Home CultureMovies You’ve Gotta See Dredd – Essential Cyberpunk Cinema

You’ve Gotta See Dredd – Essential Cyberpunk Cinema

by Cory De La Guardia

Two parts gritty comic book and one part WTF, 2012’s Dredd Satisfies Fans of both The Film and Comic Book

So how is it exactly that you’ve never seen Dredd?  The re-make/sequel (it’s tough to say, it could be both) features Karl Urban in one of his many awesome nerd friendly roles. He’s the guy who has also been in the remake of Star TrekThe Lord of the Rings series, The Boys, Riddick, Thor:Ragnarok and RED when he did a great Stallone impression.

Dredd is the latest film based on the long running british comic book character published in the 2000 AD anthology comic.

The 2012 film featured the veteran Judge Dredd( but not THAT Judge Dredd) taking a rookie through her final ride along before graduating to a full-time Judge. Dredd’s grade at the end of the day would determine the future of Judge Anderson, who is a psychic and failed the aptitude tests by the thinnest of margins. Andseron, played by Olivia Thirlby, feels a little unbelievable in the world of Mega-City One. She is hopeful and optimistic in a pretty brutal time, but she comes into this test intending to prove herself to the seemingly stoic Dredd. In the end, she wants to become a judge and help make the world a better place. Her performance against the cold Dredd works.

The two of them enter the Peach Tree slum tower on an investigation. They quickly find themselves at war with seemingly the whole tower after the character Ma-Ma (Lena Headey) locks it down and explains that the Judges can’t leave alive for fear of bringing down her whole drug operation. Obviously by the end of the movie, Ma-Ma is dead, Dredd has saved the day.  Anderson has kind of warmed his judge heart to earn a “pass” from him, even though she got her gun taken earlier in the film which should be an automatic fail according to Dredd’s own rules.

Dredd Opens with a Killer Chase Scene

Dredd kicks off into intensity right away. A couple of no-good drug addicts are pursued by Dredd on his incredibly rad motorcycle deemed “Lawmaster”. In this version, it’s more toned-down sci fi superbike than awkward unnecessary joke vehicle. Trust me, it packs a punch.  We quickly get a glimpse of Mega-City One, more overgrown Los Angeles than dystopian fright fest.

Dredd pursues the bad guys who are jacked up on the designer drug slo-mo (more on that later). The scene is well directed by Pete Travis, finding new ways to keep us interested. The violence in the scene, like the criminals running over an innocent pedestrian, exude brutal, honest violence. He saves the stylized stuff for the drug affects and shoot outs.
The chase ends with classic cowboy stuff, a one-on-one with Dredd, the one living bad guy and a hostage caught in the middle. Dredd takes him down and owns the scene, being so scared the hostage doesn’t want to bother him. .

Dredd’s Gun has Futuristic Fire Power

The action doesn’t stop at the chase scene. Dredd’s gun the Lawmaster is always one of the coolest things. Getting to select the various types of ammunition rounds and using strategy to problem solve is one of the cool things about Judge Dredd.  Everything from incendiary rounds to automatic fire to non-lethal, the gun is always a cool element of the Judge Dredd story. In the movie, it’s no different.  

The Lawgiver, firearm used by Judge Dredd
The Lawgiver, firearm used by Judge Dredd

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Drawing of Anderson, the Psychic Judge Portrayed by Olivia Thirlby
Drawing of Anderson, the Psychic Judge Portrayed by Olivia Thirlby

You Get to See Judge Anderson’s Psychic Powers at Work

Also, Dredd does a great job portraying psychic powers, probably one of the best film portrayals in all of nerdom.

In other movies like X-men, Professor X or Jean Grey always does the fingers to the head thing.  It’s so annoying because they furrow their brows and then they mutter stuff like their stomach is bothering them.

Dredd does a great job of visualizing what Anderson is picking up, so at least there’s a better understanding of how these powers work.

There’s an awesome scene where she’s reading the mind of a suspect and he tries to turn her powers against her by picturing dark, graphic stuff involving him and her.  After an initial shock, she then turns the power against him and messes with his mind instead, proving that she’s stronger than she’s seemed at that point. Maybe she is capable enough to maybe be a judge after all.

And You Thought Queen Cersei was Crazy?

Lena Headey was an awesome addition to Dredd. She’s a drug dealer of the worst order. It’s like the took her character from Game of Thrones, threw into a sci-fi movie and said, “Ya, we can make this more fucked up”. Her highly addictive drug slow-mo makes people experience time slower. This plot device lets the movie to do a cool, slow motion action whenever it chooses to.  She turns out to be a real badass in the movie very early on, skinning three people alive and then throwing from the top floor of the 200-story slum tower.

Lena Headey Portrays Ma in Dredd
Lena Headey Portrays Ma in Dredd

That’s a real dark thing to do, considering that when they are on the slow-mo it would have felt like an eternity and they would have felt all of it.  That’s some great bad guy stuff right there.

Dredd paints a great, gritty portrayal of the world that the 2000AD comics have been showing everyone for decades. While they weren’t able to show everything that Mega-City One has to offer the average resident, Dredd did a great job of showing a small slice of the world. If you haven’t checked out Dredd yet, then honestly are you even really a nerd?

Cyberpunks.com sentences you to watch it in its entirety.  Negotiations are over. Court is adjourned.

We know cyberpunk movies, so let us tell you what you’re missing. What’s timeless? What didn’t age so well? Share this article, and we’ll make the case for Dredd.

Did we miss something here? Was there an unforgettable scene or classic one-liner that just shouldn’t be left out? What are your favorite parts of this movie? Leave us a comment below, and we’ll try to update the article with your suggestions!

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