Wednesday, 12 September 2012
So, saw Dredd 3D last night.
First up, not the hugest 2000AD fan: i visited the offices and had a review from editor Steve MacManus in the early 90s, looking through original art and seeing the production office but I grew up reading Marvel and Dc rather than British comics. I do like Dredd as a character though and love the visuals.
As to the Stallone version: I think it's almost a good movie. Great production values, an accurate Megacity, solid plot...oh, but Stallone. From his opening posturing cry of "I! Am DELORE!" through his pansy costume, face reveals, pining for family and insipid "I knew you were going to say that" catchphrase, he stinks up the movie and pretty much kills it dredd, um dead.
So, Karl Urban: spot on performance. He doesn't ham it up but plays Dredd's seething rage with an icy coolness and is totally convincing as the hardass we all know, not invulnerable but all the more powerful for being more dedicated. Anderson isn't quite the character we all know but is similar to the early Cassandra and exhibits her psychic abilities in a well handled balance. Mama is also played without the usual movie villain OTT shenanigans, Lena Headey playing her as almost an ordinary average person...who happens to control a huge criminal empire.
The streets and sets are closer to our world than the original movie's but feel all the more real, decayed and oppressive as a result. The film does have that added air of verisimilitude as a result, boosted by moody lighting and some pretty decent and beautiful (despite their violence) 3D effects.
But much as the comics often do, the movie fails with its story. Within ten minutes, Dredd and Anderson are trapped in a 200 story block and have to ascend to the top via a gauntlet of numerous armed criminals in order to take down Mama. that's it. No subplot, deviation or deeper meaning. No real character development or emotional moments, no memorable set pieces or scenes (despite the good effects), no moments that sing and lift the movie into something memorable.