This film is a true tribute to 2000 AD and its 35 years of Dredd that they have given to the world. The film is gritty and a testament to the comic itself. This is no super hero with ulterior motives, this is a man with only one mission in life, the law. This film shows that but also shows that he does indeed have a heart. Even though the film Judge Dredd was fun, this one kicks it in the ass and tells it to never come back. This is Mega City 1 and the world of Judge Dredd.
The film starts with the introduction of a new narcotic into the mega blocks of Mega City 1 called Slow Mo. When a person inhales the vapors of the drug their time sense is slowed down to 1%, with that it looks like the world has slowed down just for their enjoyment. While just the visuals alone would be wild under its influence it would also mean that any pain or pleasure that a person might feel would be drawn out almost 100 times as long. Depending on what is happening to you it could be heaven or the very depths of hell that you would never be able to escape till the drug ran its course. As we enter the action of the film Dredd is chasing a Vanagon whose occupants are high on Slow Mo. They are threatening the lives of the innocent and it is up to Dredd to take them down. True to form, none of them escape.
An interesting side note, when all the bodies are dead Dredd (Karl Urban) calls into Central for the dead bodies to be recycled and later in the film another Judge says that Mega City 1 is nothing more then a meat grinder and the Judges are the ones turning the wheel. Judge Lex (Langley Kirkwood) tells him this while he and 3 other judges are trying to kill Dredd. Makes you wonder what they do with all the “meat” that Lex is talking about. Soylent Green anyone?
Anyway, that is getting ahead of things. It is right after finishing the chase and making sure swift deadly justice had been dispensed that Dredd gets a call from Control to return to the Hall of Justice to speak with the Chief Judge (Rakie Ayola) for an assignment. She wants Dredd to do an assessment of a rooky Judge to see if she can make the cut. Cassandra Anderson (Olivia Thirlby) was admitted to the academy under special dispensation and was within 3 points of passing. The Justices and Chief Judges want to see her as a Judge since she is such a strong psychic. The Chief Judge wants Dredd to take her out for one day for a pass fail evaluation. Dredd really doesn’t see the point since she failed the final at the academy but will follow orders even if he doesn’t like it or agree with it.
On the way out of the Hall of Justice, Dredd runs through all the reasons why Anderson would fail the assessment. At every point all she says is that she understands. Since it is her evaluation, when they reach their Lawmasters, Dredd instructs Anderson to choose which incident that they will go to. We find out that the Judges are only able to respond to about 6% of the crimes that happen in the city. It is up to each Judge to choose which one they will investigate or respond to. Anderson chooses a multiple homicide at the Mega Block Peach Trees. She was born in a Mega Block and wants to try and make a difference by helping one that is in trouble now.
The three people killed were part causing problems for the Ma-Ma gang and were skinned alive and then thrown off the 200th floor down the atrium well. Before they went over they were given a shot of Slow Mo to make sure that the trip would be more intense before they hit bottom. I will tell you this, when the bodies hit the floor it was rather real looking and is not for the squeamish. As a matter of fact, true to Dredd tradition there is a great many shots to the head and body parts getting flattened in ways that might make those more sensitive loose what ever they recently had to eat. Even with the carnage the film is still quite good but it shows just how sickening the drug use is and what it causes those under its influence to see and feel.
Ma-ma (Lena Headey) never thought that Judges would respond to a killing in Peach Trees since there are not enough Judges to go around and wouldn’t have even cared about them coming if they hadn’t captured for interrogation one of her own. If Anderson hadn’t looked into the mind of Kay (Wood Harris), they would have just left the whole thing to recovery and left the building but Anderson, she saw that Kay might have been the one that had killed the people that they had found in the buildings atrium. Since Kay was snagged for interrogation Ma-ma put the building on lockdown and told everyone to kill the Judges or no one would ever get out of the building. The reason she does this is that Kay knows all the details about the drugs manufacture and she doesn’t want that information to get out.
As I said this is a movie about just one day in the life of Judge Dredd and how he deals with crime on a daily bases. He is a person that deals swift justice and is sometimes taken back by Anderson’s reasoning about certain situations but it also gives him a greater respect for her as a Judge. Even with the violence and gore this is going to be one 2000 AD film that you would want to keep. If you want to see how the Mega Cities started you might want to also check out Hardware. Be warned though it is even more twisted and bloody then Dredd.
I give this film a Musing review of