Over the weekend Fran and I went to see Karl Urban’s new movie “Dredd 3d”, a remake of the 1995 Sylvester Stalone movie “Judge Dredd”. When the movie went into production Karl Urban was quoted as saying we would like his version of Judge Dredd. After watching the movie I can only assume his comment was more about his version of Judge Dredd never doffing his helmet to show his chiseled visage than anything else. When Sylvester Stalone made his version of movie he took off his helmet, much to the dismay of die hard Dredd fans.
Both movies are based on a comic book named Judge Dredd. I understand comics are rarely the basis for in depth script material. Normally I am the first person to say “if you want great drama go rent an Ingmar Bergman film.” Don’t get me wrong, I like a movie with high body count as much as the next person – Perhaps a better way to put it is I don’t mind the body count if it serves a purpose like the fast paced Bourne movies (at least the ones with Matt Damon ). What I do not find entertaining is when the high body count is the entire point of the movie; the result of a script that was no doubt written on the back of a paper napkin in a Hollywood fast food restaurant. The script is no doubt direct and to the point and runs something like this:
Judge Dredd enters building.
Judge Dredd shoots bad guys
Unfortunately, that really is all that happens in the movie, albeit in slow motion. Karl Urban, normally quite a versatile and talented actor is wasted in the film. Whenever an actor is cast in a role where their face is concealed in some way, such as motion capture actors like Andy Serkis who portrayed Gollumn, they have their work cut out for them. They must convey emotion through other means such as did Hugo Weaving in the movie “V for Vendetta”. Karl Urban attempts to overcome this hindrance by painting a permanent frown on his face and giving us a performance that is little more than a moving cardboard cutout. Even for a “shoot-em-up” popcorn movie the script lacks depth – if the movie were a river, walking across would scarcely get your ankles wet.
So let me sum up my take on the movie by paraphrasing the Sylvester Stalone version…