Thursday, June 21, 2012

You're Probably Going To Have To Keep Waiting For a Good "Judge Dredd" Movie

The real problem with the first cinematic attempt at "Judge Dredd" was that they somehow managed to miss that the comics were supposed to be funny; a brutal satire of contemporary American culture and American action-hero archetypes as seen by Brits. It also wasn't quite violent or nihilistic enough, sure, but without the sense of humor it didn't matter either way - a proper "Judge Dredd" movie needs to be a celebration of "for-your-own-good" facism turned up to eleven in order to point out the inherent facism in "straight" versions of the no-nonsense supercop subgenre.

Below, the trailer for an attempted "reboot" of the franchise (now just called "Dredd") with Karl Urban doing his best Christian Bale Growl in the lead. They've certainly got the grit and the violence down, and supposedly this version of Dredd is never going to remove his helmet... but it looks like they've once again missed the whole damn point, the trailer offering zero indication that any level of humor or satire is present. Pity...

The elephant in the room for action nuts will likely be that this seems to have the exact same premise as "The Raid" (the two films were in-production around roughly the same time) but I kind of like that about it. Too many franchise movies mistake a travelogue for worldbuilding, and I like the idea of Dredd as the hero of a very specific action-movie setup.

The buzz on this, incidentally, is exceptionally bad - it shot ages ago, and the studio was supposedly so unhappy with the result that the original director was shut-out of an extensive reworking/overhaul in post-production (the producers have downplayed these rumors, suggesting that an "unconventional" approach to authorship of the film was part of the project from the beginning.)


BookwormOtaku said...

Anyone else besides me just missing Stalone?

sstark said...

While there's certainly humor in the comics, it isn't necessarily the drawing point for fans. A lot of people just like the lore, the characters, etc.

Anonymous said...

The humor for Judge Dredd is the same humor that comes from another grim-and-gritty setting, Warhammer 40,000.

You push the grittiness to, say, Bad Lieutenant or Narc levels and you want to take a bath afterwards.

But you push the grittiness to 'giant walking battle cathedrals vs. giant alien bug swarm vs. Terminator Egyptians IN SPACE' and you can't help but laugh.

Grim and gritty can be funny ON ITS OWN if it's pushed to the very edges of audacity and believability.

So long as he says the line "GAZE INTO THE FIST OF DREDD" while punching some random mook, I'm happy.

MasterNyx said...

Is it me, or does a drug that affect the user's perception of time a bad premise to use a ton of 300 style slow motion?

Jake said...

It's the fucking Bloody Eye drug from Cowboy Bebop! (Or "Zoom Gas" from that piece of shit Chuck E. Cheese movie with Chris Sabat.)

Razmere said...

Not gonna lie, this looks fun. It doesn't look like a good film by any sense of the word, but it looks fun.

I guess maybe because I liked the first Judge Dredd movie in a "Guilty Pleasure" sort of way.

Oh well. We shall just have to wait and see.

Anonymous said...

Someone better make a movie called "Judge Mars Green" because those words are taboo or something.

Gordy said...

Spot-on there, Bob. The director was quoted a while back in 'Empire' stating he felt Dredd should have a more "gritty, realistic" feel or something to that effect. Ho hum. As a Dredd fan of almost 15 years I see little to get excited about here. That wonderful 2000AD humour seems to have been left by the wayside.

Not particularly relevant to the discussion but I had a look at the IMDB page earlier and noticed that the Chief Judge is played by a black actress. I found that interesting purely because I wondered if she's playing an entirely new character or if fans will soon be getting their knickers in a twist over a black Hershey or Magruder (or a female Silver or Fransisco).

BookwormOtaku, did you know that Ezquerra's original sketches were modelled after Rocky Balboa?

Christopher Delvo said...

I think it looks goofy. The sense I get from this is not "Serious gritty action movie" so much as "ridiculous, over-the-top premise, but played totally straight". Now, will the movie be any good? No. Will it live up to the stupid levels of camp that stallone's did? No. But I think it could be fun and silly in its own right.


Anonymous said...


You've never actually *read* Judge Dredd, have you?

Aiddon said...

Alex Garland's career post-28 Days Later hasn't exactly been stellar.

Adam Lipkin said...

We had a great Dredd movie. It starred Peter Weller and Nancy Allen.

That said, this does look awful. It's more "faithful" than the last movie on the surface, but doesn't seem to "get" the Dredd feel.

Eze said...

@Adam Lipkin

Yes, we did. And Hollywood wants to redo that too.

Speaking of redos, Bob, I'm sure that even when a door is closed on something awful, a window is opened.

Enter this:

Rob Paulsen, everyone's favorite Raphael, is voicing Donatello?

The New Thundercats was good, and it might get canceled. And this gets green-lit? No....

Mads said...

Might watch it just for cersei lannister....

Josh said...

In my mind, a Judge Dredd film would work best if (A) Dredd had a booming, stentorian voice instead of a growly one, (B) the society of the Mega-City was played like a Frank Miller neo-fascist wet dream pushed through the mesh of satire, and (C) you had maybe one overtly evil bad guy but also saw Dredd brutally dismembering jaywalkers and conscientious objectors.

biomechanical923 said...

The trailer looks abysmal.
Karl Urban looked like he was doing a Clint Eastwood impression.
The helmet looks really goofy.
I think the giant spaulders helped to balance out the costume.
With no other pieces of armor or flare, the giant helmet makes Dredd look literally (and figuratively) like a giant dick.
Maybe that's the idea they were going for...but probably not.

TheWest said...

Having actually read the comics, I'll admit that the trailer was so generic that I could have replaced Dredd with anybody and nothing would have really changed.

That said, it is still just the trailer and not the final product. John Wagner (one of the creators of JD) has given a nod of approval after seeing a screening of the film, and many have said that it follows in the moral ambiguity that is seen in the comics. That this story is supposed to be a day in the life of Dredd. But who knows, maybe it will be true to the comics or just be another boring action movie.

Also, I wonder how many Americans would have actually gotten the satire anyway?

Unknown said...

God, what an awful trailer.

When I heard the original pitch about a "reality altering drug", my years of reading 2000AD kicked in, and I was thinking "Dude, a drug that makes reality warp around you? That's so perfectly Wagner."

But no, it's just a regular old drug. Nothing even remotely close to the levels of batshit that Judge Dredd requires. This is a setting that routinely holds car eating contests, and has laws about how many goldfish you can own.

Hell, let's get right down to it; this guy's rogues gallery includes the son of god, the living embodiment of death, a brain in a jar (who runs a criminal empire), his evil clone brother, and Russia. All of it.

If your movie does not include a villain on par with at least one of those, you are not trying. Not even slightly.