First Dredd Trailer: RoboCop Meets The Raid?
"Somewhere in this block are two judges," a crime lord declares over loudspeakers in a concrete, locked-down tenement. "I want them dead." Is this the American remake of Gareth Evans' fantastic silat action pic The Raid? Nope. It's the first trailer for Dredd! As in, the second cinematic coming of Judge Dredd, the futuristic crime fighting officer made famous by Sylvester Stallone, here replaced by a serious-faced, robotic Karl Urban, whose lower jaw we're going to be seeing a lot of in the September reboot.
Pete Travis (Vantage Point) directs (after some editing room drama) the slick-looking Dredd — shot in 3-D — which promises a dirty future ridden with crime, the population under the control of Lena Headey's drug-pushing villainess. The fictional narcotic "Slo-mo" makes characters feel as if time is moving at a slow crawl, giving Travis the occasion to give things that gorgeous speed-manipulated floating feeling, which should help distract from the glaring familiarity of the film's set-up.
Which brings me to the aforementioned issue; if I hadn't seen (and loved) The Raid, which exploited the basic premise of a few lone law officers fighting their way through a slum building to get to its big boss with great aplomb, the trailer's plot reveal would feel a lot fresher. Now I'm just wondering if any of the fights will come close to matching the inventiveness of Evans' bone-crunching Indonesian picture. And with Urban set to never take off that Dredd mask in the film — and delivering lines like "I'm the law" with no trace of Sly's charisma — this feels like a precursor to the RoboCop reboot, only with less emotion.
And then there's the Dredd-ness of it all. Olivia Thirlby in that Dredd-ful hairdo will have to work hard to measure up to Diane Lane's feisty sidekick in 1995's Judge Dredd, silly as that movie was, even as this Dredd — based more on the comics than its predecessor — is clearly taking a more solemn approach. The most promising element here is Headey and her scarred-but-hot lady crime lord — now there's something you don't see often.
Verdict: More of a curiosity than a must-see.
Dredd hits theaters September 21.