Monday, January 14, 2013
There is not a lot to the plot of this movie, and shows that sometimes less is more. Dredd (Karl Urban) and his partner Anderson (Olivia Thrilby) get a call about three murders at Peach Tree, a massive 200-story slum block, and are ambushed by the local drug lord, Ma-ma (Lena Headey) and her gang. They movie boils down to Dredd and Anderson raining destruction and death on the gang and Ma-Ma. There is nothing complicated, just Dredd fucking people up any way that he sees fit.
This is a pure action movie just like The Raid was. They are pretty much the same movie, except that Dredd has better acting, superior effects, and highly engaging characters. Karl Urban commands your attention from his first appearance and he simply never lets go. It is a complete mystery to me why he doesn't star in more movies, he is an unbelievably talented actor and usually plays second or third fiddle to lesser actors. I guess being gruff and a total badass doesn't get you a ton of leading roles, but this was one that he was destined for. Dredd is the embodiment of the law and is played that way, there is very little emotion to his character and when he dishes out justice, it is not a personal attack but instead he is upholding the law as he sees fit. He is such a badass character and it was great to see him played by an awesome actor who also loved the character.
I had my doubts when I saw that Olivia Thrilby was cast as Judge Anderson, but that doubt lasted for about five minutes in the movie. She is the emotional core of the movie the whole movie being her first day on the job in what is really an extended evaluation. Thrilby does a fantastic job with the character and really does the character from the comics justice. She uses her emotions to trigger her psychic powers and her interrogation scene is one of the highlights of the film because it is so delightfully disturbing. I actually liked her more than Dredd in most cases and she is just as important to the film as Dredd is. The movie would have really faltered without the inclusion of Judge Anderson. Hopefully we get to see these two team up again in a potential sequel (I'm talking to you Lionsgate).
I know that I talk a lot about the characters and acting in my reviews and that is because that is what truly matters to me in the movies. But the action in this movie was pretty fucking amazing as well. What other movie can you say that has a guys throat getting crushed and we get to see the gory aftermath. People getting shot in the face in slow motion, brutal hand to hand fights, and people getting their dicks bitten off by crazy hookers are just some of the off the wall examples of brutal action in the movie. Each moment of the movie is glorious and it is a shame that it was left to rot in an early September release slot.
This is a movie that deserved better from the studio that released it. There was little to no promotion for the movie and it was given a release in the dreaded late summer slot. This was my favorite movie of 2012 and sits atop my list of best movies of 2012. Get off your ass and see this movie any way that you can. Just don't illegally download it because Judge Dredd might show up to your house to enforce the "law" on you.