Release Date: 2012/9/21
Director: Peter Travis
Screenwriter: Alex Garland
Starring: Karl Urban (Star Trek 2009), Lena Headey (Game of Thrones) and Olivia Thirlby (The Darkest Hour)
Production company: Danny Boyle’s DNA
Based on the popular 2000 AD comic book character (printed in the UK). Created by John Wagner, Carlos Ezquerra and Pat Mills, Dredd is a cult favorite with comic fans in the US. The comic book series was serialized in weekly or monthly installments, and attracted the of Garth Ennis (Preacher), Mark Millar (Wanted), Grant Morrison (Invisibles, Batman RIP). Set in a dystopian future where crime-plagued “mega cities” are run by heavily armored Judges riding computerized Lawmaster cycles, also heavily armed. The strip was brutally violent with horror elements layered in, allowing it to appeal to readers on several levels.
One key element regarding the character was that Dredd’s face was never completely shown. As he was created to represent ‘law,’ it was decided that he would remain faceless. This, along with several other key ideas, failed to make it into the 1995 feature film starring Sylvester Stallone. It’s a shame because the production values are stunning even today.
In sharp contrast to the excessive and bloated disaster that was the Stallone Dredd, the new movie has a leaner budget and is focused on the comic strip itself rather than catering to an actor’s ego. With designs by Jock (The Losers) and a script by Alex Garland (28 Days Later, Sunshine), the film looks far more polished. So far, it looks astounding and has continued to generate positive word of mouth, especially from John Wagner:
I have read the script (by Alex Garland) and seen Jock’s visuals. While I can’t go into detail about the content I can say that it’s high-octane, edge of the seat stuff, and gives a far truer representation of Dredd than the first movie. I hated that plot. It was Dredd pressed through the Hollywood cliché mill, a dynastic power struggle that had little connection with the character we know from the comic.
Filmed in South Africa, actor Karl Urban was positive about the script: “It’s about the day in the life of Dredd as he puts his rookie, Anderson, through the paces to see if she is worthy or not of becoming a Judge.” The movie will use several short stories from the long line of comic strips for inspiration.
Judge Dredd opens September 2012 after the mayhem of the Amazing Spider-Man, Batman: The Dark Knight Rises, The Avengers and similar films have had their day on the screen.