Dredd is the latest motion picture adaptation of the Judge Dredd comic book series that began in the mid-'70s. Starring Karl Urban, Olivia Thirlby and Lena Headey, the story follows Judge Dredd and rookie Judge Anderson as they investigate a triple homicide inside the crime-riddled high-rise of Peach Trees.
Dredd takes place in a dismal future where society has been crammed into the remaining livable part of the country, a continuous stretch of the northeastern United States now called Mega-City. Single blocks contain what used to be entire towns, dominated by excessive high-rises housing most of the populants. Crime has become anarchic, so much so that the justice system has been whittled down to a massive army of "judge" cops, who patrol and/or mete out justice on the spot: sometimes involving jailing, and sometimes meriting immediate elimination. Dredd is one of the top judges, and has been charged with assessing a rookie judge who has limited experience but unparalleled psychic abilities.
The duo are called out to a high-rise called Peach Trees to investigate a triple homicide. They quickly determine that the deaths are the result of Ma-Ma, a drug lord for the area - capturing an ever-growing clientele of addicts with her "slo-mo" drug, which can exaggerate and slow down a user's perception of the world to one percent of normal time - and controlling gang leader in Peach Trees.
When the judges take one of her underlings in custody for interrogation, Ma-Ma traps them as well as the entire population of Peach Trees inside as the building goes on total lockdown. From there, Ma-Ma uses her control of the building, her army of thugs and her iron-fist control of the local residents to try to eliminate the judges before any more of her dastardly plans can be unearthed. But apparently Ma-Ma doesn't quite know who she's up against. It's Dredd Time!
Before I go any further, I should probably make clear that I am neither familiar with the Judge Dredd comics nor the previous film version featuring Sylvestor Stallone. I am strictly approaching this new reboot as I would any film, action or otherwise.
The main knocks on Dredd are its poor excuse for a storyline, reliance on nothing but one-note characters and anything but the most inane of dialogue. You might think the filmmakers would have worked on at least one or two of those, but here they decided to put all of their chips down on graphic violence, hoping that the ensuing numbness from non-stop carnage would mask their lackluster attempts in other areas.