Film Review: DREDD

Rewatched DREDD today on a spanking brand new DVD (not like most of my pre-loved post-rental jobs ;p), and I have to say, it still rocked as hard as it used to, the first time I saw it in the cinema (Review reposted below). But one thing was a huge difference, in terms of the audio quality on the DVD, which was at some times pretty horrible, and even dropped/changed quite drastically - which I am unsure if it's the quality of the DVD, or just the movie itself, which frankly listening to my full earphones, sounds pretty muddy at times … not good at all, this.

Nevertheless Olivia Thirlby, is still an absolute pleasure to stare at, and because of her, I will attempt to conjure up a weekend article, somewhere along the lines of "10 Most Gorgeous Women in Nerd-Films" or something like that (the title has to change somehow) .. of course there will be Black "Scarlet" Widow, Selina "Hathaway" Kyle and … and … damn, who else am i missing here?


How could I review the movie DREDD without giving away plot-points? Granted, this celluloid incarnation (since Stallone's 1990-version) is not exactly a cerebral take on the fictional character from the beloved British comicbook 2000 A.D., but one thing which I found fascinating, was the seemingly "Britishness" of the movie, at least for me. The tonal sense of dread (pun intended), pacing, seemed off tangent from your regular American-Hollywood-fare, and I welcomed it with open arms, like a crack'ho needing his SloMo-fix! BWAHAHAHAHA

NOTE: I watched this movie sans the 3D-effect and on Digital, and hence the review remains such.

Karl Urban's Joe Dredd does not have many lines/dialog, which ironically I wholeheartedly revere! No comedic quips, no fancy tough-guy banter, just straightup utilitarian conversation, and as limited as it was with Judge Anderson, I really enjoyed the lack of wordy chit-chats. And how Urban retains a scrawl throughout the entire movie, is commendable.

And if you were wondering in fear, let me put your mind at ease - so you can enter the cinema and watch DREDD without any trepidation: Dredd DOES NOT remove his helmet, ever, he does not ever attempt any grand speeches (except for that "warning" ), and thank the comicbook-gawds he DID NOT SMILE! And that's as much spoilers about the Dredd character as I can muster.

Judge Anderson's slight overbite turned me on, I will not lie. Her stoic fear-turned-feistiness had me all hot-n-bothered. Commendable in her role, without being overly victimizing, and does away with the girly-i-need-help-please kitsch which most action movies seem to love to have. She is as much a "survivor" as Dredd was a badass, and that's quite the two-finger up on Hollywood clones, IMHO. Nice one … Now, excuse me while I go search-n-right-click on Olivia Thirlby images … eerrr… for my private 'reference' folder … *cough*

A lot of comparison has been made to "The Raid", which I think is understandable, but completely rubbish. This takes it to a different plane of gore and violence. As well, a lot of expectations for this comicbook lore to make good. All I dare say is, forget any illusions of redemption (for Sly's outing - c'mon, you're thinking it too) or expectations, and go in seeing a re-imagined remixed variation of the Judge Dredd-lore, and you'd be surprised with how you might enjoy it, and how scarily the parallels it can be to "our" world.

The movie "District 9" popped into my mind, with Mega City-One feeling like it exists in the same Universe, where the future and fantasy collide in a spectacle of hyper-reality, that may well be what you see out the window, someday sooner than you'd expect.

Effects-wise, this movie is straightup bullets, blasts and gore and is not shy about using blood (hence it's M18 rating in Singapore), heightened by the thrill of SloMo, and made into perfection with the soundtrack score and sound design.

I have to give exceptional kudos for the score tho - with the heavy synth reminding me of Dust Brothers on "Fight Club", with tinge of Daft Punk on "Tron Legacy" and even slight playfulness (ver so slight, I insist) from "Drive". LOVE the soundtrack! Hell, I was even looking forward to scoring the soundtrack soon too!

Plot-wise, the set-up and deceit is simple. In a nutshell, Rookie follows Dredd on a day of assessment, gets caught up in a whip of trouble, and both tries to escape death and attempts a drug bust. Told you it wasn't too cerebral :p

The "twist" near the end was unexpected, which made for a more exciting aspect of the story, which frankly the premise of which unraveled when the dust cleared. The only obvious "Hollywood" shadow to this endeavor, I dare say.

What I really enjoyed too was the fluidity of the camerawork, with moments when it paralleled a first-person-shooting video game, and helped heightened the tenseness of the scenes. Nice one, folks!

With all that's said and raved about, the only thing which bugged me silly, was the Judges' motorbikes. Felt like they were taking a piss at the source material! Throw us a bone, c'mon! I expect future incarnations to see a little change in this regard, please? And I am not talking about floating juggernauts, yeh? "Reality" is one thing, but the bikes were like two-fingers shoved right up our nostrils, for pete's sake!

At the end of the film, I was eager to see more, like a sharpened blade done polishing, now waiting for more kills! DREDD left me panting for more. "Rookie season" is over, now down to the deed! This might well be a movie where I would welcome a "trilogy", like a crack'hoe needing his SloMo-fix ... ah, you know the drill! LOL

I could go on, but it would mean spoilers, and frankly there aren't that many to begin with in the first place! And I truly like it like that: no convoluting plot, or a challenge to your brainwaves - a simple, straightup awesome flick to munch on popcorn and enjoy! An excellent movie to watch, (l felt) with a respect for the original source material, but I would imagine watching it once and savoring it, than a repeated viewing which might dull the blade. But that"s just me :)

[Above Review First Posted in Sept 2012]