REVIEW: Dredd 3D
By Lee Fisher on September 14, 2012 in Film
Let’s start with a positive (because I’m an upbeat, accentuate the positive kinda guy). Dredd 3D is a lot better than 1995’s Judge Dredd. But then so is being beaten around the face and neck with a baseball bat. After that, I start to struggle to find good things to say.
I’ll put my hand up here and say I’m with Mark Kermode in thinking that 3D is a tiresome, distracting gimmick which will crash and burn this time out the same as it has every other time the film industry has foisted it on us to revive its flagging fortunes. Dredd offers nothing much to disabuse me of that view – the few excellent 3D shots (down the central well of a towerblock, that sort of thing) don’t justify the poor image quality the rest of the time. Which is a shame, because the OTHER good thing about this movie is how great it looks.
Director Travis and the production designers have eschewed the lurid plastic of the first movie and gone for gritty reality – equal parts UK riots 2011 and Glastonbury’s Shangri La area after the pills have worn off. Every shot has something to catch the eye, from shop names to graffiti, which makes it even more galling that all this work has gone to waste on what is otherwise a pretty poor movie.
Let’s not get bogged down in arguments about whether Dredd 3D rips off The Raid: Redemption (forces of law and order invade tower block controlled by drug gangs: bloody violence follows) or vice versa, but the bottom line is that The Raid is a FAR better movie. Original, exciting, beautifully choreographed and paced. All the things Dredd 3D isn’t. Nobody’s looking to a comic book adaptation for rich characterisation or a multi-layered plot, but this movie takes the piss.
The script is lazy, the acting perfunctory, that gags visible a mile off, the pace so close to flat out boring I nearly walked after 30 minutes. To make things worse, the film’s key narrative device is a drug called Slow (like an uber-ketamine that slows time down to 1% in the mind of the user) which is employed purely to enable endless, tedious 3D-showcasing shots of people falling slowly through broken glass, or smashing to a pulp on concrete.
The first Judge Dredd movie was an utter clusterfuck, and nobody was much surprised. In some ways, Dredd 3D is more disappointing, because with a sharper script and just 2 dimensions, this really had potential.
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