Clever, yet cheesy and intriguing artistic special effects give Dredd a late 1980s or early 90s feel. This is fitting and obviously intentional because Dredd (2012) is sort of a remake of Judge Dredd (1995). The distant future in Dredd (2012) feels similar to what filmmakers in the 80s and 90s thought the distant future would be like. So, in a sense, the movie takes you back in time but to their future.
The entire film seems to be a satire on the action movie era during the time when Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Bruce Willis ruled the genre. No acting skills are necessary, only gratuitous amounts of bloody, gory violence, corny one-liners, and an endless supply of bullets. Of course, the main characters are severely outnumbered and always appear to be bulletproof, while countless numbers of bad guys get obliterated. It is absolutely a popcorn movie.
It was mildly humorous, but quite entertaining throughout to watch a movie that mocked it’s out genre. It’s almost as if the creators wanted to prove that they could do a better job at 80s and 90s filmmaking than the actual filmmakers of the 80s and 90s. Adding a little twist to that concept, the movie went back and forth between cheap special effects and present day awesome special effects.
The cheap technology was used during most of the very gruesome scenes and as a result, those scenes were easier for the viewer to watch because the overuse of blood and gore would make the scene look pretty fake. There was the occasional scene that looked awfully realistic and it would sort of sneak up on you.
The main character (Judge Dredd) was played by Karl Urban, but it didn’t really matter because he wore a mask the entire movie and you never saw his face. Anybody could have been under that mask. Urban did supply his character with a high-quality tough guy voice, to his credit. Have you ever heard of the guy though? Me neither. He is a character actor whom I would recognize, but has never been important enough to remember.
I think that Dredd is worth watching as long as you know what you are getting yourself into. Don’t expect much and you might be pleasantly surprised. It’s not great, but it is enjoyable.
I rate this movie a 6.5 on a scale of 1-10.
Buy, rent, or run? Rent.