There is a fan base for comic book movies which is hard to please. Producers of movies have to walk a fine line between what the loyal comic book fans expect and what the less informed audience will accept. Into the mix of the long line of comic book based movies which have come out over the past decade comes Judge Dredd 3D starring Karl Urban (Star Trek, Red) as the most famous judge in comic book history.
Urban brings the perfect level of stiffness and relentlessness to the role of Judge Dredd. It may sound like faint praise but to play the absolutist judge effectively the stiffness has to give off a sense of menace and restrained fury which can be deliberately and efficiently released as needed. Dredd works in Mega City One where the last eight hundred million people on earth live, shoe horned into the most dense and violent city ever created. Meting out justice in Mega City One. Added to Dredd’s duties as a judge are those of escorting and deciding whether or not the rookie Judge Anderson played by Olivia Thirby (Being Flynn) is fit to be a judge.
In simple terms Judge Dredd is a small fish in the comic book world. The name recognition does not compare to the likes of Superman, Spiderman, Batman, Thor or even Daredevli. Dredd does however have a loyal fan base and that fan base will be thrilled with this adaptation of the comic book.
Judge Dredd 3D is the absolute best comic book adaptation to have ever been put on the silver screen. That is not hyperbole it is a statement of fact. This is an almost flawless portrayal of Judge Dredd in all its stark, deprived, depraved and brutal glory. The movie is absolutely relentless and as pitiless as Judge Dredd himself. The story itself is direct and easy to understand with just enough character development to keep the people as interesting as the action.
On the technical side of things the 3D in Judge Dredd 3D is as good a use of 3D as has been seen in any movie using the technology in recent history. The set dressing is perfect, the costuming is great though there are some variations from the original comic on that score. Sound effects, lighting and special effects are all superb.
There are two small problems in the movie. First is with one henchman who has the worst makeup/hair piece and the most improbable accent to go along with it.Fortunately he is only on screen very briefly before becoming part of the body count. The second is at the very end of the movie when Judge Dredd does something out of character which may make sense in a movie with a significant budget (45 million) but rings a little off key for Dredd fans. Other than that though this is one of the best movies of the year and definitely worth seeing on the big screen in the cinema.