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Entry updated 20 April 2021. Tagged: Film.

Film (2012). Lionsgate and Reliance Entertainment in association with IM Global present a DNA Films production. Directed by Pete Travis. Written by Alex Garland, based on the 2000 AD strip Judge Dredd created by John Wagner and Carlos Ezquerra. Cast includes Domhnall Gleeson, Wood Harris, Lena Headey, Olivia Thirlby and Karl Urban. 95 minutes. Colour, 3D (converted).

In Mega-City One psychic Judge candidate Cassandra Anderson (Thirlby) is assigned to Judge Dredd (Urban) for evaluation in the field, only for the pair to become isolated in a block controlled by Drug lord Ma-Ma (Headey).

Tensions in post-production between Garland and Travis were resolved to the former's advantage in this stripped-down second screen version, which was made in South Africa with a frugal budget that sometimes shows, and advantageously recalls Neill Blomkamp's District 9 for its visualization of the urban Dystopia of Mega-City One (see Cities). Shibboleths of the Comic abused in the thoroughly unhappy Judge Dredd (1995) are here respected: Urban has no character baggage, never removes his helmet, and emphatically does not lock lips with his co-star. Nevertheless, the film explores only a gated subset of the source material, resisting the satirical and cinematic riches of the wider Mega-City storyscape in favour of a solemn, occasionally trippy enclosed action thriller which may have suffered commercially from similarities to The Raid (2012); despite fan enthusiasm, the film flopped internationally and prospects of a sequel swiftly receded. [NL]


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