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Dredd - The Ex-Communicator

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September 8th, 2012


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06:40 am - Dredd
When I was young, like a lot of British SF fans, I used to read the comic 2000AD. The main character in that was Judge Dredd, who is a future cop of fascistic disposition and severe demeanour. He patrols Mega City 1, an urban nightmare. He generally arrests and/or kills young scallywags not unlike the readership of the comic itself, as well as nasty types who richly deserve their come-uppance. It's violent and funny and ironical, so quite a British type of thing, although the story is ostensibly set in future-America.

Dredd is the second film made about Judge Dredd. The first was - by all accounts - rubbish. It starred Stallone, and he took his helmet off, so you could see his face?? And smiled from time to time?? Ridic.

This film captures the feel of the original. Dredd is played by Karl Urban (Eomer, Bones McCoy) and you never see more than his miserable down-turned mouth - quite right. He's a resourceful actor and within this restriction he conveys the character well. He teams up with Anderson - a female psychic cop who has her own 2000AD series. This is an excellent female role - she isn't hyper-sexualised or objectified, she wears realistic and protective clothes, she isn't superhuman at fighting, and she does not get slotted into a romantic relationship with the male lead or anyone else.

The plot is very similar to the Indonesian tower-block film The Raid which I saw a few months ago. But the budget is massively higher and it's about firepower rather than martial arts. The budget is well spent. The representation of the future urban environment is great I thought. The interior spaces are large, and lived-in, one of the best SF set designs I've seen for ages. The use of colour and digital film is great. They have a kind of chiaroscuro use of blackness - my son tells me that's some kind of digital effect.

Another digital audio-visual gimmick is used to represent drugged consciousness. I thought it was OK actually, I enjoyed it. Others might think it is convenient that the new drug in the community produces a particularly striking digital bullet-time effect :-)

It was easy to understand what was happening in each fight scene. The weaponry was varied but the shooting was all fairly unpretentious. The plot is slightly sadistic, and the female villain is a little bit 'older, disfigured, but somehow annoyingly sexy'. I couldn't help thinking 'Just legalise the drug already - it might cheer everyone up'.

ETA - I must just add that they have a shoot out in a Breaking-Bad style meth drug of the future lab. And the chief male villain and drug-dealer is Avon Barksdale from The Wire. So there are nods to the TV gods, though obviously a film is a completely different kind of thing.

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[User Picture]
From:tehomet
Date:September 21st, 2012 11:32 pm (UTC)
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Anderson - a female psychic cop who has her own 2000AD series. This is an excellent female role - she isn't hyper-sexualised or objectified, she wears realistic and protective clothes, she isn't superhuman at fighting, and she does not get slotted into a romantic relationship with the male lead or anyone else.

Awesome. I'm going to go see it! Thanks for your review.

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