Monday, September 24, 2012

Movie Review: Dredd

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All that is needed to sum up a Dredd review is by looking at the weekend numbers, "Come on America, really?"  6 million for a strong R-rated action movie? Gives a good reason why more films are becoming PG13 and using "shaky cam" to capture fight scenes. I highly doubt movie goers passed on Dredd because it lacked a complex story with intricately personalized characters. Battleship still grossed 60 million here.

Dredd was brutal, nasty, in short, fun. Honestly, the highway robbery known as "Admission" felt, well not justified; at least it didn't sting. A simple case of, "It is what it is". Tough characters, Dredd, brutally enforcing the law with a gun that does everything, except make breakfast. The villain, Lena Headey, acting appropriately venomous.

That was quite a surprise about Dredd, both Karl Urban and Lena Headey brought the characters to life, without the need of acting over the top. Dredd could have easily been spouting one-liners the entire film, but instead has a cold and calculating personality. When he says he's the law; he means it. Likewise for Ma-Ma, the potential for scene chewing was there, yet there is a very dangerous presence that doesn't need to justify that it is in the room. Low-key, I like it.

The world of Mega City 1 is quite unlawful, shown in the first five minutes of the movie. It brings a sort of understanding why Judges exist. Brains oozing out on the floor is not a pretty sight. Barring The Raid: Redemption, I don't think there is a more violent action film released this year. Skulls blown open, people set on fire, body parts blown away; and that's only what a Judge's gun can do. As the film points out, all those things couldn't happen to worse people.

Flaws do exist however. The third act felt like it was missing a final over the top set piece. The final shoot out felt out of a video game with some bosses; underwhelming as the rest of the film really amps up the action. A good two or three minutes were needed to give a little character to everything. A techie in the film seems to have an interesting backstory, but nothing really comes from it. Even that morsel of personality reminded me this was a very straightforward affair. No "Double-Whamey".

Shame for Dredd about the weekend. This is an all around good action film that deserved more. People complain of lack of strong R-rated action films today, and Dredd tanks at the box office. Perhaps the World-Wide box office will be different and a following appears, but I'm not holding out any hope. Dredd is worth the ticket price.