DREDD (Alliance, 2012) D: Pete Travis, w/ Karl Urban, Olivia Thirlby. Rating: NNN; Blu-ray package: NNN Rating: NNN
Except for two things, Dredd perfectly captures the spirit of the comic book Judge Dredd. What's missing are humour and social comment. Various writers and artists talk about that in the 13-minute Dredd comics doc that's the highlight of the extras.
What remains is a non-stop shoot-'em-up in a dystopian future where a dour cop (Karl Urban) with the powers of judge, jury and executioner and a nervous rookie (Olivia Thirlby) with psychic abilities have to fight their way out of a 200-storey apartment tower controlled by a vicious drug gang that wants them dead. The body count is astronomical.
Dredd is a scary idea: a by-the-book storm trooper, the embodiment of a brutal regime, narratively positioned as the good guy. But he's the dullest character I've ever seen, with no personal traits beyond dedication to the job, and no face save for chin and perpetually frowning mouth.
Dredd was shot in 3D and probably looks better that way, but visually it works fine on the home screen, and some creative use of extreme slow motion at key moments provides unexpected touches of beauty amid the carnage.
EXTRAS 3D and 2D versions, comic doc, visual effects doc, character doc, 3D doc, production design doc, motion comic prequel. English, French audio. French subtitles.