Review: “Dredd 3D”

There are certain signs which point to a movie being bad. The first is if “3D” is in the title. That means its either so-bad-it’s-good or it never should have been made. The second would be what the advertisements look like. To put it kindly, “Dredd 3D” looked on par with “Jonah Hex” when I first saw its trailer. Another mistaken adaptation for the 2000 AD comic.

Fortunately, both of those signs were misleading. “Dredd 3D” is the real deal. One of the best action films of 2012.

For those completely out of the loop, Judge Dredd (Karl Urban) is a futuristic mix between Dirty Harry and Robocop. He upholds justice to the letter of the law and isn’t afraid to execute criminals deserving of the punishment on the spot.

The story here is a simple one. After being paired up with a rookie (Olivia Thirlby) who has psychic powers (remember, it’s a comic), Dredd responds to a homicide call at a 200-story housing complex. Upon arrival, the Judges find out the entire building is controlled by a single drug cartel. Worse, its leader, Ma-Ma (Lena Headey) shuts down the building and promises to kill anyone who helps Dredd escape. The Judge and the rookie he’s evaluating have to fight their way out and take down the cartel responsible for Mega City One’s newest street drug.

Some people say that the plot was stolen from this year’s “The Raid: Redemption” but don’t let that be the reason you miss the film. In fact, this film was in development before “The Raid” and both are awesome flicks. So let’s not nitpick.

Urban is a natural fit for Dredd, playing the character better than I had even expected back when he was announced for the role. He is a seriously underrated actor (and will probably stay that way since this movie is tanking at the box office).

At first, I was a little worried the action would be underwhelming due to how tough the filmmakers were making Dredd out to be (what you might call “the Superman syndrome”). Over time, we get to see Dredd adapt to certain situations and the action gets more and more intense.

This is a film full of tough-guy lines and bloody action scenes, so if that isn’t your cup of tea, you’ve been warned. For anyone who thinks that sounds like a good time, get ready to enjoy 2012’s most overlooked film.

Grade: B+

Happy viewing.

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