Trailer Tuesday: Dredd

I have 2 confessions to make.

1) Unlike most geeks on the east side of the Atlantic, I've never read a 2000 AD comic, and have therefore never encountered the character of Judge Dredd on the printed page.

 2) I kinda enjoyed the 1995 Sylvester Stallone Judge Dredd flick, despite the outraged howls by fans of the always helmeted, all-in-one-lawman.

As a result, my interest in upcoming sci-fi action flick Dredd - which is touted as a faithful Judge Dredd film - has never been much more than mild curiosity. I'm certainly no rabid fan, desperate for big screen adaptation attempt #2 to be the satisfying real deal. Plus, after the mind-boggling B-grade mess of Doomsday, I'm going to retain a healthy skepticism about any budget British actioner that's been transplanted to Cape Town for shooting.

This said, online anticipation levels have been ramping up for Dredd, especially since the film screened at this year's San Diego Comic-Con to a very encouraging positive response. Evidently Dredd is unapologetically violent, and skips the flashy CGI for refreshingly credible future-world creation and a sustained, intimate focus.

For the record, as in the comics, Dredd is set in a dystopian future where the world's population has been forced into mega-cities surrounded by irradiated wastelands. In Mega-City One, hundreds of millions of people are crammed into City Blocks, slum buildings that house thousands and stand hundreds of storeys high. With crime and gang wars rampant, the only way to enforce law in these chaotic environments is via the Judges - men and women who combine the roles of police officer, judge, jury and executioner. Faceless, perpetually scowling and gravel-voiced Judge Dredd (Karl Urban) is one of the greatest, and most feared, of these enforcers.

Dredd, the film, doesn't follow one specific arc from the comic series, but instead adopts a "day in the life" approach to Judge Dredd's duties. On the same day that Dredd is investigating a homicide with psychically-gifted cadet Anderson (Olivia Thirlby) at his side, he finds himself trapped in a Block run by scarred drug lord Ma-Ma (Lena Headey) and her underlings. And so begins a desperate 200-storey battle for survival... and justice.

Dredd is directed by British filmmaker Pete (Vantage Point) Travis and written by Alex (The Beach, 28 Days Later) Garland. The movie has been specifically shot for 3D.

Now Dredd could still be too serious for its own good, but I have to say that what I've seen of the film so far is certainly working for me.

Dredd releases on 7 September in the UK, 21 September in the US and 28 September in South Africa.


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