Dredd 3D (2012)
Director: Pete Travis
Writers: Carlos Ezquerra (characters), Alex Garland (screenplay), and John Wagner (characters)
Stars: Karl Urban, Olivia Thirlby and Lena Headey
There is something to be said for knowing what a film is about before stepping into the cinema. I made the rookie error of going to see a film without realising its history, even though I knew it had one. Even knowing the original starred Sylvester Stallone didn’t stop me or make me think twice. I just thought it would be like other action films I’d seen. Apparently there is a large difference between M15+ films and MA15+ films.
From the opening moments of the film I realised that I wasn’t going to like this film as much as I’d hoped. I think I’ve been spoilt by seeing clever action films. Christopher Nolan, Tony Gilroy, Steven Spielberg and Ridley Scott have something to answer for with their clever camera work and screenplays. I was not ready for the amount of visual violence. I was not ready for how much violence would be shown in great detail. It was sensory but senseless. I had to force myself to stay in the cinema at one point because I was not going to let my money go to waste. I am usually okay with violence on film, one of my all-time favourite films is Fight Club and I grew up watching action films with my older brother, but this was a whole other level of violence for me. I think it was that it wasn’t just alluded to but you are shown in detail the violence, death, and torture of the characters. The camera reveals the awfulness of violence so extensively throughout the entire film. The use of slow motion and 3D heightens the visuals and shows the audience the violence explicitly.
The storyline is thin, the characters are underdeveloped and it seems that the main point to the film is to have Judge Dredd sentence one person to death but in the meantime get everyone else killed. It doesn’t really make sense to me that this would be a film that appeals to a wide audience nor a cult following, however I am informed that my suspicions are wrong and that this is actually a big deal in the action film world. I don’t rate it highly. It’s indelicate and unsightly. It’s full of one-liners that are delivered with such seriousness that it made me laugh (I’m not sure if I was meant to laugh or not…).
I wouldn’t recommend seeing Dredd 3D. The only thing that is worth seeing it for is its use of 3D. They have used 3D the way that I’ve wanted a film to use it – I may have ducked at one point to avoid being splattered by blood, yes it sounds as disgusting as it was but I appreciate them making the experience immersive to some degree. I just wish it wasn’t this film that made me like slow-motion and 3D again. It was cleverly filmed if nothing else.