Movie Review: Dredd(3D) is just Dreddful

Nikhil Taneja

Sep 24, 2012 11:13:06 IST

The year is 2011. In a tower block in Jakarta’s slums, drug lord Tama Riyada is carefully sheltered among the top floors of the seemingly-endless building, filled with his armed, drug-addicted henchmen, ready to lay down their lives at his word. One fine morning, a 20-man SWAT team led by Sergeant Jaka and Lieutenant Wahyu enters the premises of the building, with the aim of taking Riyada down. They are accompanied by rookie officer Rama, who is oblivious to what is in store for him.

The team infiltrates the building, but Tama finds out soon enough, and tells his henchmen to kill them all or die trying. Trapped in the building with no escape route in sight, for the next one hour or so, Jaka, Rama and the SWAT team take on Tama Riyada and his men in one of the bloodiest, most action-filled and mind-numbingly awesome battle the movies have seen.

 Movie Review: Dredd(3D) is just Dreddful

Karl Urban as Judge Dredd in Dredd 3D. Screen grab from trailer.

That movie is Raid: Redemption and if you are an action fan and haven’t seen it, it’s almost as ridiculous as being a Bollywood fan and not having seen Gunda.

Why am I reviewing Raid: Redemption when I am supposed to be reviewing Dredd(3D)? Because here’s the synopsis of Dredd (3D):

The year is 2011 2080 (or something). In a tower block in Jakarta’s futuristic metropolis Mega-City One’s slums, drug lord Tama Riyada Madeline Madrigal (aka Ma-Ma) is carefully sheltered amongst the top floors of the seemingly-endless building, filled with his her armed, drug-addicted henchmen, ready to lay their lives at his her word. One fine morning, a 20- 2-man SWAT Judge team led by Sergeant Jaka and Lieutenant Wahyu Judge Dredd enters the premises of the building, with the aim of taking Riyada someone down (because they are trying to investigate who exactly that is). They are Dredd is accompanied by rookie officer Rama Anderson, who is oblivious about what is in store for him her.

The team infiltrates the building, but Tama Ma-Ma finds out soon enough, and announces to his  her henchmen on the speaker system to kill them all  both or die trying. Trapped in the building with no escape route in sight, for the next one hour or so, Jaka, Rama and the SWAT team Dredd and Anderson take on Tama Riyada Ma-Ma and his her men in one of the bloodiest a sort of bloody, most kind-of action-filled and mind-numbingly far from awesome battle.

The only difference between Raid: Redemption and Dredd (3D) is that Dredd is about 45-times more expensive (I mean, *exactly* 45-times more expensive), and about a 100-times less interesting. For a movie billed as an R-Rated action film, there’s exactly one sequence involving a bunch of mega machine guns let loose that may just make you just wake you up (because of all that noise). Even Lena Headey’s hotness cannot make you sit through the rest of the movie without thinking to yourself: “Sigh, I should have waited for the Firstpost review.”

But while we are on Lena Headey - and it’s always a good time to speak about her – after playing the soon-to-be-legendary role of Cersei Lannister on HBO’s Game Of Thrones, she is the best thing about the movie, nailing the pure evil Ma-Ma with uninhibited delight. Olivia Thirlby deserves a lot better in life than The Darkest Hour and Dredd, after starring in one of the best indie films of this generation, The Wackness. And Karl Urban… well, let’s just say that if he had been chosen for the part of Dredd for his acting skills, they wouldn’t have kept his face behind a mask through the entire length of the film.

There were strong rumours that Alex Garland (28 Days Later, Sunshine) locked director Peter Travis (Vantage Point) out of the editing room in post-production because he didn’t like what Travis did to his movie. The cinematography, special effects and the slow-mos  are fun to watch, but even at 90 minutes, the movie’s zero plot movement makes you wonder, just what would have happened had Travis not, in fact, been locked out of editing! The irony here is that Dredd is not copied from Raid: Redemption – the script was being developed by writer Garland a few years before Raid: Redemption was released - it's just that Garland should have locked Travis out of the shooting floor too!

Admittedly, this movie might be a tad bit enjoyable if you haven’t seen Raid: Redemption. Watch it if you are a die-hard action fan and have lots of money. Or just give that ticket money to those needy Nigerian princes, and put on the DVD of the best action film inside a building, ever: (read this in Chandler, Joey and Ross’ voices) DIEEEEEE HAAAAAAARDDDDD!!

Updated Date: Nov 26, 2012 17:34:00 IST