Dredd debuted in theaters on Friday, September 21 (Photo : Lionsgate )
"Dredd 3D" has finally debuted in theaters to a mostly positive reception, and has been both praised and criticized for its brutally violent, simplistic approach to the film's material.
Karl Urban dons the infamous Dredd helmet as a "Judge" in the distopian Mega-City One this time around in the Peter Travis directed movie. The original 1995 "Dredd" film starred Sylvester Stallone and, while it may maintain cult hit status among some crowds, garnered mostly negative reviews. Rotten Tomatoes records that the Stallone film received only 16 percent positive reviews. In contrast, "Dredd 3D" sits at 77 percent positive reviews on the site, even though its current metacritic average is 57/100.
Below are several highlights from well-known review sources:
In many ways, Dredd feels like an action film from a simpler time, like Assault on Precinct 13 or Escape From New York. It doesn't break the bank with escalating set-pieces, to the point where the character is lost amidst the explosions. Dredd is a character study, primarily, one fuelled by violence and action, and we can't think of a better way to re-introduce this character to cinema audiences.
Good news, Judge Dredd fans. Pete Travis's savage interpretation of John Wagner's futuristic law enforcer adheres to the character's grim graphic-novel roots and proves far superior to the corny misfire attempted by Sylvester Stallone back in 1995.
Guns are fired; viscera squishes, squirts and sprays in 3-D and sometimes in slow motion. Every so often there's a suggestion that a police state may actually be a lousy idea, but this thought dies even faster than the disposable characters.
"Dredd" is raw (the HD cinematography is iffy at best) and profoundly aggressive, not afraid to show off death and destruction graphically, intermittently boosted by the twinkly euphoria Slo-Mo brings to its users. If a sequel should come, the series is set to explode, having established the Mega-City One world with authority, now able to trade budget-minded claustrophobia for the crippling expanse of a dying world just aching for exploration. "Dredd" is an excellent start, but there's plenty of room to grow and crooks to judge.
That "Dredd's" cinematography is one of its strongest assets speaks to the film's larger problems - the parts and pieces just don't have the total impact they should, like a punch sailing helplessly through the air rather than forcefully smacking its target.