Movie Review: 'Dredd 3D' -- 3 stars
Directed by Pete Travis
Starring Karl Urban, Olivia Thirlby, Lena Headey
After a substandard cinematic debut in 1995 - a movie that failed both as quality action entertainment and as an adaptation of the comic - Judge Dredd finally gets justice.
While you're not going to get an enlightened experience or a change of worldview from "Dredd 3D," it delivers what expects from an R-rated thriller: flying bullets, chase scenes, surprise twists and creative action scenes, including a stunningly grotesque one that closes out the film.
Karl Urban (Dr. McCoy from the new "Star Trek") dons the uniform in "Dredd 3D," and offers a far superior take on the role then Sylvester Stallone did in 1995's "Judge Dredd."
In this futuristic film set in the massive Mega City One, which runs from Boston to Washington, D.C., Urban's Dredd is a no-nonsense, by-the-book lawman who takes a rookie judge (Olivia Thirlby) with him to investigate some murders at a 200-story complex. The fortresslike structure, as it turns out, is riddled with drug dealers peddling the latest fad: Slo-Mo, which gives the user a high that makes you feel like everything is in slow motion. This leads to a lot of "Matrix"-like scenes.
From there, the tension builds as the two judges have to fight their way through this monster tower.
"Dredd 3D" is a successful translation of the gritty comics, taking the core material seriously. Urban's performance is wooden and stiff, but that's the character. He never even takes off his helmet, just as the character has never shown his face in the comic.
"Dredd 3D," has made the original "Judge Dredd," in a word, expendable.