Judge Dredd (1995)

Director: Danny Cannon.

Starring. Sylvester Stallone, Armand Assante, Rob Schneider, Jurgen Prochnow, Max Von Sydow, Diana Lane, Joan Chen. USA/UK. 1h 36m.

Long ago in a not so mega city a wee girl used to spend most of her pocket money  on her comic addiction.. 2000AD used to be the regular poison of choice, and maybe a few things by Dark Horse on special occasions.. The weekly dedication soon turned into two and three magazines a week and specials for Christmas and birthdays at at the height of this the comic boosted that fans were finally going to get a movie! the intensity of this new chapter of comics was a big matter, fan art and letters features in specials, speculations hung alongside with wishes and dreams of the Mega cities coming alive with our most amazing (anti)hero. I was too young to see the film but I saw it anyway, hell it was the Odeon, everyone goes in there under aged.. it’s part of its charm.. as for the film it was a bit of a charmless adventure.

Like so many other comic to movie films, this could have led onto a massive franchise and I believe that was the intention, but the first film has the added pressure of having to pull in the existing fans and create a few news ones. Judge Dreadd’s focus is on Dreadd himself  (no brained) a figure who has been solid in the  2000AD pages for .. err.. ever, literally since the first episode in 1977 he’s been the fearless black and white lawman except this film.. it totally pisses on all of his character traits.. all of them..

In this dystopian future much of the planet has been destroyed there are no go  deserty Max Max 3 style areas known as the Cursed Earth, a lot of bandits and criminals thrive there, some have even been “ejected” there by the law. Meanwhile most people live within the confines of Mega Cities, these oversized Blade Runner-esque cities go on forever and a filled with the law officers, known and Judges as they have the rights to execute on the spot.  Dredd is the toughest of the tough, working without a partner and displaying a perfect record he’s soon framed for a crime he didn’t commit and banished to the Cursed Earth where he comes face to face with a lot of people who were put there by him. The dethroned officer has to find a way to clear his name and uncover the uncanny plot the revolves around treachery and cloning.

Despite the film being a remake it feels like it ripped off a lot of established movies, It already had an impressive 30 (plus)  years of ideas to lift from the pages of 2000AD but still it needed to lift from the best ideas of sci fi cinema. the disjointed mess got watered down to a family comedy action film, with antics amplified by Fergee (Rob Schneider) who becomes Dredds pitiful sidekick. Armand Assante crops up as Rico, Dredds long lost criminal brother, with that mix I don’t think I’d want to see their parents. His character nothing like the original but it doesn’t matter because (SPOILER ALERT) he gets wiped out with a lot of the solid favourites from the comics.. how can you start a franchise if you kill off the regulars? Or warp their characters into something terrible as with ABC Warrior leader who goes from war torn leader into a pet robot. The only other potential that Dredd has was the amazing futuristic robots and scenery but it seems to live between a handful of sets, and the crowning glory is Ian Dury, it was great to see him as a backstreet pawn broker merchant.

So Dreadd is set up by unknown forces and arrested for murder, he’s chucked into the wastelands and hunted by some of crims he put there including Ewen Bremner as one of the deformed Angel brothers who are the hicks of the future , he quickly breaks back into the mega city and undercover he manages to pull a sidekick, get his old partner Diana Lane on board and goes against his established law enforcement which has been bent out of shape by a madman.. With the influence of his long lost brother who are working on cloning perfect humans..

The film could have made itself, and with so many amazing storylines to work with, the flavour was genetic cloning.. it’s odd, and quite on par with Stallone’s other Sci Fi ..comedy? Demolition Man (1993) The Cure are selected for the OST which was supposed to rival that of The Crow, but doesn’t come close, which is in line with the rest of the film.

The biggest drawback of the entire project is just how badly Dredd is portrayed, the only aspect which is mildly accurate is the downturned mouth, but that’s where the similarities end. I was so shocked the he took his damn helmet off (stop giggling at the back) it never happens in the comics, it’s simply the law, he’s supposed to be masked at all times, there are theories that Dredd is actually multiple characters and so much mythology got ruined just so we could see Stallone’s face.. seriously? Do actors get paid more for this? .. Apart from that and the over dramatic acting it’s passes the time but is nothing special and definitely a downer for the hardcore fanatics.


Rating 2/10

R – Dredd 3D (2012)
L – Comic to Film adaptations, Dystopian futures vol 1
A – How to kill a Franchise
5s – Sylvester Stallone, Armand Assante, Max Von Sydow
Vs – Judge Dredd vs Dredd 3D
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