Pete Travis brings us a storm to DVD this year with his 2012 hit, Dredd. Travis brings us a graphically modernised view of the 1995 film by Danny Cannon complete with guns blazing and a brand new suit. This is, by anyone’s standards, an action film through and through.
The film is set in a futuristic world where judges (kick-ass people on blocky motorbikes) are sent to seek out criminals and give them their sentence. We focus on two such judges in particular: Judge Dredd and Anderson. Anderson has to prove she’s worthy of full Judge-ship by understudying Judge Dredd on a job. She gets to pick and unknowingly chooses the worst option imaginable. They end up trapped, inside a gang-block owned by psycho Ma-Ma who loves to kill people in inventive ways. For such a basic story, the film carries it through quite well. There’s true tension running through its veins as Dredd and Anderson hurry through the many intertwining corridors to escape the goons chasing them. This then leads to where things step up a notch and we see some proper action as Ma-Ma herself gets involved in annihilation.
Style-wise this film is beautiful. From the sleek black uniform of Judge Dredd, to the city shots and the slow-motion action sequences, everything looks great. The slow-motion is used very well, making the action picturesque and deadly. One scene where Ma-Ma is in the bath is shown this way and the movements of the water is intensified as beautifully as the blood splatter when some unlucky thugs are thrown down the centre of the tower block. The falling scene is particularly effective, in terms of visual effect, as you see from the eyes of the character for a few seconds and you feel like you’re actually falling. You can sense that some of the shots, such as this one, were included for 3D bonuses, but they’re integrated so well into the film style that it doesn’t bother you when watching on DVD.
Overall, Dredd was a good action film. The visuals were pristine, the slow motion well used and, while having a basic plot, worked quite well. The main antagonist could have been harder to kill to make her more intimidating, but as a character she was interesting. But this is definitely an impressive show.