Movie Review: Dredd 3D: body count: 100 plus. That’s good, right?

Two judges, three dimensions, and a hundred plus people killed. I think you'd have to see a hundred Alfred Hitchcock films to rack up that number of corpses. Is more less? Is less more? While I question the validity of 3D just as Roger Ebert, the four young guys behind me thought the 3D was terrific. I don't know. A good film is a good film and it doesn't need any gimmicks.

Based on a comic series started in 1977, the story shows a future United States which has turned into an irradiated wasteland. Mega-City One is a vast, violent metropolis of 800 million people kept in check by a police system where "judges", police on motorcycle patrol, act as judge, jury, and executioner. The movie involves two judges entering a 200 story apartment block to arrest a drug trafficker only to be targeted by the head of a drug gang who wants the arrested man back. The rest is the shoot-out at the concrete jungle OK corral.

So why did I go? Get this. Rotten Tomatoes gave it a rating of 77%. That's fairly good and I'm a sucker for science fiction and futuristic dystopian scenarios à la Heavy Metal. The "bullet time" scenes are terrific but the producers upped the gore factor by using this technique to show a human body hitting concrete after falling 200 stories. On the anniversary of 9/11, I was reminded of the people who jumped from the towers. Death is instantaneous. (In the Oliver Stone film World Trade Center starring Nicolas Cage, the firefighters are trying to get into one of the towers via a lower level. You hear this occasional thump outside. The thumps are bodies hitting concrete. Horrifying.)

This film is okay: well crafted with great special effects. If you measure a good film by the quantity of violence then this film is for you but it does make me ponder the eternal question about society's fascination for bloodshed but its puritan outlook on sex.

A TV network censored a sequence of John Steinbeck's The Red Pony, which showed a mare giving birth, but broadcast the rather hideous sequence from The Godfather showing a beheaded horse.
Youth, Sex and the Media, CyberCollege

It's funny. After you hit the fifty-third bad guy blown away watching the bullet slowly disappear into one side of the head only to slowly explode out the other side with an unhurried shower of blood and tissue, you completely lose sight of the fact a human being is having their life brought to an abrupt halt. It's a video game. We're racking up points. Of course, the start of the film justifies any of brutality the "good guy" rains down on the bad guys because the bad guys do the perfunctory bad deed which explains to us just how really really bad they are and why fight fire with fire means the good guy can be really really bad back at'em. Does anybody realise that by the end of the film the good guy has killed a hundred people? Holy Hannah. I'm paying all my parking tickets straight away.

 

Final Word
This is where I shrug my shoulders. Yeah, it's okay. (A heck of a lot better than the 1995 Sylvester Stallone film "Judge Dredd" which only managed to garner 16% at Rotten Tomatoes.) The "bullet time" scenes are interesting and as I said, overall the film is well crafted. But this is violent. Like really violent. Like dozens of bodies at a time violent. I see that the film was rated at the theatre such that those under 18 must be accompanied by an adult. Frankly I wonder what good an adult is sitting beside a teenager when this tsunami of bloodshed washes over their psyche. Yep, let your kids see a guy wake up to a severed horse's head in bed with him but God forbid they should see a mare giving birth. I think Judge Dredd sums it all up quite nicely when he says, "The sentence is death."

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References

Rotten Tomatoes: Dredd 3D: 77%
Fueled by bombastic violence and impressive special effects, rooted in self-satire and deadpan humor, Dredd 3D is a rare example of a remake that actually works.

Wikipedia: Dredd
Dredd is a 2012 science fiction action film directed by Pete Travis and written by Alex Garland.

Rotten Tomatoes: Judge Dredd (1995): 16%
Judge Dredd wants to be both a legitimate violent action flick and a parody of one, but director Danny Cannon fails to find the necessary balance to make it work.

Wikipedia: Judge Dredd (film)
Judge Dredd is a 1995 American science fiction action film directed by Danny Cannon, and starring Sylvester Stallone, Diane Lane, Rob Schneider, Armand Assante, and Max von Sydow. The film is based on the strip of the same name in the British comic 2000 AD. It was a critical and commercial disappointment.

Wikipedia: Judge Dredd (comic strip character)
Judge Joseph Dredd is a fictional character whose comic strip in the British science fiction anthology 2000 AD is the magazine's longest running, having been featured there since its second issue in 1977. Dredd is an American law enforcement officer in a violent city of the future where uniformed Judges combine the powers of police, judge, jury and executioner. Dredd and his fellow Judges are empowered to arrest, sentence, and even execute criminals on the spot.

Wikipedia: Heavy Metal (magazine)
Heavy Metal is an American science fiction and fantasy comics magazine, known primarily for its blend of dark fantasy/science fiction and erotica. In the mid-1970s, while publisher Leonard Mogel was in Paris to jump-start the French edition of National Lampoon, he discovered the French science-fantasy magazine Métal Hurlant which had debuted December 1974.

Wikipedia: Bullet time
Bullet time (also known as frozen time, the big freeze, dead time, flow motion, or time slice) is a special and visual effect that refers to a digitally enhanced simulation of variable-speed (i.e. slow motion, time-lapse, etc.) photography used in films, broadcast advertisements, and video games. It is characterized both by its extreme transformation of time (slow enough to show normally imperceptible and unfilmable events, such as flying bullets) and space (by way of the ability of the camera angle—the audience's point-of-view—to move around the scene at a normal speed while events are slowed). … The term "bullet time" is a registered trademark of Warner Bros., who first used it in March 2005, in connection with the video game The Matrix Online. The term had previously been used in the promotion of the 1999 film The Matrix, and in reference to the slow motion effects in the 2001 video game Max Payne.

my blog: Carnography: Vegetarians need not apply
On May 29, 1972, John Skow wrote a review of the novel First Blood by David Morrell upon which Sylvester Stallone based his film Rambo. In this review, Mr. Skow speaks disparagingly of the "meat movie, the kind in which we pay to see meat fly off someone's head as he is shotgunned" then goes on to describe this book as a "meat novel". The reviewer explains that like pornography and its deliberate creation of a sexual flush to the exclusion of other emotional or intellectual reactions, the term "carnography" describes the deliberate creation of an adrenaline rush in the face of carnage.

my blog: Censorship: Kill me but no sex please
George Carlin: I think the word F**k is a very important word. It is the beginning of life, yet it is a word we use to hurt one another quite often. People much wiser than I am said, "I'd rather have my son watch a film with 2 people making love than 2 people trying to kill one another. I, of course, can agree. It is a great sentence. I wish I knew who said it first. I agree with that but I like to take it a step further. I'd like to substitute the word F**k for the word Kill in all of those movie clichés we grew up with. [Carlin speaks in a low menacing voice like the bad guy talking to the good guy] "Okay, Sheriff, we're gonna F**k you now, but we're gonna F**k you slow."

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