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JUDGE DREDD


STARRING: Sylvester Stallone, Armand Assante, Rob Schneider, Jurgen Prochnow, Max von Sydow, Diane Lane, Joanna Miles, Joan Chen

1995, 91 Minutes, Directed by: Danny Cannon


Description: Judge Dredd depicts a futuristic megalopolis packed with crowded vertical overgrowth and rampant commerce, where anarchy reigns supreme. Violent "block wars" are fought by lawless citizens with machine guns, and Judge Dredd (Stallone) is one of the city's heavily armed policemen, given free rein to judge and execute the perpetrators of violence. But Dredd himself is subjected to judgment and swift justice when his own gun is identified in the murder of a prominent TV reporter, forcing him to do whatever he can to clear his name. Amazon.com

This is a second-choice movie from beginning to end. First they got Danny Cannon, with only one movie to his credit namely the Tarrantinoesque Young Americans, to direct it. Tarantino would have been the obvious choice to bring the wild and anarchic British comic book to life. Then they got Stallone to play the lawman of the future while Arnold Schwarzenegger has been everybody's first choice. For one thing, Dredd is a huge figure, towering above all the other characters in the comic books. Stallone, well, ahem. As one wag put it, to get the effect of Stallone towering over everybody else, they got hired some of the world's shortest actors - not to mention the petite Diane Lane to play sidekick Judge Hershey!

The film is based on the British cult comic book in which a ruling elite of fascist law enforcers called Judges rule over an anarchic and overpopulated Mega City One of the future. Regular readers took an instant dislike to the movie because the celluloid Dredd does two things the comic strip Dredd would never have: fall in love and remove his helmet (his face is never seen in the comics). Like screenwriter Wiese says it is hard to sustain interest in a guy whose face remains masked throughout an entire movie - and he's got a point.

These quibbles aside, Judge Dredd remains, forgive the pun, dreadful. Whatever made the original comic book series interesting and vibrant has been removed and all we are left is the motions: some nice Blade Runner-like scenery and an impressive chase scene on hover bikes (albeit it pinched from Return of the Jedi).


 



 

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