Monday, 11 April 2011

The Underrated: Judge Dredd (Pathe, 1995)

In the future, there are no police, no trials, no courtrooms. Only a group of people with justice in their hands called Judges. Among them is the most famous of all, Judge Dredd (Sylvester Stallone). So, when Dredd is framed for a murder he didn't commit, it's up to him, a hacker called Fergie (Rob Schneider) and Dredd's closest friend Judge Hershey (Diane Lane), to clear his name, and bring the real murderer to justice, Dredd-style.

Being based on a British comic book, Judge Dredd is seen by some as sacrilege because he takes off his helmet which, apparently, is something he never does in the comics. Now, I've only read a couple of the comics, but that was when it was 2000AD, which also had Rogue Trooper gracing it's pages, but who cares if he never took off his helmet? Who actually gives a sodding monkeys? I don't think it's a bad film at all. Yes, some bits are disjointed, and the acting isn't up to scratch in some places, but on the whole, I think it's a fun movie. Stallone and Schneider bounce off each other brilliantly as disgraced judge and a 'nice criminal' (as he puts it), and their comic timing is great. Max Von Sydow turns in a great performance (as always) as Chief Justice Fargo and Armand Assante plays the main villain, Rico, with such evilness, you do get the sense that he'll do anything to get what he wants, no matter who gets in his way.

The storyline is based on a story arc that, I do believe, ran over three issues. And from whats on film here, I'd say it was a good story choice. There is another Dredd film in the works that is supposed to be more akin to the comics in style, but any movie adaption, be it from a book or game, is just that: An adaption. Some changes will be made to give it it's own style, and in this case, it does have style. Yes, some green screen effects look a little hokey now, but it's still an entertaining romp that does what it set out to do. And thats deliver an action film that is enjoyable.


  1. I haven't watched the film for years but of what I remember I cannot say that I thought it was a particularly good film. Maybe I should sit and watch it again one day.

    Regarding the helmet, I completely agree. It doesn't half do my head in when you hear people whinging about differences between comics and films. Take Spider-Man with the web-shooters being changed to coming out of his arms for the film. So what, the comic is the comic and the film the film, just accept it.

  2. Watched this yesterday, hadn't seen it since it first came out. Was pleasantly surprised...a lot better than I remember it.
    The tone is faithful to the older Dredd comic strips, the practical effects and design are top notch and Stallone was pretty much born to play the lawman.
    It falls apart in the second half and it's not a patch on the 2012 Dredd, but overall...pretty enjoyable!