Too Many Ds

Dredd 3D is an underachiever

When you remake a movie that originally starred Sylvester Stallone and Rob Schneider, it’s not a challenge to clear the bar that was set. Limbo-ing beneath it, however, would require a shrink ray gun. So it is the faintest of all possible praises to say that Dredd 3D, the latest attempt to bring a gory U.K. comic book to the big screen, is the best movie to ever feature Judge Dredd. Of course, that doesn’t mean it’s good.

Director Pete Travis and writer Alex Garland had the misfortune of making an action movie entirely set in an apartment complex controlled by a mob boss the same year The Raid: Redemption set the gold standard for action movies entirely set in an apartment complex controlled by a mob boss. It wasn’t idea theft, as both movies were in production at the same time, but it’s never a good thing to demand immediate comparison with your superior. Basically, watching Dredd 3D will make you like The Raid better.

Both films are dark, gritty and gory and feature law officers in way over their heads, but The Raid felt like violent escapism whereas Dredd 3D feels like endless repetition. It’s never encouraging to think “didn’t they kill that guy already?” And speaking of questions, by now you’re probably wondering “Where is the obligatory plot synopsis in this review?” There’s no need to spill paragraphs worth of ink for something that can be done in two sentences.

In the postapocalyptic future, crime runs rampant because few people are willing to be law officers, who are called Judges for their ability to carry out punishment on the spot. A veteran Judge, Dredd (Karl Urban), is stuck with a psychic rookie, Anderson (Olivia Thirlby), in a high-rise complex controlled by a drug lord named Ma-Ma (Lena Headey). The rest is all shooting and noise, sometimes in slow-motion.

Dredd 3D does have a visual style that’s somewhat unique, with a refreshingly balanced color palate and nicely framed action. But you can only watch someone get shot with future guns so many times before you begin thinking about other things, like how little use Anderson makes of her psychic powers or how much Urban’s chin quivers when he gruffly whispers threats. Garland, who was responsible for other great genre material like Sunshine and 28 Days Later, was content to hammer out one semi-original idea (a drug that makes users feel like time slows down) and hope the audience hangs their own character concepts on the thematic coat racks that are “rookie cop” and “tough vet.”

What’s weird is that lots of critics have been giving Dredd 3D a pass, saying its “goofy, nonstop action” is endearing. When you aren’t the best action movie to pit a supercop against a housing complex full of villains this year, it’s hard to be anything other than bad. Sorry, bad-d-d-d. See, despite featuring three Ds in the name Dredd, Dredd 3D also incorporated the cash-grab 3D gimmick into its official title, giving it a whopping seven Ds (if you’re into counting such thing). Seeing as how the producers love that letter so much, they probably won’t mind getting another one.

Grade = D

posted at 08:52 pm
on Friday, September 21st, 2012

COMMENTS

(We're testing Disqus commenting (finally!); please let us know if you have trouble.)

comments powered by Disqus

 

« Previous Page


Funny Noir Die

Sporting dialogue hotter than a recently spent shell casing and comedy slightly less dark than a necrophiliac stand-up comedian’s set, The Nice Guys targets a niche audience. Luckily, I am pretty...

more »


My Bad?

Sometimes it feels like a bad film is picking on you. What could I have a possibly done to director Joachim Trier to make him single me out like this? Before his new film, Louder Than Bombs, I was...

more »


The 10th annual Elkhorn Valley/BEA D7 Film and Media Conference

Despite the art offerings of Film Streams and the mainstream fare of locally owened theaters like Aksarben, Nebraska still isn’t the ideal place to be a film lover. Sure, we get to see the big studio...

more »


Once, Again

In the name of Parker Posey, Natalie Portman and all other patron saints of Manic Pixie Dream Girls: Could you just…not anymore? Please? There remain countless scores of people who don’t realize...

more »


Speaking of Unholy Abominations…

Two options: 1 – People legitimately loved The Witch after it screened at Sundance and have hyped it because of a passion I simply can’t understand. 2 – Y’all are just straight-up messing with me.

...more »







Advanced Search