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Pete Travis
Karl Urban, Olivia Thirlby, Lena Headey, Rakie Ayola, Jason Cope, Warrick Grier
Writing Credits:
John Wagner (characters), Carlos Ezquerra (characters), Alex Garland

Judgment is coming.

The future America is an irradiated wasteland. On its East Coast lies Mega City One - a vast violent metropolis where criminals rule the chaotic streets. The only force of order lies with the urban cops called "Judges" who possess the combined powers of judge jury and instant executioner. The ultimate Judge Dredd (Karl Urban) is tasked with ridding the city of its latest scourge - a dangerous drug and the sadistic prostitute turned drug pusher who is using it to take over the city.

Box Office:
$50 million.
Opening Weekend
$6.278 million on 2506 screens.
Domestic Gross
$13.401 million.

Rated R

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
English DTS-HD MA 7.1
English Dolby Digital 2.0
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 96 min.
Price: $39.99
Release Date: 1/8/2013

• “Mega-City Master: 35 Years of Judge Dredd” Featurette
• “Day of Chaos: The Visual Effects of Dredd” Featurette
• “Dredd” Featurette
• “Dredd’s Gear”” Featurette
• “The Third Dimension” Featurette
• “Welcome to Peach Trees” Featurette
Dredd Motion Comic Prequel
• Trailer and Previews


Panasonic 50" TH-50PZ77U 1080p Plasma Monitor; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


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Dredd [Blu-Ray] (2012)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (December 27, 2012)

Back in 1995, Judge Dredd became a notable flop, as the Sylvester Stallone vehicle failed to make back even half of its then-high $70 million budget in the US. 17 years later, another studio gave it a shot – and the results were even worse. Despite a lower budget, 2012’s Dredd bombed and barely made $13 million at American theaters.

Maybe someone will try again in 2029 and that one will be a hit, but right now the Dredd franchise seems doomed. When I reviewed the 1995 film, I opined that “there’s a decent flick buried in here somewhere”, so despite its box office failure, I decided to give the 2012 Dredd a look.

In the future, much of America has become an irradiated wasteland, so most people reside in vast Mega City One. Violence rules the day and courts no longer exist. Instead, police officers offer instant justice, and of these, Judge Dredd (Karl Urban) stands as the most respected and feared.

While training Cadet Cassandra Anderson (Olivia Thirlby), Dredd gets called to a crime-ridden high-rise slum called Peach Trees. There they confront the minions of drug lord Ma-Ma (Lena Headey) and find themselves opposed by masses of thugs. Dredd and Anderson need to deal with a mix of challenges if they’re to make it out of Peach Trees alive.

If nothing else, I can say this: Dredd provides a substantially more entertaining experience than its 1995 predecessor. Granted, that’s pretty faint praise, as the Stallone flick was a thorough stinker, but it counts as something, doesn’t it?

Actually, Dredd offers a perfectly decent – if uninspired – futuristic action flick. At no point does it threaten to reinvent any wheels, and it often comes across as a combination of a buddy movie and Die Hard - with much bloodier action.

Make no mistake: Dredd won’t be for the squeamish, as it delights in its gore. It goes nuts with slow-motion, and with some justification, as its “Slo-Mo” drug allows us to view events from the user’s perspective.

Which makes sense, but Dredd doesn’t understand that a little of that would be enough. A few shots utilize the slow-motion for logical effect, but most of the time it just feels like a gimmick that allows the filmmakers to feature some spiffy effects. A few of the slow-motion sequences feel like they go on forever, and that’s not a good thing in what should be a fairly fast-paced action flick.

Don’t expect much – if any – depth from Dredd, either. It comes with a simple story and virtually no character development. Actually, one senses that Ma-Ma and Anderson come with potentially interesting backstories, but the film fails to explore them well. It just sets up the basics and quickly gets us involved in the bloody action.

Although this ensures that Dredd won’t transcend its genre, it doesn’t mean it provides no pleasure. We do find some tension and good action along the way, and the actors prove to be surprisingly solid. Urban plays the lead in a way that melds Eastwood and Robocop. He narrowly avoids winking at the audience, as Urban occasionally threatens to veer into camp, but he keeps Dredd menacing without taking things too seriously.

Headey delivers the best work of the bunch. She makes Ma-Ma cold, cruel and utterly amoral. Headey underplays the part most of the time, and that allows Ma-Ma to seem all the more disturbing.

All of this combines into a watchable action movie. I wish I could offer more praise for Dredd, but “it’s not bad” is about as far as I can go. This is competent and moderately enjoyable mayhem.

The Disc Grades: Picture B+/ Audio A-/ Bonus C+

Dredd appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-Ray Disc. No real issues materialized here.

Sharpness was positive. A little softness interfered with a few wide shots, but those instances caused few distractions. Overall definition worked well. Jagged edges and shimmering were absent, and I also noticed no edge enhancement. In terms of source flaws, the movie lacked specks, marks or other distractions.

Colors appeared stylized, as they went with a sickly yellow-green tint much of the time, and some chilly blues also appeared. Within those parameters, they seemed accurate and came across the way I believe they were intended to look. Blacks were deep and rich, and shadows seemed fine; they could be a little dense due to the film’s high contrast look, but they seemed satisfactory. Overall, the image depicted the source well.

As for the DTS-HD MA 7.1 soundtrack of Dredd, the soundfield seemed broad and well-defined. The audio often could be quite aggressive and provided an encompassing track. All five speakers got a good workout, with unique sounds that went to each channel but that also blended together neatly and largely seamlessly.

The quality also appeared solid. Dialogue seemed natural and clear; I had no problems with intelligibility. Music was rich and crisp, as th score sounded appropriately deep and lively. Effects were terrific, as they appeared realistic and vivid. The soundtrack displayed fine dynamic range, with clean highs and deep bass. Dredd offered audio that satisfied.

Most of the disc’s extras revolve around featurettes. Mega-City Master: 35 Years of Judge Dredd goes for 14 minutes, 27 seconds and provides comments from artist/Judge Dredd co-creator Carlos Ezquerra, artist Brian Bolland, 2000 AD writer/editor Matt Smith, writer/Judge Dredd co-creator John Wagner, writer Mark Millar, artist Jock, and IDW Publishing Chief Creative Officer/editor-in-chief Chris Ryall. “Master” examines the roots and development of Judge Dredd, aspects of the character and comics, and the series’ evolution over the years. We get a nice overview of the franchise in this quick but informative program.

Next up comes the 15-minute, 21-second Day of Chaos: The Visual Effects of Dredd. It delivers notes from visual effects art director Neil Miller, visual effects supervisor Jon Thum, co-executive producer Michael Elson, producer/screenwriter Alex Garland, cinematographer Anthony Dod Mantle, producer Andrew Macdonald, digital camera supervisor Stefan Ciupek, special effects supervisor Max Poolman, and supervising art director Patrick Rolfe. We learn about visual/set design, shooting 3D and slow-motion, and various effects. “Chaos” provides a broader look at technical elements than I expected, and it turns into a good collection of details.

The subsequent four featurettes all provide brief promotional pieces. We find Dredd (1:53), Dredd’s Gear (2:31), The Third Dimension (2:00) and Welcome to Peachtrees (2:33). Across these, we hear from Wagner, Garland, Jock, Macdonald, Mantle, Rolfe, Elson, director Pete Travis, producer Allon Reich, costume designer Michael O’Connor, fabrication supervisor Rob Carlisle, motorcycle fabricator Alex Wheeler, lead stereographer Vincent Toto, production designer Mark Digby, set decorator Michelle Day, and actors Karl Urban and Olivia Thirlby. We hear about cast, characters and performances, costumes, vehicles and props, filming 3D, and set design. Despite their shortness, these clips offer decent info, so they’re worth a look.

A Dredd Motion Comic Prequel runs two minutes, 57 seconds. It shows how a prostitute named Madeline became a drug lord called Ma-Ma. It offers some useful backstory and might be good to watch before you screen the movie.

The disc opens with ads for The Last Stand, Alex Cross, The Cold Light of Day, The Expendables 2, The Men Who Built America and Tarantino Collection XX. We also get the trailer for Dredd.

While a clear improvement when compared to the awful 1995 film, 2012’s Dredd can’t be called a great – or even very good – movie. Nonetheless, it keeps us reasonably engaged, as some bloody action and a solid cast manage to make it better than it should be. The Blu-ray boasts strong picture and audio along with a decent set of supplements. Although I can’t throw a lot of praise at Dredd, I think it does what it needs to do.

Viewer Film Ratings: 4.3043 Stars Number of Votes: 23
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