Dredd made $36 million against a $45 million budget, which is bad news even when you’re not fighting against a Stallone movie dragging on your reputation like a cinder block tied around your neck.
But we can still redress this wrong: Pete Travis’ arty, and arguably brilliant, take on Judge Dredd hits home video today. Why should you buy it?
It Was The Most Faithful Comic Book Adaptation To Hit Screens
We’re not knocking The Avengers or The Dark Knight Rises, superb movies both. But Dredd probably got the closest to actually reading the comic it was based off of this year. It wasn’t front and center, and you didn’t need to read the comic to enjoy the movie. But it’s the little touches that made it, like Dredd, never once, removing his helmet.
There’s Some Heavyweight Talent Behind The Camera
Pete Travis was an odd choice for the material. He’s a socially conscious director, trained as a social worker, whose other movies have been about topics like the end of apartheid in South Africa. At some point, his name and the word “Oscar” are likely to be tied together.
He also did a superb job with this movie, carefully keeping the atmosphere realistic while also sticking to the spirit of the comic. Similarly, the script, by novelist Alex Garland (The Beach, The Tesseract) is an action movie where it needs to be and often more thoughtful than you’d expect. Garland’s mockery of the “traitor in the midst” trope, for example, is a hoot, and best not ruined here.
Karl Urban Is Great
As an actor, he can be a bit wooden in places. But here, he’s perfect, showing the right amount of righteousness and subtle humor. The “Hot Shot” gag alone is worth the price of entry. This isn’t to knock the rest of the cast, particularly Leona Headey’s cracked-out, angry and practical Ma-Ma.
John Wagner Liked It
OK, that sounds minor, but considering how often creators of comic book characters find the movie to be terrible, getting John Wagner’s seal of approval is nothing to sneeze at. Likely improving his opinion was Garland actually asking him a few questions about the comic and his ideas behind it, instead of Stallone just cutting Wagner a check and telling him to go away.
In short, if you love comics, and you love movies, it’s worth the cash to check out. Do so: We could use a sequel.