Dredd is a 2012 film based on Judge Dredd, with Karl Urban as the eponymous character. The cast also includes Olivia Thirlby as Judge Anderson and Lena Headey as the main villain Ma-Ma. The film was directed by Pete Travis and written by Alex Garland.In the far future, America has become an irradiated wasteland. In the ruins lies Mega City One — a vast and violent metropolis running from Boston to Washington DC, where criminals rule the chaotic streets. The only force of order remaining are "The Judges", urban cops who possess the combined powers of Judge, Jury, and Executioner. Dredd is the ultimate Judge, challenged with ridding the city of its latest scourge — a dangerous drug epidemic that has users of "Slo-Mo" experiencing reality at a fraction of its normal speed.After a car chase involving 3 criminal Slo-mo users, Dredd is assigned to train and evaluate Cassandra Anderson, a rookie with powerful psychic abilities thanks to a genetic mutation. A heinous crime calls them to Peach Trees — a 200-story vertical slum controlled by prostitute turned drug lord Madeleine "Ma-Ma" Madrigal and her ruthless clan. When Dredd and Anderson capture one of the clan's inner circle, Ma-Ma takes control of the compound and wages a dirty, vicious war against the Judges to protect her empire. With the body count climbing and no way out, Dredd and Anderson must engage in a relentless battle for their survival. Just another routine day on the job for Dredd.The trailer can be seen here. Not to be confused with the 1995 film adaptation starring Sylvester Stallone.
This film provides examples of:
3-D Movie: Interestingly, the really 3D effects shown are from the viewpoint of people under the effects of Slo-Mo for extra weirdness.
Abnormal Ammo: The Lawgiver hand gun carried by the Judges fires several different types of ammo. Seen in the film are standard note Regular bullets, hotshot note a flare that can burn an enemy from the inside out, incendiary note Bursts open mid-air to rain down burning white phosphorus, armour-piercing note Can punch right through armor and even concrete walls, stun note A round with a Taser like effect, and high-ex note Short for High Explosive. Rapid-fire and silencer are also available for standard rounds.
Action Girl: Judge Anderson who is taken on a pass/fail run with Dredd. She demonstrates that she is capable in combat and willing to do her job. She even stands firm against Dredd when she frees Clan Techie.
Adaptation Distillation: Though the film isn't based on any specific storyline, many elements from the comic's 35-year run are featured in the film.
After the End: The movie takes place after nuclear war has rendered most of the Earth uninhabitable, except for a few giant "mega-cities."
Dredd is willing to do anything to uphold the law as written. While he cares about Mega City and the people he protects, he tortures and kills perps even when they've already surrendered. Regardless, he is also shown using the proper amount of force when needed and doesn't shoot to kill until the other options are expired. For example not firing on the van in the opening scene until they run over an innocent, and using stun rounds on a pair of scared, stupid kids. He also shows willingness to break the rules when it counts. Instead of flunking Anderson for losing her primary weapon, he gives her the pass she deserves.
Anderson is a conflicted version. Although depicted as a kinder, gentler judge compared to Dredd, she nonetheless kills several perps through out the film.
Anti-Villain: Clan Techie, who only works for Ma-Ma under the constant threat of violence. Ma-Ma personally gouged his eyes out with her bare hands to install his cybernetic eyes. He's apparently not a bad guy, and clearly feels uncomfortable with Ma-Ma's treatment of Anderson.
A Real Man Is a Killer: Rare female example with Anderson. She wants to be a Judge, but clearly lacks the level of ruthlessness and emotional detachment necessary for the job. During the raid on the apartment, Dredd methodically eliminates every hostile while Anderson can't even fire a shot. She's more willing later on, but the true turning point is when Dredd orders her to execute a perp. After this, she's more sure of herself and Dredd's respect for her grows accordingly. By the end of the film, she's gunning down mooks almost as effectively as Dredd.
Armor Is Useless: An easy conclusion to reach, but close attention should be paid before getting there. During the initial drug bust, Dredd's armor can actually be seen deflecting a round. After this point, everyone knows they're going up against Judges and probably loaded ammo suitable for the task. The one round that does real damage to Dredd is specifically stated to be armor piercing. Even then, only the back of his armor took damage. The wall behind him was torn to shreds while the armor was barely scratched in the front. Plus, anything that can go through a concrete wall without slowing probably isn't going to be stopped by much of anything.
Badass Biker: Dredd and every other Judge when on their Lawmasters.
Badass Boast: Dredd delivers this after Anderson has been captured:
Dredd: Inhabitants of Peach Trees. This is Judge Dredd. In case you people have forgotten, this block operates under the same rules as the rest of the city. Ma-Ma's not the law. I am the law. Ma-Ma is a common criminal. Guilty of murder. Guilty of manufacturing and distribution of the narcotics known as Slo-Mo. And as of now, under sentence of death. Any who obstruct me in carrying out my duty will be treated as an accessory to her crimes. You have been warned. And as for you, Ma-Ma: Judgment time.
Big Bad: Ma-Ma who is the head of a ruthless drug syndicate and reputation for violence and brutality and responsible for a wave crime and problems related to a drug her gang produces called slow-mo.
Big Damn Heroes: Anderson escapes her captors and stops an attempt to execute Dredd by a corrupt Judge Lex.
Bilingual Bonus: The head of the backup Judges is named Judge Lex. Lex being Latin for law.
Black Boss Lady: The Chief Judge. She is responsible for many Judges who operate in the harsh conditions of Mega City One including Dredd. She makes it very clear she is in charge and readily gives Dredd an order to give Anderson a very rare Pass/Fail in the field examine.
Black Comedy: Used ostentatiously in the beginning to establish the film's Crapsack World and more subtly done the rest of the time.
Bloodier and Gorier: Compared to the 1995 Stallone film adaptation, this movie does not shy away from being graphic in its violence, particularly during scenes using Bullet Time where bullets ripping through bodies and craniums bursting apart under impact are rendered in lavish detail.
"Choke on that."After crushing the throat of one of the corrupt Judges he was struggling against with a powerful blow to the trachea.
After hypothesizing that Ma-Ma's deadman switch won't be in range at the bottom of the tower, he simply says, "Yeah," when the place doesn't blow up.
Before Dredd takes out Alvarez with a Hi-Ex round, he and Lex discuss the fee to take out Dredd. Lex tells Dredd that it's a million credits split four ways, to which Dredd responds three ways. When Dredd kills Alvarez, he says "Two way split."
Judge Anderson and Dredd deliver plenty to various unfortunate Mooks:
Of particular note is the cruel way Dredd takes out the perp he's chasing at the start. The hotshot round he uses fries the inside of his head.
One of the two Slo-Mo clients that were with Kay during the bust gets one through the face. Appropriately, the entire scene is in slow motion.
One of the corrupt Judges that tries to take down Dredd meets the business end of a High-Ex round. The boom extends to more than just his head.
A key moment in Anderson's character development is when she does this after she's ordered by Dredd to execute a wounded mook.
The medic who initially refused to help Dredd and Anderson is shot in the head by the corrupt judges after he says he would be willing to testify about what was really going on.
Boring Insult: An indirect version. When Dredd delivers his verdict over the PA system, he makes a point that Ma-Ma is a "common criminal," specifically to deflate the image of untouchable power she's created for herself.
Bottomless Magazines: Averted - the film makes a point of highlighting what a major concern this would be even for Dredd in a lockdown situation. Luckily for him, four corrupt Judges make an appearance at Ma-Ma's request, giving him plenty more.
But for Me, It Was Tuesday: For Anderson, this was a hellish baptism of fire into the life of a street judge that rocked her to her very core and changed the way she saw herself and the world around her. For Dredd, it was just a drug bust.
Dredd adheres very strictly to the letter of the law in general. His first mission is to protect whatever peace there is, not kill criminals, and he always follows protocol. It's not his fault most of the perps he faces are Too Dumb to Live after he gives them ample warning.
Near the climax, Anderson reveals to Dredd that she knows she's failed her assessment due to losing her sidearm, an automatic disqualification, yet points out that until her assessment is officially over she has to fight alongside him.
Call Back: When they prepare for their first bust, Anderson claims she's ready, which Dredd disagrees with. When they're about to breach Ma-Ma's penthouse:
Dredd: You ready? Anderson: Yeah. Dredd: (approving) You look ready.
Can't Kill You, Still Need You: Ma-Ma doesn't kill one of her lieutenants for getting her drug operation exposed, but only out of practical concerns, because Dredd has already killed too many of her soldiers by that point and she's short on manpower.
Also subverted earlier when two judges arrive at the building, but they decide to wait outside for a while when the Clan Techie convinces them that there's a technical malfunction with the blast doors. They get sent off on their way when the other four arrive.
A bunch of kids are seen playing on a skateboard ramp installed on a balcony of the Peach Tree Block, which is sealed off by the lockdown. When trapped on the same floor by Gatling gun fire, Dredd blows a hole in the wall to escape to it.
The Lawgiver guns are keyed to a specific ID as seen in the opening sequence when Dredd puts his gear on. Later in the film, when Kay tries to execute Anderson with her own weapon, the ID check fails causing the gun to explode. Kay finds himself minus a hand and part of his lower arm.
The City Narrows: Peach Trees is one for Mega City One. A hot bed of crime and poverty it also serves as the center of Slo-Mo distribution and manufacture in the city. Ma-Ma was able to ruthlessly take over the block due to the low presence of Judges across Mega City One. Peach Trees had not seen a judge for a long time until Anderson and Dredd showed up to investigate a trio of grisly murders.
Closed Circle: The very premise is trapping Dredd and a newbie in a high-rise building and forcing them to fight it out.
Closer to Earth: Initially played straight with Anderson, who's portrayed as caring considerably more about people than Dredd and then subverted over the course of the film, although she's still able to convince Dredd that letting Clan Techie go is the right thing to do.
Cool Bike: The Law Master motorcycles of the Judges. Not only is their design and coloration with the Judge symbol on it unique, they include other special features such as machineguns and voice activated features like "crowd control" with the bike warning bystanders away under penalty of law via a built in loudspeaker.
Crapsack World: Mega-City One is, for lack of a better term, a shithole, located on the edge of the radioactive wasteland that covers most of North America. According to Dredd there are tens of thousands of crimes in Mega-City One every single day, and the Judges only have the manpower to respond to around 6% of all that. Violent crimes are so common that rookie Judges have a 20% mortality rate, comparable to military forces directly involved in extended combat. That's not over the course of their first year, that's over the course of their first day.
Cruel and Unusual Death: The three drug pushers in the beginning are skinned, dosed with Slo-Mo, then tossed off the top-floor balcony so they can experience every moment of their unavoidable deaths in agonizing detail.
Danger Deadpan: Exemplified in Dredd and Ma-Ma but evident across most of the characters; not surprising given that the majority of them are either professional highly-armed police officers or hardened highly-armed drug dealers.
Anderson: He's thinking of making a move for your gun. Dredd: Yup. (beat) Anderson: He just changed his mind. Dredd: Yeeeee-up.
Death by Looking Up: An unfortunate beggar, sat beneath Peach Trees' blast doors, is crushed to death when Ma-Ma puts the block under lockdown.
Designated Girl Fight: The only female corrupt Judge hired by Ma-Ma goes after Anderson, while the three males contracted by Ma-Ma go for Dredd. It's then subverted when Anderson unceremoniously kills her and moves on to kill the one that has cornered Dredd.
Destination Defenestration: Dredd drops the Big Bad out a window after issuing a death sentence. Justified, in that she has a transmitter that will destroy the top fifty floors of the block and Dredd needed to make sure she was out of range when she died.
Development Gag: The Peach Trees building is named after the restaurant where writer Alex Garland and Dredd's creator John Wagner first met to discuss this film.
Die Hard on an X: Die Hard in a skyscraper, no less. Ma-Ma traps Dredd and Rookie Anderson not realizing just who it is she has trapped in her building until it is too late.
Dirt Forcefield: A justified one appears when Kay starts his Battle in the Centre of the Mind. To begin with, he's as bloodied and beaten as he is in real life, yet when he realises he can imagine whatever he wants, he's instantly spotless.
Dirty Cop: Four corrupt Judges pretending to be Dredd's backup are called in by Ma-Ma when Dredd proves too formidable an opponent to take down on her own.
Disney Villain Death: The three rival drug dealers at the beginning, with the added torment of being skinned first and dosed with Slo-Mo so the fall lasts a long, long time in their minds. Then Caleb about halfway through, and Ma-Ma at the end, both chucked by Dredd. The second instance is unique; we not only see the hard and bloody impact, we get see it from the perspective of the ground the victim lands on.
The Dragon: Caleb is Ma-Ma's right hand man. Though he gets killed rather simply by Dredd about halfway through.
Dramatic Unmask: Averted, although still worth noting because of how common they are in comic book movies, how judges wear helmets that conceal their face, and how the previous movie did it. Dredd never takes his mask off at all. The original intention was for this trope to be played straight, but Karl Urban, in keeping with the character, refused to take his helmet off.
The Dreaded: Appropriately, Dredd fits this trope, at least within the Justice Department. The knowledge that Dredd is in Peach Trees is enough reason for Judge Lex to demand a million-credit bounty. That said, he's not as known and feared by the general populace as he is in the comics.
Drugs Are Bad: In a broad sense in the film with the use of narcotics being illegal.
Electronic Eyes: The Clan Techie sports them for working with computers; it's the result of Ma-Ma gouging his eyes out with her thumbs before the surgery.
Elite Mooks: Basically the role of the four dirty Judges hired by Ma-Ma late in the film.
Equal-Opportunity Evil: Ma-Ma's gang consists of white people, black people, and Asians. However, there is an odd lack of other women.
Eye Scream: The Clan Techie has cybernetic eyes he uses when he's working with computers. The area around them looks pretty badly irritated, and to make matters worse it's later shown that Ma-Ma gouged his eyes out with her thumbs before the surgery.
The Faceless: As in the comics, Dredd's face is never seen with his helmet off. The back of his head is seen with the helmet off once as he is in the process of getting dressed for work. Even then he is heavily silhouetted leaving the view obscured.
Fair Cop: Anderson. A young rookie judge. Kay comments on her as being pretty as part of his attempt to intimidate her.
Fate Worse than Death: Dredd and Kay both say this will happen to Anderson if she's taken alive. Subverted when she is captured, but Ma-Ma forbids any torture or rape in order to successfully cover her death up as a drug bust gone bad.
From Nobody to Nightmare: Ma-Ma was a petty prostitute getting abused by her Pimp, before she became the most violent and ruthless crime lord in Peach Trees.
Gang of Hats: The three gangs that dominated Peach Trees before the Ma-Ma Clan took over all had their own distinctive looks, including "The Judged" who tattooed their heads to look like judge helmets and wore improvised judge outfits.
Gatling Good: More like Gatling Bad. Ma-Ma and her mooks attempt to take out Dredd and Anderson using mounted rotary cannons, which carve up the entire floor they're on. Dredd manages to escape by blowing a hole into a exterior wall nearby.
Ma-Ma's plan to bring in outside help in the form of corrupt Judges to kill Dredd and Anderson ultimately only serves to provide them with more ammo.
The entire plot of the movie is kicked off by Kay trying to score points with Ma-Ma by suggesting that she might want to make an example of the three rival drug dealers. He could have just killed them himself and disposed of the bodies without drawing the attention of the Judges.
Hollywood Hacking: Averted for the most part by Clan Techie. Gaining control of the building involves a team of gunmen storming the operations room and monkeying with the hardware, and then Techie has to make a number of high-pressure social engineering phone calls to convince other controllers in Mega City One that the lockdown of the building is warranted. A Freeze-Frame Bonus also shows him using NMap, a genuine network scanner frequently used in computer security circles. Inquisitive techies will notice that Clan Techie is probably using Linux or one of the BSD variants to hack/control the Peach Trees system. Whenever he's hacking something, you can see he's actually using bash instead of going through the usual graphical eye-candy associated with the trope.
Hostage Situation: Consistently defied with Dredd. Once you've been sentenced, you have a choice between surrender for standard punishment or resist for summary execution. Or, if you're already sentenced to death, you can choose how quick it will be.
Human Shield: The one thug left standing after the opening car chase takes a hostage and tries to negotiate with Dredd. It doesn't work.
Implacable Man: Mobilize all your heavily-armed thugs, level the apartment with your giant mounted miniguns, call in your cavalry. It won't make a difference. Dredd will walk through that Hell and bring you to justice without even moving above a run.
Impossibly Cool Weapon: Lawgivers, the standard sidearm of a Judge. Looks like a Hand Cannon, sounds like the breath of God, and fires an assortment of ammunition for a variety of devastating effects.
I Never Said It Was Poison: Dredd becomes suspicious of the corrupt Judges when he runs into one who claims to be Dredd and Anderson's backup, yet doesn't ask about Anderson's status.
Dredd, when cornered by two juves, gives them the option of a body bag or the juve cubes. When they attack him, he uses stun rounds on them.
In the aftermath of the rotary cannons, a lone child is seen crawling from the rubble caused from the destruction of several layers of concrete, since he was lucky enough to be just short enough that most of the fire was above his head.
One of the crappiest places in Mega City One is named Peach Trees.
The corrupt Judge Lex's name means "law".
It Gets Easier: Anderson has a hard time putting down a wounded perp, but does so on Dredd's orders. She's a lot quicker on the trigger after that, to the point where later in the movie she coldly shoots a disabled mook in the back as she walks over his body.
Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: Subverted. Dredd attempts to beat the information he needs out of Kay partly because he is royally pissed at Ma-Ma's recent massacre. Anderson stops him, since she can get better results with her Psychic Powers.
Just in Time: After getting shot in the abdomen, Dredd stalls a corrupt Judge just long enough for Anderson to come to his rescue.
Karmic Death: Dredd gives Ma-Ma a taste of her own "medicine", giving the same treatment that she gave to competitors in the beginning of the film: He gives her a dose of Slo-Mo before tossing her out a window, similar to how she dosed the three competing drug dealers before throwing their skinned alive bodies off the balcony.
Meaningful Echo: "Are you ready?" Dredd asks this of Anderson three times. The first two, he adds that she doesn't look ready. Third time, after she's gained his respect, he amends the statement.
Meaningful Name: A psychic who just happens to be named Cassandra. However, this is more of a reference than anything else, as Dredd shows plenty of trust in her abilities. He doesn't, however, like the idea of someone who didn't qualify to be a Judge being given a pass, especially when 20% of rookie Judges are killed on their first day of duty.
Mega City: Mega-City One, covering the eastern US coast from Boston to Washington, DC in one giant city.
Mercy Kill: When Kay has Anderson captured and at his mercy, he claims that shooting her is this. As he says, she's "not cut out for this; if it didn't happen today it would be tomorrow, or a week from now" and that being shot by him is merciful compared to what someone else might do. It ends up being subverted a few moments later, however, when he stupidly tries to shoot her with her own gun, which self-destructs because of the Lawgiver's biometric scanner.
Mind Rape: Taken to its most literal extreme with Judge Anderson and Kay. Since her abilities are always on, he tries to get to her by imagining himself actually raping her. She smacks him with her gun to make him knock it off. Later, during their Battle in the Center of the Mind, he tries it again. This time, however, Anderson is ready and changes the experience somewhat.
Averted with the lawgivers. Automatic fire is an option on them, but Dredd and Anderson never resort to firing more than short bursts.
Mutants: A result of the atomic wars that occurred in the backstory. Some are stated to have no arms, three arms, etc. Anti-mutant graffiti can be seen in the Peach Trees block. Anderson is a borderline case, being a telepath. Kay even points out how lucky she is that her mutation does not affect her physical appearance. Dredd indicates that mutants are generally banned from becoming Judges; Anderson was let in because her telepathic ability exceeds any recorded case.
A news ticker contains the info: "Judge Palmer deploys Stumm Gas on day six of Fergee Memorial riots". Fergee was a character who had several memorials built in his honor around the city after the events in the comic story The Day The Law Died, not to mention Dredd's Plucky Comic Relief in the last film.
Dredd's face is never seen. The only time he is seen without the helmet is from behind, with most of his body in shadow during the Lock and Load Montage at the beginning.
Zwirner's arrest record shows Judge Griffin as an arresting officer.
Na´ve Newcomer: Anderson plays this role, but the movie inverts the usual mechanic; rather than Anderson asking Dredd questions, Dredd gives Anderson pop quizzes throughout the film as part of her assessment.
Caleb: They're not dead until we find them dead. Or part of them, anyway.
No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: The guy running the med center refuses to shelter Dredd and Anderson for fear of collateral damage. He later tries to help out Dredd's "backup" by telling what's really going on... except they're on Ma-Ma's payroll. He's shot dead on the spot.
No Hugging, No Kissing: There's no sexual tension between Dredd and Anderson and no romantic subplot of any kind. Apparently, the original script included a kiss between Dredd and Anderson, but this was cut at the request of John Wagner.
No OSHA Compliance: Peach Trees has a skateboard park built on the outside of the seventieth floor with no safety rails of any kind. The only saving grace is a moderate amount of flat ground between the ramp and the edge.
No Sense of Personal Space: Ma-ma switches this trope on when she's upset with someone. In one scene, she's practically caressing Clan Techie... whilst sliding a knife over his belly. He is appropriately terrified.
Both Caleb and Dredd instruct their ally to shoot and kill an already severely wounded and incapacitated enemy.
Dredd and Ma-Ma both make almost identical speeches over the building's PA system: they both essentially boil down to "I'm coming for you; anyone who gets in the way will die."
Dredd and Ma-Ma both resort to fairly brutal means of killing their enemies. Ma-Ma has her victims skinned alive; Dredd burns a squad of mooks alive with an incendiary round.
Dredd and Ma-Ma are both shot in almost the exact same spot on their bodies.
Dredd and Ma-Ma both execute an enemy by dosing them with Slo-Mo and throwing them off the 200th floor of the building.
To make the metaphor visual: when Ma-Ma dies, her blood briefly forms the red 'X' pattern that appears on a Judge's helmet.
Not So Stoic: Dredd drops his usually unflappable demeanor when he's faced with rotary cannons, and runs like hell. Though, being Dredd, he still manages to flee in a fairly composed (given the situation!) and manly way.
A big one happens with Dredd when he finds the Gatling guns pointed at him. About the only time you see him look or sound worried.
Ma-Ma has one after seeing Dredd stroll nonchalantly out of the wreckage caused by her rotary cannons and throw her Dragon off the balcony. Later, she has a second one after Dredd deals effortlessly with the team she sent to bust him out of a phone booth, after his speech. The incendiary ammo probably helped.
At the start of the movie, the collective reaction from the three nameless criminals when they realize they're being pursued by a Judge can only be described as sheer panic.
One Bad Mother: Ma-Ma, the evil drug lord in control of the city slum that the movie takes place in. Played with in that it's a shortened form of her real full name, Madeline Madrigal.
One Bullet Left: Dredd, when cornered by corrupt Judges and out of standard ammo, takes a desperation shot with his last remaining round: a Hi-Ex. The victim's head explodes, making sure he won't be a problem. Unfortunately, this also clues in the last one that his gun is now empty.
One-Man Army: Dredd and Anderson are together for most of the conflict, but Dredd proves more than a match for Ma-Ma's forces when they're separated.
One Riot, One Ranger: Typically how Judges are dispatched. A disproportionate ratio of crimes to Judges really cuts down on available backup. A display in the Hall of Justice, when the triple homicides are reported, show that Judge Hershey has literally been assigned to handle a riot by herself.
Only a Flesh Wound: Both Dredd and Anderson get shot in the abdomen and, after applying basic field dressing, are able to walk shortly thereafter without any ill effects. Dredd even kicks a door down about a minute after patching himself up. To be fair, Dredd does use a personal medkit with some sort of cauterizing gel (possibly somewhere along the lines of medi-gel in Mass Effect or biofoam in Halo) to patch himself up, while the fighting was over by the time he helped patch Anderson up. In Dredd's case, the damage from the bullet wound was justified as the result of an armor-piercing round which went straight through him. There was no bullet to remove and minimum trauma, provided it hit nothing critical on its way through.
Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Several times, most blatantly in the opening narration, where Karl Urban mispronounces America as "Americer".
Order vs. Chaos: A major theme of the franchise. Judges have tyrannical powers and routinely engage in Police Brutality by contemporary standards, but in the Crapsack World of Mega City One, they're the only thing keeping society from falling apart.
Orphan's Plot Trinket/Tragic Keepsake: Anderson's photo of her parents. Anderson's parents had died of cancer and her desire to help those who grew up in bad block like she did drives her to become a Judge.
Outrun the Fireball: Dredd has to outrun the destruction caused by three Gatling guns fired by Ma-Ma and her crew.
Perpetual Frowner: Just like the comics, Urban's audition for Dredd could very well have been showing how well he can scowl while not seeing the top part of his head.
Dredd is ruthless as he needs to be as a Judge and spends most of the movie teaching Anderson the same principles. Towards the end of the movie, Anderson spares Ma-Ma's tech guy because she could tell he was coerced and when she stood by her decision, Dredd allowed it and seemed mildly impressed. Early on, perhaps out of pragmatism more than anything else, he lets a homeless guy slide on a vagrancy charge, so long as the guy isn't there by the time he gets back. The homeless man stayed put, and ran out his charity with Dredd ordering him to come with them.
Dredd also elects to stun, rather than kill, two would be young gang members after his attempt to intimidate them into surrender failed. This after killing gang members outright and ordering Anderson to carry out a execution sentence on a wounded criminal that was trying to kill them.
Dredd's backup gets locked outside the building by the techie who covers with a story that it is in lockdown because of a drill and that they can't override the drill because of a fire. They are later easily dismissed by the four corrupt Judges on Ma-Ma's payroll. Who simply order the doors opened for them and it happens instantly.
The Judges are extremely effective but there is so much crime and they are spread so thin that only 6% of reported crimes are investigated. Ma-Ma conquered the entire Peach Trees building and the three individual gangs within without so much as a single judge investigating, and it's hard to believe she hasn't killed more since then.
Poor Communication Kills: On the villain's side, Anderson manages to escape capture not only due to her executioner's stupidity, but because Kay never bothered to mention that she's a psychic.
Pragmatic Villainy: Ma-Ma. She doesn't want Anderson raped or tortured... because she's still hoping to cover up what's going on. She goes to great lengths to kill Dredd, Anderson and their prisoner... not because she's Axe Crazy, but because if the judges interrogate Kay and find out what her real business is, she's as good as dead anyway, so she has nothing to lose by resorting to overkill.
She also opts not to kill an underling who failed her, noting that as much as he deserves it, the Judges have left her under too severe a manpower crunch to bump off any of her own men.
Precious Photo: Anderson keeps a photo of her and her parents when she was a kid in her pocket. After being captured, Kay has a glance of her photo and drops it to the ground. After his arm gets blown off by Anderson's lawgiver, she gets the photo back.
The movie shows realistically what happens to a person after a gruesome injury. Those slow-motion shots of bullets deforming and tearing open people's bodies? That's not exaggerated for the sake of Gorn; that's what a speeding bullet really does to flesh.
Ammo conservation is a serious problem once Dredd and Anderson are locked in the building. Dredd actually runs out late in the film, but manages to get his hands on more magazines for the final battle.
For the movie, the flashy Judges' uniforms were toned down and made more realistic and like Real Life police gear than in the comics and the 1995 film. The lawmasters were redesigned as well to be properly functional, as in the original film they were very difficult to steer.
Recursive Ammo: The Incendiary round for the Lawgiver, which is a round that splits into multiple white phosphorus submunitions.
Revealing Coverup: At first Ma-Ma's reactions seem pretty typical for someone trying to hunt down two Judges... until she indiscriminately slaughters an entire floor of civilians in an attempt to kill them without concern for their hostage. Dredd quickly figures out that this massive overreaction can only mean that the hostage they're toting, Kay, knows more than Dredd or Anderson had realized.
Satire: Like the comics, it plays off the desensitizing of the population due to the graphic violence that surrounds them. After a shootout and Dredd executing a perp, you see a cleaning machine go by, wiping up the mess and trailing a cart of dead bodies, with an announcement that the food court would reopen in a half hour sounding in the background. Also, near the beginning, when Dredd and Anderson go to Peach Trees to investigate the murders of the three men dropped from the top floor, there's a rather large group of people standing around the dead bodies, one of them taking pictures with his cellphone.
Seen It All: After what seems like the toughest day of Dredd's life, he is asked what happened and gives a casual reply of "Drug bust". Just another day on the streets for Judge Dredd.
Shoot The Hostage Taker: In the opening, Judge Dredd is faced with a fugitive holding a gun to a woman's head. Unwilling to negotiate beyond "life in prison" or "summary execution", he eventually fires a hot-shot into the perp's mouth, melting his brain from the inside.
One building is named after Elysium, Neill Blomkamp's follow-up film to District 9. Producer Alex Garland has stated Blomkamp's films were a huge factor in getting Dredd made.
There are several city blocks named after those involved with Dredd, like seasoned Judge Dredd illustrator Carlos Ezquerra and the creator John Wagner.
In the first stairwell shootout, Dredd gives the mooks "twenty seconds to comply" and then "ten seconds to comply." This is a reference to the famous ED-209 scene in the original Robocop. The character of Robocop was based in part on Judge Dredd.
The Hostage Situation scene with the perp using a Human Shield is exactly like another famous scene from that movie, except instead of shooting the perp in the groin like RoboCop did, Dredd shoots him in the head. Interesting in that is what Robo was supposed to do in the original script.
There are a few points where the Clan Techie is listening to the theme from Snuff Box.
Shut Up, Hannibal!: At the end, Ma-Ma tries to intimidate Dredd with the reveal of a deadman switch, who calmly states he has already passed sentence, puts a bullet in her to disable her, and then throws her through an interior window so the transmitter won't be able to send a signal through 200 floors of steel and concrete.
Sink or Swim Mentor: Dredd takes Anderson on a Pass/Fail examination and the Chief Judge literally tells him to use this method.
Skyscraper City: Mega-City One. There several very large sky scrapers referred to as blocks seen in the exterior shots of the movie.
Slasher Smile: Ma-Ma, in a flashback. Ironic in that it's her face that's been slashed.
Slice of Life: The entire movie is basically the day in the life of a Judge, although admittedly it doesn't usually get quite as intense as being forced into a Closed Circle with a vicious gang lord.
Slow Motion: In-Universe, thanks to the Slo-Mo drug that makes the user's sense of time crawl at a tiny fraction of normal while under the effects of the drug.
Slow Motion Fall: Both the three thugs Ma-Ma has thrown off the top floor to send a message, and Ma-Ma herself, go out this way.
Small Girl, Big Gun: The only time we see Ma-Ma using a gun is when she's using a massive Gatling gun on the Judges.
Soundtrack Dissonance: The Slo-Mo theme, a curiously flute-y and ethereal piece among the crunching electric guitars and thudding bass, was inspired by a slowed down version of a Justin Bieber song, of all things.
Spoiler Title: Not in the picture itself, but in the soundtrack. The movie focuses on Dredd and his rookie as he decides whether or not she'll be inducted into the force. The first track on the soundtrack? "She's a Pass".
Spotting the Thread: Dredd realizes that his supposed backup isn't on the level when one of them doesn't ask about his partner.
Star Scraper: The mega-structures meet the qualification line by a slim margin; Dredd mentions that Ma-Ma's penthouse is at least a kilometer above ground, and Peach Trees is only one of many such structures.
Neither Dredd nor Anderson wears hearing protection through out the film.
Ma-Ma stands near three Gatling guns all firing continuously at the same time, with no ear protection. A little later, she doesn't even need to raise her voice to give commands on where to fire. None of the mooks appear to wearing any hearing protection either.
No one in the film is wearing any sort of hearing protection despite the frequent use of fire arms.
Storming the Castle: Dredd and Anderson are forced to attack up the tower through Ma-Ma's forces and strong points due to being trapped in the tower.
Swiss Army Gun: The Lawgiver has a variety of different ammo types that are loaded by voice command. It also has an option rapid fire mode and silencer mode.
Ma-Ma tries intimidating Dredd with a dead man's switch tied to her heartbeat. Instead of backing down, Dredd shoots her non-fatally then tosses her out a window to the bottom floor, where the transmitter won't be able to get through to the receiver.
After surviving Ma-Ma's Gatling gun attack, Dredd asks Anderson what their options are. Anderson points out that standard protocol is either hide or defend until backup arrives. Dredd offers a third option: attack.
Terse Talker: Good luck getting Dredd to say more than one word to give his opinion on something. When told that all of the slo-mo in Megacity One is coming from Ma-Ma's gang in Peach Trees, he replies "interesting". From him, that's a big deal.
Part of Ma-Ma's trademark of violence. She uses a set of three Gatling guns to absolutely shred an entire level of the block. This actually ends up as a plot point, as Dredd realizes no one would go to such lengths to kill a Judge unless they had something big to protect. Additionally, it lets the judges communicate with the outside, and it wrecks a lot of her hacker's connections.
Instead of simply shooting a mook dead early in the film, Dredd decides to fire a special incendiary round into his head, causing his brain to burn from the inside.
During one confrontation with a pair of thugs, Anderson shoots one from below the chin, and despite one bullet being enough, keeps firing until his head disintegrates.
Took a Level in Badass: When Anderson walks into Peach Trees, she's a marginally qualified and obviously green rookie. By the time she walks out, she's a battle-hardened Judge who's willing to stand up to Dredd when she believes that Justice and Law do not agree on a specific case.
Ma-Ma muses that if the Judges take Kay back for interrogation, then he will crack, and so she makes sure they don't leave.
Subverted later when Dredd starts to beat him up, only for Anderson to say she can get the information from him without force - physical force, anyway.
Trailers Always Spoil: The trailer shows Anderson revealing the secret that Kay was keeping as well as several shots of Dredd throwing Ma-Ma out of a window. It's pretty much the entire arc of the movie, major twists included, condensed into a minute and a half.
Tranquil Fury: Based on Anderson's psychic probe, Dredd is made up of this.
Anderson: I sense... anger... and control... and something behind the control...
Turn in Your Badge: At the end, Anderson does this without a single prompt, knowing full well that she made a couple of fail offenses in her assessment. A few moments later the audience finds out that she passed anyway.
Twenty Minutes into the Future: The Judges have futuristic uniforms and equipment. Pretty much everyone else has early 21st century clothes and electronics. A freeze frame bonus of Ma-Ma's police profile on a computer reveals the film takes place in 2100 (Ma-Ma is stated to be born in 2061 and is 39 in the film).
When Anderson tells Dredd what she found in Kay's head, that Ma-Ma is the source of the biggest new drug to hit Mega-City One, his only reaction is "Interesting."
At the end, when the Chief Judge asks Dredd for his assessment of the situation, Dredd simply replies, "Drug bust."
"Perps were... uncooperative."
Unflinching Walk: Dredd, for most of the movie, barely moves above a calm, methodical walk.
Unusable Enemy Equipment: A Judge's sidearm will not work for anyone other than the Judge, as unwittingly demonstrated by Kay. And by "not work," we mean "explode and blow off his hand and part of his arm." Lawgiver ammo clips are interchangeable, however, allowing Dredd to appropriate a fallen Judge's loadout to replenish his weapon.
Vice City: Mega-City One is home to over 800,000,000 people, and crime is so rampant that the people policing the place have to act as judge, jury, and executioner. Even then, they struggle badly. Dredd states that the Justice Department is only able to respond to around 6% of calls for serious crime. And if that is the case, one can only imagine how many crimes don't even get reported in the first place. 20% of rookie Judges are also killed in their first day on the job.
As much as Ma-Ma tries to be Dangerously Genre Savvy, she fails on several points. Her overreaction to Kay's capture by both locking down the building and using gatling guns, rouse Dredd's suspicions as to how important Kay really is, thus allowing Dredd and Anderson to discover that information. She routinely abuses the Clan Techie even though, as far as we know, he is literally their only computer expert on staff. Given the chance, he gives up the code to her safe room to save his hide. She hires corrupt Judges to take out Dredd after her own men prove inadequate, but this just serves to provide Dredd with more ammo. As the doctor points out in the beginning, Ma-Ma only solves her problems with violence.
After wounding Dredd and cornering him, the attacker corrupt Judge Lex engages in some Evil Gloating, in part due to hubris, just long enough for Dredd to get rescued by Anderson killing Lex.
We Have Reserves: Played straight in the beginning; when Kay's distribution shop is hit, Ma-Ma dismisses it as the cost of doing business until she learns that the Judges took Kay alive. Averted later; Ma-Ma notably refuses to execute an underling for his incompetence because Dredd has killed a lot of her men and she can't afford to lose any more.
What Measure Is a Mook?: Anderson is reluctant to execute a mook, but Dredd insists that she execute him for attempted murder of a Judge. To make matters worse, she later discovers that he has a wife worrying about him at home as well as a young child.
Would Hit a Girl: Dredd has no problem at all with attacking women, throwing Ma-Ma through a window and watching her plummet many, many storeys to her death. However, he Wouldn't Hurt a Child.