I can’t remember a time that the ‘Tomatometer’ gave a movie a rating under 40%, and I ended up liking it. However, there have been plenty of instances where a movie was rated above 70% and I’ve ended up terribly disappointed. “Dredd”(78%) was one of those occasions. This movie seemed like one big, extended trailer for an action movie. I kept waiting for it to start, and it never really did. At this film’s core, is nothing more than some cheap one-liners, combined with enough glamorized blood and violence to satiate some 14 year-old gamers who decided to take one night off from playing Gears of War. I’m not really sure what critics liked so much about Dredd. It’s unoriginal, it’s predictable, and it doesn’t even have any decent comic relief – a staple of any preposterous, massive suspension of disbelief, action film. The only two things it had going for it were a decent villian in “Ma-Ma”(Lena Headey), and its merciful running time of 95-minutes(thank you, editor Mark Eckersley).
The film seemed to be a showcase for some new super, super slow-motion special effects. They were sorta cool the first time we got to see them. But, they actually ended up being TOO slow. If they had slowed the action down any more, it would have been a paused screen. And after the 19th time of being subjected to this treatment, the only “special effect” that I experienced, was having the new-found ability to enter the mind of a narcoleptic. In addition, I was reminded of the effects featured in this other obscure movie called : “The Matrix”. So, if they were trying to compete on a slo-mo special effects level, they came up a bit short in comparison.
Unfortunately for “Dredd”, I watched this film about a half-hour after I finished watching “The Master”. Methinks the tremendous dichotomy between the two films may have amplified my distaste for “Dredd”. It was like having Wolfgang Puck custom cook you a meal, and then going out to an Arby’s directly afterwards. Maybe the Arby’s wouldn’t have seemed so cheap and empty, if it were eaten separately. Actually, this is a terrible analogy because Arby’s would make me want to puke regardless of any surrounding conditions(including starvation). At the same time, much like fast food, this film was strategically crafted to please the masses. I feel like the whole point was to appeal to the largest R-Rated audience possible. The basic plan is to just dumb everything down, and keep it gory and predictable.
The soundtrack catered perfectly to this movie’s target demographic of 14-32 year old men, by featuring the type of stuff you’d find on a Dance-Dance Revolution playlist. At this point, it’s getting harder and harder to tell movies apart from video games. And no play it safe financial venture would be truly complete without a traditional Hollywood ending – an ending you knew was coming from the first ten minutes of the movie. Right when we get introduced to Ma-Ma, we are treated to a slo-mo scene of her doing drugs in her penthouse on the 200th floor of a building. Gee, I wonder how she might die in the end???
Overall, I don’t know what I was really expecting. I mean, even the setting for the film didn’t make any sense. So, we are supposed to believe the world is now basically under constant martial law, yet there are still tons of working taxi drivers, concession stands open at the mall, and happy families pushing strollers around? Huh?! I’m pretty sure you have to pick either one scenario or the other there, fellas. Based on the preview I saw beforehand, it completely matched my expectations. I guess I need to stop listening to Rotten Tomatoes, and follow my gut instead. Gauging by the audience squealing with delight at every lame post-death punchline, I should have known I was in the wrong classroom. I’d advise anyone thinking of seeing this to watch the trailer first. If it looks bad to you, save your money and don’t see it. If it looks good to you, save your money and just watch the trailer 28 more times, since it will have the same net effect.
Judgement : 3.6/10