This is the Judge Dredd movie we've been waiting for. It's dark. It's bleak. It's brutal. And, most importantly, we never see Dredd's face. Karl Urban turns in a spectacular performance as Dredd. He does an incredible job with just voice tone and body language indeed, Urban's voice is now how I hear Dredd in my head. Olivia Thirlby turns in a very good Anderson. Her portrayal is of a young woman who is in a little over her head, somewhere between the flippant personality she exhibited in the early comics and the more melancholy woman she is today. The filmmakers have taken a bit of liberty with her character, but it really works. However, the best performance in the movie is Lena Headey as original character Ma Ma. She brilliantly portrays a vicious, brutal woman who is always, always calm and in control, yet is quite physical and genuinely unnerving in many of her scenes. Bravo. The screenplay is a new story rather than an adaptation of any particular storyline. While some elements, such as Dredd giving a cadet their final exam, have been done before, none have ever really been like this. It's a very effective introduction to the characters and to the world they inhabit; I think the relatively small scale works in the movie's favour, as it allows for deeper interpersonal interactions and character development. Aspects of the setting have been changed from the comic. Most noticeably, the Judge uniform is quite different. However, this uniform does look really good, and looks like just the sort of thing a super-tough future cop would wear. One need only take a look at the Stallone movie to see why some changes are necessary in an adaptation. Drokk has also been done away with in favour of proper cursing. This might irk some fans of the comic. but let's face it, having real people yell that would come across as a bit silly in an otherwise very serious movie. One issue I had was that Mega-City One looked rather too modern, as if it was set somewhat closer in the future than the comic. This might have been due to budgetary constraints, but the scenes outside Peaches Tree felt a little off to me. All in all, however, as a fan of Judge Dredd, I really enjoyed this movie. I would hope that non-fans would like it as well, but I'm too much of a fanboy to make a neutral assessment.
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