Judge Dredd

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Judge Dredd
Judgedredd.jpg
"I AM....THE LAW!!"
Genre: Action
Science fiction
Directed By: Danny Cannon
Written By: Michael De Luca
William Wisher, Jr.
Starring: Sylvester Stallone
Armand Assante
Diane Lane
Rob Schneider
Joan Chen
Jürgen Prochnow
Max von Sydow
Photography: Color
Distributed By: Buena Vista Pictures
Release Date: June 30, 1995
Runtime: 96 minutes
Country: United States


Judge Dredd is a 1995 action film, based on the British comic of the same name.

Plot

In the crime-plagued future, the only thing standing between order and chaos is Judge Joseph Dredd (Sylvester Stallone). His duty: police the violent metropolitan sprawls that crowd the decaying earth, and kill criminals on the spot if necessary. The tables are turned, however, when maniacal ex-Judge Rico (Armand Assante) frames Dredd for murder. But, as his opponents soon discover, not even a prison sentence can stop Dredd from doling out his signature brand of justice.

Why It's Dredd-ful

  1. The film takes a lot of liberties with the source material, which put off a lot of fans of the comic.
    • Major characters are given name-only cameos (as seen on badges ) while others are combined or aged up past being Dredd's peers.
    • Most often mentioned is that Judge Dredd is known for never removing his helmet in the comics, while here, he spends most of the movie without it.
      • Made all the more aggravating a choice by Stallone's dislike of the film's makeup, especially his blue contact lenses, and preferring to wear the helmet when possible.
    • Perhaps the most egregious offense is the movie appearing to not take umbrage with the concept of the Judges themselves as society tipping over into an unethical police state, barely balancing on the point of outright fascism; the movie treats the system as functioning save for the occasional bad actor, such as Rico.
  2. An unoriginal plot that tries to copy the comics, but it even fails at that idea by only focusing on Dredd being framed by his clone brother Rico, ignoring the surrounding elements.
  3. The word "law" is loved to the point of hilarity: including derivations of the word, such as lawless or Lawmaster, the word appears nearly three-dozen times, an average of once every 3 minutes.
  4. Sylvester Stallone's performance as Dredd is so hilariously misdirected, often completely out of step with his co-stars or the tone of a scene itself.
  5. While the explanation of Rico's in vitro mutation explains why he and Dredd look different even though they're cloned from the same material (making them conceptually closer to fraternal twins than identical ones), it also invalidates Rico's DNA being indistinguishable from Dredd's, the core of how Rico frames the Judge for his own crimes.
  6. Laughable dialogue throughout the entire film, such as in the climax with Dredd and Rico arguing, with Dredd saying "You betrayed the law!", only for Rico to hilariously scream "LAW!" back at him.
  7. While the special effects for Mega City One are pretty good, the CG effects, such as the flying ships, don't look that great and are obvious against the sets and miniatures.
  8. Everyone overacts to the point of hilarity, especially Rob Schneider.
  9. While the explanation of Rico's in vitro mutation explains why he and Dredd look different (since Rico himself is played by Armand Assante instead of probably a stunt double with Stallone's makeup likeness) even though they're cloned from the same material (making them conceptually closer to fraternal twins than identical ones), it also invalidates Rico's DNA being indistinguishable from Dredd's, the core of how Rico frames the Judge for his own crimes.
  10. The film can't seem to decide if it wants to be serious or comical. As such, the tone is uneven.
  11. Rob Schneider's character Fergie is annoying, doesn't fit in with the tone of the film, and his only purpose is to give Dredd someone (anyone!) to interact with during his scenes as a fugitive (where the supporting Judge characters would be inappropriate).
    • Yet once Dredd gets back in contact with his comrades, Fergie just... stays in the movie.
  12. During the climax, Rico prematurely activates his unfinished clones to assist him in battle and we see them start to wake, but they don't appear again. The cloning lab then begins to explode moments later for absolutely no reason!
    • This is the result of a last-minute attempt to secure a PG-13 rating, where the violent clone scenes were cut out, but it was sloppy enough that the damage that caused the lab's destruction was trimmed out as well, while the order to activate the clones was left in.
  13. Bad direction by Danny Cannon.
  14. The PG-13 rating means some of the violence gets downplayed, maybe it should've kept it's R rating instead.
  15. The pacing isn't that great.

Redeeming Qualities

  1. The production design as a whole is extraordinary.
    • Multiple blocks of Mega City One were built from scratch, the world is densely detailed and populated, and the makeup (especially Mean) is remarkably well done.
  2. Dredd's suit is relatively faithful to the comics besides the missing "X" in his helmet with a rectangle.
  3. The special and visual effects of Mega City One are really impressive, and sometimes the action and effects are still entertaining if one is willing to overlook the liberties it takes with the source material.
  4. The cheesy acting is entertaining at times, especially from Armand Assante; the guy knew exactly what kind of movie he was in and chewed the scenery with panache.
  5. It has a brilliant score from Alan Silvestri, composer of Back to the Future, Predator, The Abyss, Forrest Gump, The Avengers film franchise... and the infamous Super Mario Bros. movie (which Disney/Hollywood Pictures also distributed).

Reception

Judge Dredd was panned by critics. Reviewers criticized the film for its script and perceived lack of originality and faith to its source material, along with Stallone's acting. The film is often considered to be one of Stallone's worst films, but its visual style, effects, music score, stunts and action sequences were praised. On Rotten Tomatoes the film has an approval rating of 22% based on reviews from 55 critics, with an average rating of 4.00/10; the site's critical consensus is "Judge Dredd wants to be both a legitimate violent action flick and a parody of one but director Danny Cannon fails to find the necessary balance to make it work.". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B" on an A+ to F scale.

Box Office

The film had a budget of $90 million and it made $113.5 million at the box office.

Awards and nominations

The film was nominated for several Saturn Awards.

Trivia

  • Originally given an R-rating my the MPAA, heavy cuts were made to the violence to get a PG-13. When it got another R-rating, the studio decided to release it as-is without cutting it down further... but without reinstating the footage they'd already cut when trying for a lighter rating.
  • John Wagner, the creator of Judge Dredd, disowned the film, saying that the story had little to do with Judge Dredd. He did, however, say that Stallone was a good fit for the character, and that the movie's production values were decent, noting that the movie "told the wrong story" because it "tried to do too much".
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger was interested in playing Judge Dredd.


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