Dredd (Review)


Written by Alex Garland
Based on characters created by John Wagner and Carlos Ezquerra
Directed by Pete Travis

If I hadn’t seen Eega, Dredd would be my favorite flick of 2012. Which not only surprised me, but surprised everyone who saw Dredd, from the small amount of people who saw it in theaters, to the increasingly loud amount of people just now discovering it on DVD. Dredd is awesome, a solid action vehicle that builds a believable world without drowning you in lots of back story.
It’s sad that I knew Dredd would fail at the box office before it was even released, the scars of Stallone’s Judge Dredd is still too fresh in the minds of the American public, a public that has zero knowledge of the comic inspiration. But Dredd is having a second life, bolstered by loud supporters and a shocked new audience that is keeping Dredd on the top of the rental and sales charts.
Dredd succeeds because of many reasons. By keeping the action largely confined to a single mega-block, it allows for saving on huge set costs and makes the action close and personal. The fighting becomes desperate as the characters are trapped. Dredd‘s score by Paul Leonard-Morgan is among my favorite scores, and is the first film album I’ve gotten in years. The operatic Slo-Mo segments based on a slowed down Justin Bieber song contrast wonderfully with the heavy-synth action tracks.

The integration of bullet-time 3D via the drug Slo-Mo is a creative way to put Matrix action into a film and make it feel natural, the first time since the Matrix movies where the slow-motion feels like it belongs and isn’t shoehorned in because some producer wanted to ape the Wachowskis.
Olivia Thirlby’s Anderson is not your typical female action sidekick. Though in training, she’s an equal partner. Even though at some point she’s taken prisoner, she doesn’t just sit back and wait for Dredd to rescue her. She’s in control, she rescues herself, and she even saves Dredd. Anderson stays in power while going through the minds of awful people who think awful things, getting what she wants while not leaving any marks (well, not marks you can see.) It’s an equality seldom seen in today’s action epics, and painfully missed. Even Rakie Ayola’s Chief Judge seems natural, she has a respect for Dredd as the best street judge, but also firmly gives him orders.

Judge Dredd (Karl Urban) – The best judge in Mega-City One and a man who never needs backup. His pursuit of justice and punishment for those that break the law is his driving force and life. A lot of chin acting going on for Karl here.
Judge Anderson (Olivia Thirlby) – New judge on her first day for evaluation. Due to her psychic ability, has a special dispensation to become a judge despite failing her exams. A mutant who doesn’t wear a helmet so her abilities aren’t interfered with.
Ma-Ma (Lena Headey) – Former bad girl gone badder, with a thing for ultra-violence. Brutally takes over Peach Trees with a pile of dead bodies and spend bullets.
Kay (Wood Harris) – Drug pusher whose attempts to be cruel to his competition cause the Judges’ interest in Peach Trees and the eventual trouble that ensues when he’s captured.
Clan Techie (Domhnall Gleeson) – He doesn’t even get a name, but this Seth Green on meth guy with bionic eyes is Ma-Ma’s best helper, realizing her control over the systems of Peach Trees all while narrowly avoiding her doing horrible harm to his body.

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Doom (Review)


Karl Urban as John Grimm
The Rock as Sarge
Rosamund Pike as Samantha Grimm
Deobia Oparei as Destroyer
Ben Daniels as Goat
Dexter Fletcher as Pinky

A video game with a cult-like following, which pretty much single-handedly changed First Person Shooters (FPS) into a game archetype of their own. A game every male of my generation with a computer played when it came out, and map sites still exist on the internet. Scientists open a portal to Hell on Martian moons, and demons come through killing anyone they can get their claws on. Only the Doom Guy (as I and my friends called him) stands in their way. Oh, and there is some sequel that came out recently that’s pretty dark, I hear. With lame franchises like Alone in the Dark and Double Dragon losing money at the box office, it was only a matter of time before studios got the bigger named video game movies out so they, too, could lose lots of money. That was attempted to be avoided with this film, where they actually kept some aspects of the plot, and introduced some gimmicks to get people in the audience. But is the film any good? Or are we doommed? Will I use any more terribly obvious puns? Read on, read on…

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