2012, cert 18, 96 mins
Any memory of Sly Stallone’s ‘90s cheese romp is courteously swept under the rug in favour of a meaner, nastier piece of work in director Peter Travis’ grimy, urban adaptation.
Stripped back from any background delving, the narrative is strikingly simple; whilst policing the streets of Mega City One with blunt brutality (like a sci-fi Dirty Harry), Dredd (Karl Urban) gets notified of trouble brewing within a hulking, industrial flavoured apartment building.
It seems that the complex has been under the iron rule of Ma-Ma, a prostitute-come-drug lord who, together with her gang of hard bastards, are using the building as their base of operations for the production of Slo-Mo, a narcotic that, as well as giving the audience some truly eye-popping sequences, sends the user into a slowed state of euphoria.
Dredd is partnered with first-day rookie Judge Anderson (Olivia Thirlby), whose psychic abilities make for an incredibly handy tag-along as they blast their way towards Ma-Ma’s penthouse domain.
Writer Alex Garland (The Beach, Never Let Me Go) makes sure Dredd closely adheres to John Wagner’s 2000AD creation; such as the omission of any helmet removal, leaving Urban’s chin to the acting.
“In a world of compromised adaptations, Dredd is something of a triumph.” (Guardian)
Not bad for a British indie.
Review by Jack Whiting