Let's be honest, after the horrible 90s film, we were all sort of 'dredding' the return of Judge Dredd to the big screen. But surprisingly, this was a pretty good film.
I'm somewhat familiar with Judge Dredd, or at least more so than the average person off the street is going to be. Partially because I've read a few story arcs for him, with my favourite being the first time Judge Death shows up. And as such, the film seems pretty true to its origin. Number 1. being 'Dredd never takes off his helmet'. Which is how it's supposed to be. Fans of the comic have never even seen him without his helmet off in the 30 years since the comic first started, why should movie fans expect any differently?
Anyway, the film itself starts off pretty simple at first and seems to follow a buddy-cop formula where an older and more experienced cop;Dredd, is assigned a rookie partner;Anderson. Dredd is extremely strict and by-the-books while Anderson, being the rookie, is more naive and idealistic. So the deal seems simple right? At this point in other movies, they would team up to find there's this big bad crime boss in town and they would then get into minor scuffles with the crime boss while slowly starting to understand each others lifes before finally getting into a big shoot out with the mafia.
Yeah, not in this movie. That BS is for other buddy cop films. Viewers will already start getting the impression the film is different from most other buddy-cop films from Hollywood by the brutality shown in some of the scenes, such as people being skinned, etc. And that's just the start of the show.
So instead of all the BS in between, we skip to the main firefight in that Dredd and Anderson end up trapped in a giant skyscraper and have to try and fight their way out, while the psychotic mob boss calls for their deaths to try and prevent them from escaping with the secret she wants to protect.
The only issue I have with this scenario is that the judges don't seem superhuman or technologically advanced enough to basically fight off a skyscraper with what may be a few hundred/thousand thugs. It was stated the population of the skyscraper was maybe 70k. It's controlled by one single crime boss. I would have expected her gang to number in the hundreds if not hit a thousand at least. Instead, it seems like it's barely over a hundred, judging by how many Dredd kills.
Dredd himself is brutal, surviving many things that would have killed many lesser people and then summarily executing the lawbreakers. Anderson herself is softer, less rough around the edges, at least until the last 20 minutes where she toughens up and kills several corrupted judges by herself.
However, the story sort of leaves the viewer hanging at the end as they never reveal if Anderson chooses to become a full fledged Judge or not. Sure, Dredd accepts her as one but she herself is not sure if she wants to become one anymore. Although to be honest, with that kind of shitty first day on the job, I'd probably reconsider too.
In the end, is Dredd worth watching? Yes, if you like action. Doubly so if you liked the comic series.
Oh and in case anyone is interested, there is a Judge Dredd miniatures kickstarter going on.