There are no characters here, just types and archetypes. As Dredd, Urban seems to imitate Clint Eastwood’s steely whisper more than Stallone’s warbled machismo. His stiff movements, programmed persona, and faceless visage (we never see behind that visor) come off as nothing more than a low-rent robocop. Headey’s Ma-Ma isn’t remotely imposing, physically or psychologically. She snarls through a cut-scarred face but lacks any subtext of intelligence or intimidation.

The only performance that resembles something of a character comes from Thirlby. As the psychic trainee, she gives as much mental complexity and emotional spontaneity as the limited material allows. Still, those efforts are undercut by the erratic use of her powers. If a moment needs her to be a step ahead, the powers are in full. If another moment needs her to be taken captive for cheap dramatic tension, she sees nothing coming. The script has no intention of making her telepathy consistent, just convenient.

Dredd is a dark and dated artifice of masculinity. It may flaunt an impenetrable surface but it’s not protecting anything of substance or value underneath. Goth-gamers may geek out over the gory carnage, but anyone else will find it all patently ridiculous.

CAUTIONS:

  • Drugs/Alcohol Content: A hallucinogenic dubbed SLO-MO serves an ongoing plot catalyst, and is consumed several times through a bong-like vile, to trippy effects.
  • Language/Profanity: Profanity is consistent throughout, the F-word being most common.  Many others are used regularly as well, included the S-word, A-word, B-word, and the Lord’s name taken in vain several times.
  • Sexual Content/Nudity: A woman is briefly seen naked, bending in a suggestive sexual position.  A woman kneels in front of a man and oral sex is implied.  A man threatens a woman with sexual assault.
  • Violence/Other: A lot of gory violence throughout, both gun and fight related.  A pedistrian is violently hit and killed by a vehicle.  A head melts from the inside.  People are beaten, bloodied, broken and occasionally crushed throughout.  Many more are shot up, riddled with bullets, and at times slow-motion is used to dwell on and enhance the gun violence as bullets pass through various parts of the body, including faces.  Gun violence is common throughout.  Some instances of knife/blade violence.  Three bodies are beaten to bloody pulps then dropped from a skyscraper into a market area.  Several glimpses and close-ups of those gory bodies are seen.  An arm is blown off.  Heads are shot up.  Two different gun wounds are self-repaired (bloody, open wound seen and stitched).  Slo-mo close-up of a head smashing into pavement.  A body is smashed by a fast-closing giant metal door.

Publication date: September 23, 2012