Judgment Time for “Dreddâ€

By Karsten Burgstahler

If you want to play a video game without actually thinking through the action, you’re in luck. “Dredd” lets viewers in on the film’s hyper-violence without requiring

any brainpower!

This is good news because the film’s drugs slow down characters’ minds to function at 1 percent of their normal rate.


The drug is called “Slo-Mo,” and the movie gives the audience ample chances to experience it in 3D.

“Dredd” follows the title character (Karl Urban, “Red”) as he trains a rookie (Olivia Thirlby, “Juno”) to enter the Judge program.

The program is the last remnant of justice in a futuristic dystopian city that stretches from Washington D.C. to Boston.

This is the last inhabitable part of the country for an unknown reason, and people live in skyscrapers similar to Chicago’s Cabrini-Green complex with gangs who control different levels.

The MaMa clan, headed by MaMa, herself (Lena Headey, “300”), controls the building Dredd finds himself training the rookie in. MaMa wants Dredd dead, and predictable chaos ensues.

The movie is somewhat of a throwback to ‘80s action films.

Instead of relying on explosive battles, the actors use brute force to fight their way through conflicts. It’s nice to see “Die Hard”-style action back on the big screen.


Unfortunately, the film insists on mashing this hard-core action up with graphics that belong in a comic book.

You can almost see the “Kapow” and the ‘Scrrreeech” come off the screen with every punch.

The two techniques contradict each other, which leaves the viewer to wonder why the filmmakers were so indecisive.

The film was shot in 3D, so the filmmakers can get credit for not haphazardly slapping a 3D conversion on it.

But the extra dimension adds very little to the movie, except during the awkward slow motion sequences that depict


Water droplets fly out of the screen at you. Oh wow, impressive. That’s never been done before.

At one point, the screen’s top and bottom go dark.

Bullets fly out of the action and onto the darkened portion in an attempt to enhance the 3D effect.

“Wrath of the Titans” attempted this camera trick earlier this year; it’s not cool, and it never will be.

The bar was raised after “Avatar,” and everything else simply paled in comparison.

“Dredd” does nothing to further the cause.

The script is OK, except for a few lines that will elicit groans.

What makes the decent screenplay seem so bad is that the main character who delivers it is a guy wearing a visor that looks like it was purchased at a Toys R Us circa 1986.

Headey has fun playing MaMa, and she seems to be the only one who embraces how ridiculous the proceedings are.

“Dredd” is an OK action movie, but there is no doubt that it would be considerably better with effort.

The movie’s relentless violence serves little purpose, and the ending isn’t too satisfying.

Better luck next time.

1hr 36min? – ?Rated R? – ?Action?