Top 365 Films – #278 – Dredd (2012)

Top 365 Films - DreddDIRECTED BY: Pete Davis

STARRING: Karl Urban, Olivia Thirlby, Lena Headey and Wood Harris

BUDGET: $50m

EARNED (Worldwide): $35.6m




In a violent, futuristic city where the police have the authority to act as judge, jury and executioner, a cop teams with a trainee to take down a gang that deals the reality-altering drug, SLO-MO.


We’re taken into the future where America is an irradiated waste land. On the East Coast, running from Boston to Washington DC lies Mega City One – a violent metropolis where criminals rule the chaotic streets. The only force of order lies with the ‘Judges’, a group of urban cops who possess the powers of being judge, jury and executioner. Known and feared throughout the city is Judge Dredd, who is challenged with ridding the city of the latest problem, a dangerous drug epidemic that has users of ‘Slo-Mo’ experiencing reality at a fraction of its normal speed. While Dredd is assigned to train and evaluate rookie Cassandra Anderson, who has powerful psychic abilities, they get a call to a crime in a neighbourhood Judges rarely enter…Preachtrees, a 200 storey slum controlled by drug lord Ma-Ma.


Dredd has an eighties old school film feel to it, even with its visual effects with the slo-mo sequences and the grand scale of Mega City One and by old school feel I mean it’s hardcore Rated R material of the badassery kind. Granted it didn’t do as well as it should have at the box office, whether that was due to the memory of Sylvester Stallone’s Judge Dredd still fresh in most film viewers minds (and a bad taste at that) or the unfair comparison it received along with The Raid: Redemption, which came out almost at the same time as Dredd. With it being visually great to look at and the action scenes being really well constructed, the acting is fine as well. Karl Urban really is Dredd here, in an almost ‘ego-free’ style performance with his entire face except his mouth covered by the Judge helmet, doing a tremendous job in the role in my opinion. Olivia Thirlby has a character arc in this film as rookie Judge Cassandra Anderson and does well in balancing not only her vulnerability but also her toughness as the film progresses and Lena Headey does well in the villain role as Ma-Ma. Dredd won’t be everyone’s kind of film potentially due to the violence but it’s fast hit cult status and for years people will keep on campaigning for a sequel.


FAVOURITE SCENE: Dredd gets shot by a bent Judge…doesn’t scream in agony or even flinch. What follows is just as good. Don’t know why but that ‘Wait’ scene has always stood out for me.

FAVOURITE QUOTE: ‘In case you people have forgotten, this block operates under the same rules as the rest of the city. Ma-Ma is not the law… I am the law. Ma-Ma is a common criminal; guilty of murder, guilty of the manufacture and distribution of the narcotic known as Slo-Mo, and as of now under sentence of death. Any who obstruct me in carrying out my duty will be treated as an accessory to her crimes… you have been warned. And as for you Ma-Ma… judgement time.’ – Judge Dredd

DID YOU KNOW?: The character Ma-Ma was originally written as an elderly woman but Lena Headey convinced Alex Garland to make her a middle-age person with a male-hater personality.

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