Film Review: Dredd 3D

Warning: spoilers!

America has become a crumbling wasteland, and spanning the distance from Boston to Washington lies Mega City One, where violent criminals cause chaos, and Judges—who act as judge, jury, and executioner—fight to keep order and peace. Judge Dredd is one of the best, and is assigned a rookie named Anderson who is deemed a mutant for her psychic abilities. They are forced to work together and stay alive when district “Peach Tree” goes under lockdown by request from Mama, a feared crime lord and the one responsible for the reality-altering drug called “Slo-Mo.”

The movie has a few things going for it:

There are two wonderful strong female characters

Lena Headey (also as Cersei Lannister from Game of Thrones) makes a wonderful villain as Mama. You’ll just love to hate her. She is both ruthless and powerful, and everyone fears her.

Olivia Thirlby (Juno) plays rookie Anderson, a psychic mutant. Though she starts off timid and hesitant, she grows throughout the story—as most good characters do—becoming determined and fiercer throughout her trials, and proving that she has what it takes to be a Judge.

The slow-motion effects were a cool added feature

I know what you’re thinking: Really? Slow-motion effects? Seen that like a billion times… but listen up! Usually, I’m not a fan of watching movies in 3D since it seems gimmicky, but it worked for this movie. The effects were used to emphasize the use of Slo-Mo, and what I liked about it was the artistic presentation of it: water slowly parted into drops, and glass shattered into pieces, then shards that sparkled as they floated to you, giving off an array of colours that brought beauty to the scene regardless of the violence it was paired with.

Now, even though I mentioned a few good points about the movie, it was ultimately a letdown:

The slow-motion effects were overdone

As I said, the effects were beautiful, but over time it became too much, making scenes feel so over-the-top that it felt boring to watch and I just wanted it to end. It only seemed to be a ploy by the filmmakers to make the film run longer.

There’s unnerving violence against women

As I said, Anderson and Mama are both strong, and some of the male characters try to gain dominance over them through very violent means.

Mama used to be a prostitute. When she was no longer deemed useful to her pimp, he slashed her face to destroy her beauty. There was a mug shot of her before the scars and it showed off her long hair too, which can be read as symbolizing her femininity. One can argue her pimp was trying to destroy it.

As for Anderson, Dredd’s captive tries to scare her by mentioning how the gang used to have a girl her age, then raped and destroyed her. When Anderson goes “inside” his mind to get answers about the homicide, the captive figures out he can project his fantasies on her, and the scene suggests he imposes sexual acts on her.

This movie didn’t have a compelling storyline

It didn’t even seem to have any storyline at all. This fact alone made the movie lose a lot of points for me. You didn’t learn much about the characters, and Dredd’s development stayed flat-lined throughout the whole movie. I just didn’t feel too invested in it.

My recommendation: don’t have high expectations going into theatres. Better yet, keep your money and wait for it to come out on DVD if you still have the desire to watch it.

I'm a quiet girl with a lot to say. I'm a self-proclaimed geek girl, book worm, and social media addict. I'm the digital marketing manager for PaperDroids, so you've probably spoken to me on Twitter or Facebook, or if not, come say hi! I also have a book blog called Feisty Little Woman (feistylittlewoman.wordpress.com), where I write about strong female characters and their importance in novels and share my expertise about the publishing world.

  • Gaz

    I think you are doing a bit of a disservice to the film in regard to the violence towards the female characters.

    *SPOILER*
    Yes, it does happen, but both the women more than get their revenge on the men in question in short order in very approriate ways. It’s not like they are portrayed as straight out victims. Even more so, I thought it was clear that while inside the guy’s head Anderson was in fact in full control. These are two of the better realised women characters in any action movie.

    • @Gaz: There’s no doubt in my mind that the 2 female characters I’ve mentioned are pretty bad ass and they do stand on top when things have gotten sour.
      But I think readers should also consider that reviews are only one person’s opinion. Dredd 3D wasn’t my cup of tea, and you definitely have the right to your opinion as do I.
      Also, articles do have a word count limit and edited to meet standards to the website. With that said, there could have been a bigger analysis of the film.

  • @Elissa: Lawww. Also, the scowl is always present.

    @Bim: I love the actress. She makes a lovely villain.

    @Corey: Thanks Corey. Even though there’s some positives. Watch the movie at your risk. LOL.

  • Corey Elmore

    Very well written! I’d watch the movie just simply based on this review! 🙂

  • BimBim

    Cersei is just hateable no matter what she’s in. Gotta love it. :]

  • Elissa Smith

    All I can think of when I hear about this movie is the Nostalgia Critic review of the original:

    “The Lawwwwwwwww”