Friday, February 27, 2015

Film Review: Dredd (2012)

Dredd (Review)
United States/2012
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

"There isn't a single second of boredom here."

In the near future, the United States is a dystopian wasteland riddled with violent crime. Judges act as judge, jury, and executioner.

Dredd follows Judge Dredd (Karl Urban) and his psychic rookie, Judge Anderson (Olivia Thirlby), as they enter a 200-story apartment building on a routine call. There, the pair stumble upon a drug operation selling a new drug called "Slow Mo," which slows down the user's perception of time to a mere 1%. When they attempt to arrest a drug dealer for interrogation, resident drug lord Ma-ma (Lena Headey) locks down the building and calls on her minions to slaughter the Judges. So, Dredd and Anderson attempt to survive and move up the building full of hostiles. The ultra-gory onslaught continues up to the satisfying ending.

Dredd is an exciting SciFi action film. I emphasize action because that's what it primarily is - an action film. From beginning to end, Dredd is an ultra-violent, explosive, and exciting action movie. Bullets will rupture through stomachs, knees, necks, cheeks, and they'll often annihilate a skull or two. People will burn and explode from the devastating rounds. Some of it will be in glorious slow-motion thanks to the use of the Slow-Mo drug. In other words, Dredd is an action film, and a damn good one. There isn't a single second of boredom here.

I did wish to see more of the world Dredd developed, though. Throughout most of the runtime, Dredd is confined to the apartment building, which only gives us a glimpse of this universe. Although not necessarily a flaw, it was slightly disappointing. Speaking of flaws, Dredd isn't necessarily flawless, either. Judge Anderson leads some of these problems because most of her scenes are filled with lazy convenience and coincidence. There will be scenes where you might have to scoff and roll your eyes, "Oh, that's her husband, how convenient!" Or, how about the classic, "I'm the villain about to kill you, let's make this as complicated as possible, so it can backfire!" Fortunately, they're few and far between.

The acting is mostly good. Karl Urban is good as the titular character. Olivia Thirlby fares a tad bit worse than Urban, but not because of her acting. Some of the dialogue was stilted and unnatural, which made some of the acting seem odd - for lack of a better term. The film is shot well, I really liked the lighting in certain scenes. The slow-motion was great, too. The film opts for computer blood and gore due to the 3D - it's not bad, but I prefer practical effects. Director Pete Travis delivers a wonderful action film with minimal flaws. The action sequences are superb, the film is well balanced and paced, and it doesn't overstay its welcome.

Overall, Dredd is a great action film. There are a few plot points where you may scoff, but the action is absolutely splendid. I was hooked from beginning to end, I was fully immersed into the universe. Despite some minor flaws, I genuinely hope there is a sequel. If you like action films and you're a fan of violent SciFi movies reminiscent to Robocop or Total Recall, don't miss this film.

Score: 8/10
Parental Guide: Strong violence and gore, some sex and nudity.

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