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Movie Review: Dredd 3D

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What would it be like to observe someone fall 200 stories in slow motion if you were the floor they land on? This is one of the important questions addressed by Dredd 3D, the latest attempt to bring a comic book icon to the big screen.

Long on graphic depictions of violence (how many different ways can you blow a man’s head off?) but short on originality, Dredd 3D takes place in a dystopic future where it seems that our current economic and environmental policies have condemned our descendents to live in a sort of hyper East L.A. As police, judge, and executioner, Dredd (Karl Urban looking shell-shocked under a perma-helmet) has the combined power of all three branches of our current government, and like many campaign donors, he is not required to reveal his identity. Ghetto block justice replaces frontier justice as Dredd and his psychic protégé (Olivia Thirlby who isn’t given the opportunity to hide behind a mask) deal out life and death sentences and then summarily carry them out with their voice-activated Swiss Army weaponry. Or maybe he has an iPhone25.

Things start out all guts and gory but then go downhill from there as the Dredds capture a key member of mob boss Ma-Ma’s (Lena Headey wearing her scars quite well, thank you) drug ring and rather than just dispensing their justice on the spot (why not here, why not now?) they threaten to take him back to headquarters for further questioning. Oh what secrets he’ll reveal! This can’t be allowed by Ma-Ma and she proceeds with a lockdown of her own, sealing off the 200 story building with mega blast doors and blocking all transmissions. What’s a Judge to do? With no access to the Law Enforcers’ iCloud and running low on ammunition, it’s survival of the Dreddest.

This type of gritty cell block paranoia was handled better in Up the Block which at least had a sense of humor. If it’s true that science fiction is written to prevent the future rather than to predict it, Dredd 3D gives us a solid case against future sequels.

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  • Marc

    I saw a different movie than this–a good movie. And did you mean “Attack the Block”? You might want to get it right.

  • Raptor

    (why not here, why not now?)

    It was Just based on mutant powers, Dredd did not trust her yet.

  • http://executiveseverance.blogspot.com Robert K. Blechman

    I stand corrected. Other reviewers have noted the more apt comparison to The Raid: Redemption. Anyway, pretentious, intrusive cinematography, gratuitous, explicit, repetitious violence and a mis-interpretation of the original Dredd character (he was the villain!) do not a good movie make. I’ll give Dredd one thing. I walked out of the theater thinking “We’ll, at least it wasn’t as bad as Green Lantern!”

  • BPP

    Great to read a review that’s more concerned with being glib, oh sorry, you mean funny, than in anyway a review of accurate. The problem with glibness is that it’s terribly easy to dispell..

    Why did Dredd want to take the suspect to interrogation? And – because the psychic was only 99% sure he was guilty. Not 100%. Thats meant to tell you something about Dredd taking his power to execute seriously. It’s also mirrored later in two scenes – one where Anderson advocats cutting him loose as a liability – Dredd refuses as justice must be done. Second in the one scene whee Dredd loses it (the beating) he is shown to be ineffective and retreats to stand in front of an American flag (satire ya’all Gitmo fans).

    ‘short on originality’ yeah, true, I mean it’s true to its source material from 1977, written in close collaboration with its creator who has written the majority of it for those 35 years (a history of violence author John Wagner) and has been itself directly cited as influential by the creatives behind Robocop, The Raid etc… You know, all those things it is now ‘ripping off’. Hell even the writer director of ‘up the block’ (laugh) is an acknowledged reader of the comic. personally I think it was ripping off The Towering Inferno, I mean that’s about fighting your way up a building, right? I hear the life of pi Is about surviving a boat sinking… That’s titanic, right?

    Ah well, good luck with the Shelley Award, if it puts your sales anywhere near Alex Garland and John Wagner you can give up the weird iPhone jokes and concentrate on something you are good at. Let’s hope your work isn’t dogged by the sort of lightweight troll reviews you dole out.

  • http://executiveseverance.blogspot.com Robert K. Blechman

    Hey BPP why resort to personal attacks? It cheapens the valid objections you’ve made. I can dislike a film and try to express that dislike in an interesting way without being called a troll. That’s what “criticism” is all about. I didn’t personally attack the filmmakers or any of the actors. If you don’t like my own work, criticize away. I don’t mind and I don’t have to compete in sales to criticize someone else’s work. Oh, and thanks for the promo. My fast, funny, Twitter-composed mystery, Executive Severance, is available on Amazon. Please buy a copy and critique the hell out of it! I welcome all comments and criticisms, but not personal attacks. They make me a better writer.

  • BPP

    But not a better reader. Feel free to point to the ad homInem in my comment.

    As for your freedom to critique, why certainly, but when your critique is so error strewn and reflects a glib disposition to the subject don’t expect to be taken as anything more than a troll.

    By the way, the movie has a ton of flaws that are valid to critique, you just didnt get to consider them in your ‘review’ as you were too intent on trying to mock.

  • http://www.executiveseverance.blogspot.com/ Robert K. Blechman

    You’re kidding, right? You’re so tied up in knots over this little “Review in Brief”? Methinks there’s some trolling going on over on your side of the fence.

  • BPP

    So thats a baseless accusation of Trolling? I’ve pointed out in detail how you haven’t understood some fairly basic points the movie makes clear. You acknowledged these as ‘valid objections’. You then accuse me of making personal attacks on you. I have pointed out that there are NO personal attacks on you.

    I wish you every success in your writing career
    I congratulate you on your success in the Shelley Award

    I’m happy to repeat those well intended expressions. I will also repeat that your review is glib, un-reflective and is an insult to the work of some seriously lauded talent (Multi-award winning screen writer, Award winning character creators, oscar winning director of cinematography). Dredd 3D is absolutely packed with satire, wit and intelligence plus a love for the days of Genre films like The Thing and They Live!

    A critic has an obligation to take his source material seriously, and I hope that everyone who critiques your future books undertakes this obligation and you receive a fair review. Unfortunately your own handling of this movie is, for me, sadly lacking in upholding that obligation.

    Anyway thats me done, I felt obliged to respond to the accusation of trolling. I wish you every success in all your literary output in the years ahead and trust you get to a few moives you enjoy a bit more too.