Dredd 3D takes the 3D seriously, so seriously you can’t see it in 2D in most cinemas over here. Which is injustice! Dredd wouldn’t be happy. He’d go round to each cinema and invoke his judgement. But for once I can see why they are pushing the 3D forward. It actually makes some good use of it for a change. Drugs and 3D seem to be the perfect mix!
Dredd 3D is a reboot with no Sylvester and his habit of not wearing a helmet in sight. The new Judge Dredd is Karl Urban who keeps just his mouth and chin in view and likes to impose the law with his trusty gun and dry humour. He’s got a rookie to train this time around, Anderson (Olivia Thirlby), who has some pretty nifty psychic powers. The two take on a huge residential block to investigate the deaths of three guys who are crushed against the cold hard floor before ending up locked within this block before they can call in some more Judges to take down the drug criminal Ma-Ma (Lena Headey). This scarred chick has the whole place in her control, as well as a mass production of a new drug called SLO-MO which reduces the speed in a users mind to 1%. It’s going to be a tough job, but Dredd and Anderson are Judges. And Judges bite hard.
It seems raiding blocks is an ‘in’ thing at the moment, as Dredd has launched rather closely to the amazing martial arts fuelled The Raid. Both involve a law enforcement entertaining a huge block to take out drug dealing thugs, and both also deal with a small cast who have to fight their way to the top. Its similar, but Dredd and The Raid differ in how they get the job done. Dredd deals more character development as we see Anderson adapt to her new line of work and Dredd showing his more human nature, and these Judges deal more with weaponry than fists. Seeing a guy have both his eyes blown apart is a sight for sore eyes… okay.
The atmosphere also makes Dredd stand out as a unique entity. The dark dystopia future of MegaCity One captures the comics vision with its punk rock sensibilities to fashion and feeling of a bunch of scrap thrown together in one place. A skate park hanging about a hundred feet high is neat, as is the little stores and advertisements scattered around the block. It makes the world that little bit more real and also delivers some background humour which paints the grimy world of Dredd. The plot stays simple without stuffing itself full of plodding back story and pretentious preaching, it’s just pure action in a beautiful punk world. Though constant shooting isn’t quite as exhilarating as constant martial arts.
The drug scenes are what brings out Dredd as more than just another decent action theme however, and these are some of the most awe-inspiring moments I’ve seen regarding violence. As the SLO-MO drug is taken things slow to a grinding halt and we see each splash of water, each shard of glass and the human movements in intense detail. The 3D makes these moments mesmerising and the bloodshed which tends to occur in these moments comes across as beautiful. Artistic. It’s like watching a dream unfold. The first time is stunning, the last time is breathtaking. It brings a whole new feel to murder.
Dredd 3D is Dredd done right and while the action scenes aren’t as exhilarating as that other raid film that came out this year, the drugs give it that extra kick. Justice has been served.