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Judge Dredd

Judge Dredd (1995)

June. 30,1995
| Science Fiction

In a dystopian future, Dredd, the most famous judge (a cop with instant field judiciary powers) is convicted for a crime he did not commit while his murderous counterpart escapes.


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I read an interview with the director, who complained that one of the early script treatments seemed to be a standard sci-fi with elements of Judge Dredd crafted on top - and that still seems to be true of the final version. The comic relief actually fits in with the comic style, and this captures well the look and feel of the Judges, Mega City One, and the Cursed earth - with good costumes, props and special effects for the bikes, weapons, robots and so on. But the story is only very weakly set in the Judge Dredd universe, and is the weakest element of the whole. Essentially this fails to capture the spirit of Judge Dredd from the comic, whilst getting the look.

Scott LeBrun

Big budget, major studio adaptation of a beloved cult sci-fi comic book takes place in a Dystopian future, where populations are crowded into massive "Mega Cities" and the main form of law enforcement consists of "Judges" - bike riding officers who are empowered to act as judge, jury, *and* executioner, all in one. The most feared and legendary of them all is Judge Joseph Dredd (Sly Stallone), who ends up framed for the murder of a crusading reporter (top character actor Mitchell Ryan). Dredd is able to escape transport to prison, uniting with a goofy low rent criminal named Fergie (Rob Schneider) and heading for an inevitable confrontation with a megalomaniac named Rico (Armand Assante, hamming it up like there's no tomorrow).It's understandable that purists will take some exception to this adaptation and greatly prefer the 2012 feature film version (starring Karl Urban as Dredd). But the 1995 "Judge Dredd" does attempt to give people their money's worth. There's lots of hard-edged action, a non-stop assortment of razzle-dazzle futuristic images (utilizing what was then cutting-edge CGI), an ominous music score by Alan Silvestri, some entertaining characters, and great costumes. The plot is nothing special, but is not hard to follow, as it centers on a conspiracy where a ruling Council tried to play God, and ended up with a mess on their hands.Sly doesn't have to stretch himself here, getting to play a rough and tough and VERY stoic man of action who thinks that having emotions is key to getting a person killed. Adding the humanity is lovely Diane Lane as a fellow Judge who proves to be completely loyal. Schneiders' comedy relief may be a matter of personal taste; although not generally appreciated, this viewer found him to be at least mildly funny and not unlikeable.The excellent supporting cast includes such luminaries as Max von Sydow, Jurgen Prochnow, Joan Chen (who's under-utilized), and Joanna Miles, with ever-wonderful von Sydow coming off the best. Other familiar faces like Ewen Bremner and Angus MacInnes turn up. Making uncredited contributions are James Earl Jones (who reads the opening narration), James Remar (as a block warlord), and 'The Walking Dead's' Scott Wilson as Pa Angel. (And that's one thing that this viewer did appreciate about this film version: the presence of the desert-dwelling, degenerate Angel family.)Overall, colourful entertainment that may indeed play like a video game, but it's certainly never boring.Six out of 10.


I know alot of people just don't like Sly, and I understand that purist comicbook fans just won't like the screen version of Dredd...but darn !!!Judge Dredd was intended as a visual fantasy, really weird and out there in the ozone movie, and it delivers that feel in spades...sure, the dialog is bizarre, but that simply makes this fun. Sure, the backdrop is bizarre, and that is exactly the way it is supposed to be, It is fun, plain and simple...Darn it people, it is a slapstick couple hours of fun entertainment, that doesn't conform to any preconceived notions of how a popcorn style, shoot 'em up movie should be...so just sit back and enjoy the fun...


Created by comic book writer John Wagner and artist Carlos Ezquerra, and first appeared in the second issue of 1977's 2000 AD, a weekly British science-fiction anthology comic book magazine. Judge Dredd is that magazine's longest-running character. He became so popular, that in 1995, a movie was made about him with top action star, Sylvester Stallone in the main role. Directed by Danny Cannon, and set in the not-so distance future, Earth has become an uninhabitable wasteland. While some humans manage to survive in the barren "Cursed Earth", the majority of humanity resides in huge Mega-Cities where crime has risen to ungodly levels due to over-population and the lack of resources. To combat crime, the traditional justice system has been replaced by a corps of Judges whose role combines those of police officer, judge, jury, and executioner. This is the world that Judge Joseph Dredd (Sylvester Stallone) lives. Things get worst for Judge Dredd, when a former Judge name Rico (Armand Assante), escape from prison, and frame him for the murder of a new reporter. Now imprisoned, Judge Dredd must go against the system of law, in order to prove his innocent, while also stopping Rico from his evil plan of taking over the world. Without spoiling the movie, too much, I have to say, the plot has way too much elements from a bunch of different arcs from the comic book, including The Return of Rico (Dredd's corrupt twin brother Rico returns from a prison colony to get revenge), The Day the Law Died (an insane and tyrannical senior Judge seizes power), The Cursed Earth (Dredd traverses the bombed out territory outside the city), The Judge Child Quest (Dredd encounters the cannibalism family), and Oz (Dredd thwarts a plot to conquer the city with an army of clones). It was a mess. It lead to many plot-holes, like how Judge Largo's DNA (Max Von Sydow) isn't shown to be relation to Dredd in the trial, nor the fact, that the Janus cloning project was hidden from most of the Judges. Also, when you think, deep about it. It doesn't much sense for them to have this technology in the environment in which this movie is set in. How did they do it, with limited resources!? Also, why? Over-population is already a problem. Why, add more people? Yes, I guess, it would be, easier to control the population, if you replace them, with mindless clones, but if they had the power to genetic engineer people, you would think, maybe they would use that resources for better use; like I don't know, solving the barren wasteland, by genetic engineering food and crops. In my opinion, this cloning sub-plot seem unrealistic and ridiculous, for even for the Dredd comic. The whole cloning arc was never my favorite from the comics. Nevertheless, I also didn't like some of their changes from the comics like how Judge Griffin (Jurgen Prochnow), is now a villain. Wasn't he originally part of Dredd's main allies in the comics? Honestly, they should had call him, Judge Cal in the movie. It would make more sense since he's a villain from the comics. Another thing, I didn't like, about the movies, is how Dredd is willing to kill his former buddies, the judges in able to prove his innocent. He rarely did that in the book. Isn't the point of this film is show that Dredd can act more human, rather than a totalitarian figure piece? He seems more-cruel now without the law, then the beginning of the movie. Despite the over-used of catch phrases and one-liners and the slurping of certain words, Sylvester Stallone does make a good Dredd. He does have the built at the time. I just wish, the movie didn't allow the character to removing his helmet, because he never does in the comic books. Another thing, I wish the movie kept, was the Rated R violence. It need to be grounded and gritty. This movie should had never been PG-13 with the over-the-top and clichés action. The source material was mature, gritty and gory for a reason. The world is supposed to be dark and depressing. The Judge Dredd comic strips were originally conceived as UK satires of the Thatcher government and its authoritarian police like state. It was then put in a Reagan-era fantasy about the liquidation of the underclass. It's supposed to incorporating obvious fascism, but it's never truly mention in the film. Instead, the movie makes the Judges seem like the good guys. Also, the movie made Mega City look way too futuristic, for a society that is supposedly on the brick of collapse. As much, as those things were jarring. The worst thing about this movie had to be the Rob Schneider's comedy relief character, Herman Ferguson. Yes, I know that his character was in the original comic, but Rob Schneider's performance as Fergie is annoying. Plus, his character in this, is pretty much, useless. In the comic, he was a muscle bound mutant, not a wimp. There is little to no reason for Dredd to care for him, here. I know, a lot of critics, has also bash, Armand Assante's performance as the villain, because how hammy, he was, but in my opinion, he was alright. The world of Judge Dredd is full of out of their mind, villains. I just wish, the movie choose Judge Cal over Judge Rico. It would make the film, a lot more fun. Overall: The film has a certain comedic and entertainment value that for reasons, outside, my views, people has find fascistic to the point that it has been call a 'guilty pleasure'. However, I don't share that same view. In my opinion, the movie is garbage. If you want to see it, go ahead, but in my view, check it out 2012's Dredd, instead. It's closer to the source material than this trash. This movie is dreadful.