​Kiwi actor Karl Urban got a big career boost in The Lord of the Rings trilogy and has ever since tried to become an international action star. Urban’s films Pathfinder and Doom were critical and somewhat US box office flops, but he continues his quest for lead actor status. Revitalizing the nearly forgotten comic book and cheesy 1995 film Judge Dredd starring Sylvester Stallone doesn’t appear to be the strongest career move. Banking on audiences shelling out for the 3D prices in order to turn a profit, Dredd isn’t as bad as you might expect, at least if you come in with very low expectations.

​The future has arrived and it’s very dangerous and bleak. The old world is nearly forgotten and the new one is overrun with crime and drugs. Judges now police the streets, carrying out justice on the spot. Judge Dredd (Urban) is one of the toughest and merciless of the Judges who still fights for peace. Dredd is assigned a new partner, one who is still being evaluated. She is what they call mutant, with very valuable telepathic ability. Their first assignment is a bit more than Anderson (Thirlby) has been trained for. The two judges find themselves locked in a 200+ floor slum where a narcotics dealer and murderer known as Ma-Ma (Headly) has the residents so terrified that they will do anything for her.

​Urban seems to be using the Nolan version of the Dark Knight for his inspiration. Urban’s deep voice certainly fits the character, even though we never see anything below the nose. I liked the fact that you have this character who functions almost entirely on a fight-kill-repeat level, yet he is assigned to train this seemingly meek female (who turns out to be so much more) and they battle a hilariously titled character named Ma-Ma, who actually would have been one of the top five best villains of 2012.

Dredd has suspense, a lot of action and violence and, while I expected this film to be chocked full of science fiction fantasy whizzing around everywhere, the premise of the film to keep these two authority figures contained in one building actually works quite well. There is never really a moment where the film goes dull; something is always keeping your attention focused. For me, the intensity of the film was certainly sustained by the confidence of Ma-Ma; she never for a second believes Dredd will out-do her and that evil seems to feed the audience hunger for Dredd to get to her.

Final Thought – Not as bad as it looks.

Grade C+

By: Dustin Chase