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Dredd (Blu-ray 3D + Blu-ray) [UK] - Blu-ray Review

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Dredd 3D - Blu-ray Review UK

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4 stars

After the fiasco that was 1995’s Judge Dredd, fans of the popular character from British anthology 2000AD would wait almost two decades to see their beloved anti-hero return to the big screen. The order of the day for writer Alex Garland was to tell it straight, strip it down to basics and be more faithful to creator John Wagner’s original conception of the character.

With yet another alleged apocalypse behind us now, dystopian stories are still all the rage for audiences worldwide—some bleak and troublesome future us and our planet face seems to resonate with the world at large at the box office—but it is becoming a very cluttered shelf.

Wagner’s Judge Dredd is an unrelenting justice machine, a machination of a post-apocalyptic world where only judges represent anything close to the law. There is no more society, as we know it, there is just the hall of justice and its judges, whom trawl the wasted cities and find those that do wrong, arrest them, judge them, and sometimes execute them right then and there. 2012’s Dredd certainly makes that the focus in this new cinematic incarnation.

Karl Urban, channelling Clint Eastwood, plays Dredd, who is saddled with assessing a rookie (Olivia Thirlby) for her badge. Trouble is she’s already been rejected, and the powers that be are simply field-testing her for her remarkable psychic abilities. When she takes Dredd into a ‘mega-structure’ controlled by a dangerous drug maker names Ma-ma (Lena Heady), the judges get locked inside a hostile skyscraper, where everyone inside is offered a reward to make them dead.

Everything in this movie, from Urban’s take on the character to the plot itself is streamlined and simplistic—and this is a good thing. This film is devoid of pretensions, completely owning what it wants to be and making no apologies for it. Some followers of 2000AD may lament the absence of any satirical elements, but the makers wisely wanted to keep it straight, like its protagonist.

This is like a western, in many respects, with the sheriff riding into a lawless town and facing adversity at every turn. Urban’s performance is deliciously intense, and, unlike Stallone, he never removes the helmet (in honour of the comic). Thirlby proves to be an engaging sidekick with her own backstory cleverly threaded through the always forward moving story. And Lena Heady continues to impress in villainy (she’s been doing that well for three years on Game of Thrones) as the former hooker, drug kingpin Ma-ma.

The budget is modest, but what they have done with it is truly impressive, including the fantastical slow-mo drug moments, and utter carnage that Dredd leaves in his wake.

Sadly Dredd did not make its budget, theatrically, and it’s a great shame. This is a very well made, written, and performed movie that confidently knows what it wants to be and delivers on all counts. It blows the previous incarnation out of the water.

{2jtab: Film Details}

Dredd 3D - Blu-ray Review UKClassification: 18.
Runtime: 95 mins.
: Pete Travis
: Alex Garland
Karl Urban; Rachel Wood; Jason Cope; Olivia Thurlby
: Sci-fi | Action
Judgment is coming
Memorable Movie Quote: "Only one thing fighting for order in the chaos; the men and women of the Hall of Justice... the Judges."
Official Site:
Release Date: September 21, 2012
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
January 14, 2013

Synopsis: The future America is an irradiated waste land. On its East Coast, running from Boston to Washington DC, lies Mega City One- a vast, violent metropolis where criminals rule the chaotic streets. The only force of order lies with the urban cops called “Judges” who possess the combined powers of judge, jury and instant executioner. Known and feared throughout the city, Dredd (Karl Urban) is the ultimate Judge, challenged with ridding the city of its latest scourge – a dangerous drug epidemic that has users of “Slo-Mo” experiencing reality at a fraction of its normal speed.

During a routine day on the job, Dredd is assigned to train and evaluate Cassandra Anderson (Olivia Thirlby), a rookie with powerful psychic abilities thanks to a genetic mutation. A heinous crime calls them to a neighborhood where fellow Judges rarely dare to venture- a 200 story vertical slum controlled by prostitute turned drug lord Ma-Ma (Lena Headey) and her ruthless clan. When they capture one of the clan’s inner circle, Ma-Ma overtakes the compound’s control center and wages a dirty, vicious war against the Judges that proves she will stop at nothing to protect her empire. With the body count climbing and no way out, Dredd and Anderson must confront the odds and engage in the relentless battle for their survival.

The endlessly inventive mind of writer Alex Garland and director Pete Travis bring DREDD to life as a futuristic neo-noir action film. Filmed in 3D with stunning slow motion photography sequences, the film returns the celebrated character to the dark, visceral incarnation from John Wagner and Carlos Ezquerra's revered comic strip.

{2jtab: Blu-ray Review}

Dredd 3D - Blu-ray Review UK

Component Grades

Blu-ray Disc
4 stars

3 Stars

Blu-ray Experience
3.5 stars


Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - January 14, 2013
Screen Formats: 2.40:1
: English, English SDH, Spanish
Audio: English: DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1, Neo:X; English: Dolby Digital 2.0; Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1
Discs: 50GB Blu-ray Disc; Single disc (1 BD) + Single Disc with 3D version. To watch in 3D you'll need a 3D-capable display, a pair of 3D glasses and a compatible Blu-ray player.
Region Encoding: Region B/2

Fairly impressive MPEG-4 AVC or 3D MCV that dazzles in the ‘slow-mo’ sequences and has a rather unique softness without losing detail for the rest of the film. It isn’t the flashiest of blu rays for the most part, but is a consistent pleaser nonetheless. Audio, on the other hand, is flawless, immersive 7.1 DTS-HD heaven; all your speakers will work up a sweat with this puppy. Rather brief (although somewhat informative) featurettes are all that she wrote here, with no director’s commentary or anything of substance to mention.


Special Features:

  • Mega-City Masters: 35 Years of Judge Dredd (HD; 14:27)
  • Day of Chaos: The Visual Effects of Dredd (HD; 15:21)
  • Dredd Featurette (HD; 1:53)
  • Dredd's Gear (HD; 2:31)
  • The 3rd Dimension (HD; 2:00)
  • Welcome to Peachtrees (HD; 2:33)
  • Dredd Motion Comic Prequel (HD: 2:57)
  • Theatrical Trailer (HD; 2:30)

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