Dredd [Blu-Ray 3D] Pete Travis

Dredd [Blu-Ray 3D] Pete Travis
7
It's been said before, but it warrants repeating: put that reprehensible train wreck starring Sylvester Stallone out of your mind. This iteration of the classic British comic character is one of the best pure dystopian action films to come along in a while. The team of screenwriter Alex Garland (The Beach) and director Pete Travis (Vantage Point) nail the gritty, gruesome, uncompromising tone of the future's most feared lawman, though they come up a tiny bit short on the satirical bent of the long running comic series, which was born amidst the conservatism, verging on fascism, of the Thatcher administration. Compartmentalized, brutalist architecture defines Mega-City One and its downtrodden inhabitants. A brief voiceover explains the setting: in the irradiated wasteland of future American, the only habitable zone is a giant city that houses hundreds of millions of citizens. Massive structures called "mega blocks" are the equivalent of entire cities and it's in one of these that Judge Dredd (a member of a judicial force with the authority of judge, jury and executioner) takes a new prospective Judge, with a beneficial mutation, on a field test. Here's where Dredd runs into only semi-accurate comparisons to overrated action flick The Raid. Peach Trees, the mega block in question, is controlled by a vicious gang headed by ex-hooker Mama (Lena Hedley, in her best performance outside of Game of Thrones). Her gang controls the distribution of a new street drug called "SLO-MO," which drastically slows the brain's perception of time and gives everything an ethereal glimmer, providing an excuse essential to the plot for some utterly gorgeous scenes of violence, especially as captured in this uncharacteristically intimate use of 3D. Karl Urban is perfectly cast as the perpetually helmet-clad, no-nonsense Judge Dredd and Garland's tight script is an extremely efficient and effective introduction to a world where the only thing more distressing than the totalitarian justice system is the insidious corruption that warrants it. It's a shame Dredd didn't take in enough money to spawn a sequel. The clearly passionate crew of Brits who made this simple yet inventive action flick make the most of this 3D Blu-Ray release with a generous helping of tech- and history-heavy features. "35 Years of Judge Dredd" covers the character's extensive past, with the aid of many of the key creative personalities who've contributed to its success over the years, including co-creators Carlos Ezquerra and John Wagner, artist Brian Bolland, writer Mark Millar and editors from 2000AD and IDW. This group's considered efforts of the character and his purpose highlight just how much potential there is in further stories that we're sadly unlikely to see on the big screen. "Day of Chaos" covers the meticulous art design, digging deeper into the fantastic stereoscopic imaging and use of a camera that shoots around 4,000 frames per second to create uniquely hypnotic, beautiful images. A surprising number of shots were achieved entirely without CGI enhancement, but the technical team isn't shy about admitting which are which. The remaining features are brief and unessential by comparison — a mini-featurette; elaborations on Dredd's boy-bait gadgets; the ambitious use of 3D; and a look at the mega block design — with the exception of a decent motion comic prequel that would have benefited from better voice acting. For fans of hard-nosed action and the original comics alike, it'd be criminal not to pick up Dredd. (Alliance)