavy gunfight really bought me.
The movie is just like that (except sadly without In for the Kill song). I loved that it doesn‘t try to cover a lot of ground, tell a wide story of all the dystopian future world, but concentrates in one place. Dredd and rookie judge (with a little surprise, which is not revealed in film trailers and introductions) have to take down a criminal gang based in huge building, which serves as a block for many poor people. In this case it closely reminds last year‘s Indonesian action movie The Raid, which got global attention after winning night audience award in Toronto. Such enclosed environment makes it easier to plan and produce the movie and for viewers it creates a real tension. But the trick is not to become repetitive or boring, and Dredd never does.
Judges have to go through 200 stories building with no outside or inside help and fight against brutal criminals and eventually their leader Ma-Ma, who controls the new popular drug production. It slows down time and filmmakers really enjoyed themselves creating such scenes with speed cameras (Phantom Flex and Epic RED equipment) and bright post processing effects. It really looks exceptional in 3D.
Another quite unique thing is really brutal and creatively used violence. Traditionally such stuff was reserved only for B movies, but here it really makes sense and looks impressive. There are some very interesting details, so it‘s worth paying attention.
The good news is again the box office performance – Dredd almost paid off in one month, so that should be a good sign for future independent sci-fi productions.