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 waste land. 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.During a routine day on the job, 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 neighborhood where fellow Judges rarely dare to venture — a 200-storey vertical slum controlled by prostitute turned drug lord Madeleine "Ma-Ma" Madrigal and her ruthless clan. When they 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 confront the odds and engage in the relentless battle for their survival. At the end, it's just another day for Dredd.The trailer can be seen here. Not to be confused with the 1995 film adaptation starring Sylvester Stallone.
Dredd contains 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 fires standard, hotshot, incendiary, armour-piercing, stun and hi-ex rounds.
The Aggressive Drug Dealer: Ma-Ma, though only in the sense of being an aggressive expansionist. Her distribution process is never shown save for a small scene where Kay is selling it as one would expect of a common dealer.
Anti-Hero: 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 (not firing on a van 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 too. Although depicted as a kindlier, gentler judge compared to Dredd, she nonetheless kills several perps in cold blood (including one disarmed and wounded mook she shoots in the back. Nice girl.)
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.
Armor Is Useless: Judge armor doesn't actually seem capable of stopping bullets, even from guns that it rightfully should. An MP5 sub-machine gun goes through the armor like paper, and Anderson (by all appearances) has her chest armor penetrated by a pistol. The only time an armor-piercing round was needed was to shoot through a wall.
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.
Bottomless Magazines: Averted; Dredd is shown reloading several times, and running low on ammo becomes a major set-back when they're locked inside an apartment complex with more targets than they have bullets.
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.
Dredd couldn't call for backup due to the interference caused by the lockdown in Peach Tree Block. Knowing this, Dredd threw Ma-Ma out of a window so that the Dead Man Switch she was wearing wouldn't make a difference when he executed her.
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.
Just like in the comics, 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 and he finds himself minus a hand.
Closed Circle: The very premise is trapping Dredd and a newbie in a high-rise building and forcing them to fight it out.
Concealment Equals Cover: Averted. Ma-Ma's miniguns chew through the entire side of the block they're fired at, and one lucky shot actually went clean through the reinforced blast doors at the back. Later, Dredd hides behind a brick wall but the corrupt Judge hunting him just fires straight through it with an armor-piercing round, getting Dredd in the process.
Contemplating Your Hands: We first see Ma-Ma in the tub, stoned on Slo-Mo, grooving to the splash patterns her hands are making in the water.
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.
Anderson: He's thinking of making a move for your gun.
Anderson: He just changed his mind.
Designated Girl Fight: The only female corrupt Judge goes after Anderson while the three male Judges go after Dredd. It's then subverted when Anderson unceremoniously kills her and moves on to kill the one that has cornered Dredd. Dredd also proves later that he's more than willing to kill a woman.
Destination Defenestration: Dredd drops Ma-Ma 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 massive futuristic high-rise ruled by a drug lord.
Dirty Cop: When Dredd proves too formidable an opponent to take down on her own, Ma-Ma calls in four Judges on her payroll who arrive pretending to be Dredd's backup.
Disney Villain Death: The three rival drug dealers at the beginning, with the added torment of being skinned first. Then Caleb about halfway through, and Ma-Ma at the end, both chucked by Dredd.
The Dragon: Caleb is Ma-Ma's right hand man. Though he gets killed rather simply by Dredd about halfway through.
Elite Mooks: Basically the role of the dirty Judges late in the film.
Fate Worse Than Death: Dredd and Kay both say this will happen to Anderson if she's taken alive. 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.
Also, Ma-Ma's plan to bring in the 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.
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.
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.
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 rising 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.
Ironic Name: One of the crappiest places in Mega City One is named Peach Trees.
It Gets Easier: Anderson has a hard time putting down a defenseless perp, but does so on Dredd's orders. She's a lot quicker on the trigger after that.
Just in Time: After getting shot in the abdomen, Dredd stalls a corrupt Judge just long enough for Anderson to take him down.
Karmic Death: Just before Dredd drops Ma-Ma out a window, he gives her a dose of Slo-Mo, just as she did to the three competing drug dealers whose murders were the reason for Dredd's arrival at Peach Trees in the first place.
Meaningful Echo: "Are you ready? You don't look ready." is said twice. Followed by "Are you ready? You look ready."
Meaningful Name: A psychic who just happens to be named Cassandra. However, this is more of a reference than anything else, as Dredd shows her the trust she deserves.
Mega City: Mega-City One, covering the eastern US coast from Boston to Washington, DC.
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.
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. (In the comics there is a dedicated psionics branch, of which she is a senior member.)
A news ticker contains the info: "...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.
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.
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 them what's really going on... except they're on Ma-Ma's payroll. He's shot dead on the spot.
No Hugging, No Kissing: Apparently, the original script included a kiss between Dredd and Anderson, but this was cut at the request of John Wagner.
Dredd pulls this trick on two juves who hold him up. They check anyway, giving Dredd enough time to draw his Lawgiver.
Anderson also pulls a version of this on Kay when he has her Lawgiver. Although in this case, it was a, "Pull the trigger and you explode" variety.
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.
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 Bullet Left: Dredd, when cornered by corrupt Judges and out of standard ammo, takes one out with the last remaining round in his lawgiver in desperation. Turns out, his last round is a Hi-Ex. 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.
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 Mass Effect's medi-gel or Halo's biofoam) to patch himself up, while the fighting was over by the time he helped patch Anderson up.
Orgasmic Combat: When Anderson is kidnapped, she's moaning in a very suggestive manner, accompanied by pelvic thrusting from Kay.
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.
Pet the Dog: 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 was shown to be mildly impressed.
Dredd's backup gets locked outside the building, buy the story that it is in lockdown because of a drill and that they can't override the drill because of a fire, and then are easily dismissed by the four corrupt Judges on Ma-Ma's payroll.
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. The Peach Trees building has not seen any Judges for a long time despite being the scene of multiple gang wars and many, many murders.
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.
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.
Precision F-Strike: Dredd gets one when he sees Ma-Ma's rotary cannons spinning up — aiming at him.
Dredd: Oh, shit. ** If you watch the film with subtitles on, there are a number of others hidden in background dialogue.
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 an announcement that the food court would reopen in a half hour. 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 hardest day in Dredd's life, he is asked what happened and simply replies "Drug bust". Just another day on the streets for Judge Dredd.
Shoot The Hostage Taker: In the first part Judge Dredd is faced with a fugitive holding a gun to a woman's head, he shoots a hot-shot into the perp's mouth making his head burn up from the inside.
Shut Up, Hannibal!: At the end, Ma-Ma's reveal of a deadman switch does not intimidate Dredd, who calmly states he has already passed sentence, puts a bullet in her to disable her, and then throws her off the roof so the transmitter won't be able to send a signal through 200 floors of steel and concrete.
Sink or Swim Mentor: Dredd, of course, and the Chief Judge literally tells him to use this method.
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 the additional Judges are not his promised back-up 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.
Swiss Army Gun: The Lawgiver has a variety of different ammo types that are loaded by voice command.
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.
There Is No Kill Like Overkill: Ma-Ma uses a set of three supercharged Gatling guns to absolutely decimate 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.
Ma-Ma muses that if the Judges take Kay back for interrogation 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.
Trailers Always Spoil: The trailer shows Anderson revealing the secret that Kay was keeping. Not that it was that big of a twist anyways.
Tranquil Fury: Based on Anderson's psychic probe, Dredd is made up of this.
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. And this is beforewe find out 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.
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.
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. And if that is the case, one can only imagine how many crimes don't even get reported in the first place.
Ma-Ma pretty much holds this throughout the entire movie. Instead of just having the guy killed on his way to the Hall of Justice, she locks Peach Trees down which keeps them inside, her use of Gatling guns makes Dredd suspicious of what she is most likely trying to protect from pulling out all this firepower, tortures the guy who is controlling the building for laughs lets the guy give the Judges the code to her safe room, hiring corrupt Judges to take out Dredd simple just gives him extra ammo when they ran out. Well one has to expect when you have only solved your problems with violence.
The corrupt Judge who had wounded and cornered Dredd engages in some Evil Gloating just long enough for Anderson to kill him, in part due to hubris.
We Have Reserves: Averted; 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 kill a mook who begs for mercy, 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.
Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: When Anderson and Kay are alone, he shocks her by thinking about something we never get to see. We learn what it is when he attempts to force her into fellatio while she's sharing his mind.
Would Hit a Girl: Dredd has no problem at all with throwing Ma-Ma through a window and watching her plummet many, many storeys to her death.