When it was announced in 2008 that DNA Films, in conjunction with Reliance Big Entertainment, would be distributing a movie based on the classic 2000 AD comic character Judge Dredd, nearly all Dredd fanboys (myself included) groaned in agony. 13 years is not nearly enough time to forget about the travesty that was the critical and financial failure of Sylvester Stallone’s 1995 Judge Dredd. Largely thought as one of Stallone’s worst movies and the worst comic book adaptation ever made, my viewing of Judge Dredd did not make me want to ride a Lawmaster to Mega-City One again anytime soon.
I was skeptical when I heard they were attempting to reboot this classic comic into a box-office success and potential franchise. However, after months of hype and leaked production photos, I can honestly say that I cannot wait to buy my ticket for Dredd. Why do I trust this version of the comic so much more than the one ballasted by Rocky? Well, there are a few reasons:
1. The Script. John Wagner, writer of the comic, acted as a script consultant, ensuring that the film will contain the action and dark humor that makes the comic appeal to all ages. Wagner even said, “Alex Garland’s script is faithful to the original concept that made Judge Dredd a favorite bad-ass hero. It’s a high-octane sleigh ride through the dark underbelly of the vast future city.” (Reelz Channel). If the creator of the comic says the script is amazing, then I believe him.
2. Producers and Director. Producer Andrew Garland, a self-professed reader of Judge Dredd, stated that he wishes to develop this reboot “…with an emphasis on adrenaline and realism, but with all the scale and spectacle of Mega-City One.” (Reelz Channel). It sounds like Garland does not wish to disappoint the legions of 2000 AD fans. He has spoken highly of director Pete Travis (Vantage Point), who he believes is the perfect match for the film.
3. Karl Urban. Urban, of Star Trek and Lord of the Rings fame, will star as the biggest bad-ass in comics. Urban is another Judge Dredd reader and is pleased that the dark tone of the script is faithful to the comic. He has also confirmed that, unlike in the 1995 version, he will not be removing his helmet at any time during the movie (since justice is faceless the Judge never removes his helmet, a sacred cow almost instantly slaughtered by Stallone in 1995).
So, we have a writer who loves the comic, a producer who loves the comic, and a lead actor who loves the comic. It sounds like Dredd is indeed going to be an edgy, dark, adrenaline fueled thrill ride through the back alleyways of Mega-City One. After reading all this and seeing the press release photos of Karl Urban as the Judge himself, I am now ready to ride that Lawmaster to Mega-City One once again.
– Jeremy Nowak