The time-killing carnage in
Another way of assessing "Dredd 3D" is inevitably political. If you have few or no issues with the gun laws in this country, or the attendant murder statistics, then you're in pretty good shape for target-audience consideration. (Rarely has the phrase "target audience" been more appropriate.) On the other hand, if you've spent countless thousands of hours watching and often thrilling to death on screen, but find yourself resistant to the unceasing cruelty and numbing body count in a film such as "Dredd 3D," then … well, then you probably already sensed "Dredd 3D" isn't for you. It's for your endlessly gaming teenager. Or younger, if you're really going to allow a preteen to see it.
"Dredd 3D" comes from a 1970s graphic novel "2000 AD," and its depiction of a lawless urban jungle where the cops are unfeeling, metal-clad Dirty Harry clones (the
Most of the picture takes place inside a 200-story housing structure that looks like a bad-seed version of a Hyatt. It's one vermin-infested sliver of the walled Mega City, containing 800 million citizens. The building known as Peach Tree is run by a gangland ruler played by
Headey and Thirlby lend the film some semblance of performance presence. Urban himself is just a voice knocking around inside all that metal. My favorite thing from the '95 Stallone version, the Versace-designed Dredd costume complete with codpiece and faaaabulous bling, has been replaced by a slab of granite. My favorite bit in the remake is the line of dialogue referring to Headey's antagonist. "Her trademark ... is violence," someone says, as if he almost said something else, such as "Her trademark ... is her taste in sunglasses. And her cheery little laugh."
'Dredd 3D' -- 1 1/2 stars
MPAA rating: R (for strong bloody violence, language, drug use and some sexual content)
Running time: 1:38