Dredd is based on the comics 2000 AD, which center around the cop Judge Dredd who acts as judge, jury, and executioner in the future that is now our past. The movie does a good job of not mentioning the 2000 AD part. And I’ve been wanting to see this movie for months! Finally got the chance. The actual plot schtick is that a psychic rookie is being taken on a one day assignment with Dredd. They go and check out a triple homicide, but instead end up caught in a huge drug and gang war, trapped inside an enormous apartment building.
The movie is very good. For a shoot ‘em up action flick, it is really really good. Lots of great acting, lots of great special effects, every scene is made to look colorful and distinct, which is great because most of the time these kinds of things could become samey looking. Karl Urban does a fantastic job without ever showing his eyes. The plot has a nice little complication without actually being a twist, just a further upping of the ante. It is all really good.
Then why don’t I like it more?
Movie gives you everything you want and you still don't like it, huh, idiot reviewer?
I don’t know. I really can’t put my finger on why I don’t just absolutely love this flick. The CGI blood throughout most of the movie, and the CGI drug effects are very good for being CGI, and I really don’t have any complaints. I just don’t love it. It was a perfectly fine film. I’d wager that the movie itself doesn’t realize its full potential for tension and just kind of cruises along at a very good action film pace, but could have really been something special if it had cranked up tension.
There was a lot of “competence porn” in this film, watching a Judge who is very good at his job be very good at his job. But because the stakes stayed so high, to watch him be confident meant that the tension actually never got to high, such as on a double cross which he immediately figured out. Or how when the rookie cop is captured, they immediately take away all the threat of anything really bad happening to her. For good reason, mind you. It isn’t like it is bad, it is very good. It just doesn’t propel itself to greatness, and isn’t that special thing I would have loved it to be. It is instead a great action flick I really like. No more, no less.