I missed it in the theatre because we went to see Looper instead hence I’m going to compare it to that a lot below. They are both sci fi films and while Looper isn’t a bad film, and I’m no film critic, it’s sort of a lot of shit spun up for believability with the time travel and telekinesis and farming and a lot of thought went into all those things and how to express them to the audience and then there is a fucking glaring mistake, one that completely invalidates the entire plot of the film and the whole house of cards comes tumbling down.
Dredd has no such mistakes. Dredd doesn’t try to create any type of convoluted time-twisting trickery to validate it’s existence as a film. Dredd makes no pretensions about human condition, redemptions or any of that confusion and while it does have a psionic, it doesn’t try to jam some universal world view onto it’s audience except that the future sucks– real bad, not The Road real bad, but close. There’s one city left in the USA and it’s huge and has arcologies that loom over the wreckage of the old city. The plot is essentially a day in the life of Judge Dredd in said city, albeit one that goes pretty horribly wrong for everyone involved. That’s it. Police officers go on a call, it goes crazy, lots of people get shot or thrown off stuff and that’s it, end of story. No one is left shaking their heads at plot holes galore or how they really wasted two and a half hours because the director had a couple hits in the 70’s and 80’s.
That said, it’s not the greatest film ever, but for what it is, Dredd is extremely well done. The helmets still look stupid and the firepower packed within the little pistols the Judges carry is a wee bit ridiculous. In a few parts the budget looks so low that the suspension of disbelief that you are within a giant arcology gets a bit stretched (like watching part of an old Dr. Who, where they just rearrange some of the sci fi hallways to make a new hallway for that episode. Small flaws aside, I wish I had seen this in the theater instead of Looper.