Just dragged the little woman along to watch (my) the most anticipated film of 2012; Dredd - based on the long-running 2000 AD strip featuring Mega-City One's toughest future cop. As a fan of the character since his inception back in February 1977 and following the Hollywood Stallone car crash, my expectations were high, though guardedly so.
However, when I first heard of DNA's plan to make a second Judge Dredd film several years ago, albeit with a small budget, I was initially disheartened and didn't hold out much hope. However, as increasing amounts of information made its way onto the web and the film makers' intent became apparent, my hopes began to rise to fever pitch.
Unlike its predecessor, this version's makers 'get' the fundamental character concept and nature of the story, are fans themselves, have not been hobbled by big studio interference and have retained its theme in essence; even Judge Dredd creator, legendary comic writer John Wagner approved of production material and even travelled to the Johannesburg set to provide creative input.
All this boded well, but what of the finished product?
One thing I can say is the producers have wrung every penny out of the budget to good effect, and while this is not the Mega-City One of the comic - due in part to financial constrictions, but also artistic vision - but it is effective and believable. Filthy, rundown and crime-ridden, it provides the perfect backdrop to this version of Judge Dredd.
I won't give the plot details away, but will say that there are a couple of twists that I wasn't expecting (all good) and plenty of stand-out set pieces. Be warned, though, if you are of a nervous disposition or in any way queasy, this is a violent film, but not overly gratuitously so.
Karl Urban is excellent in role and DOESN'T remove his helmet throughout. Mega-City justice is dispensed ruthlessly in gallons and captures the comic strip's tone perfectly. As I have already mentioned, I am a Judge Dredd fan and can heartily recommend this independent British film, which while not perfect, is as close to the original character as anything your'e likely to watch on the big screen. 9/10