Matt Adcock’s film review: Dredd 3D

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There are 800 million people living in the ruin of the old world.

Fghting to create some sort of order in the chaos are the men and women of the Hall of Justice.

Feared and renowned, the Judges are the thin blue line – they are the law, empowered to deliver the sentence on criminals on the spot. Often the sentence is death.

Dredd 3D is a second cinema attempt to turn iconic comic book anti-hero Judge Dredd, the star of British cult title 2000AD.

Karl Urban takes on the role of the ripped lawmaker, stepping into the shoes of Sly Stallone whose muscles and monosyllables weren’t enough to make his 1990s effort worth remembering.

Director Pete Travis comes up with a grittier and darker version which sees Dredd partnered with a rookie psychic Judge named Anderson (Olivia Thirlby).

Together they face a nightmare in the form of a 200-floor mega-block, which is controlled by a ruthless, and psychotic crime lord named Ma-Ma (Lena Headey).

When a triple murder investigation leads the dynamic duo of Judges into a dangerous drug bust, Ma-Ma locks the entire block down and set her army of criminals the task of wiping them out before they can dig too deep into her drug operation.

The drug in question is a new one called Slo-Mo, which slows down a user’s perception of time so each second seems to last an age.

So it’s two Judges versus hundreds of seriously tooled-up criminals in a fight to the death, and that’s pretty much it for plot.

If it sounds a bit like the excellent The Raid from earlier this year, fear not, Dredd brings enough dark sci-fi sizzle to the party to make it a fine companion piece rather than any ‘me-too’ effort.

The ultra-violent carnage that ensues is of the seriously gory and highly graphic kind. The filmmakers, who include Luton’s finest Steve Worsley on editing duties, bring the action to eye-watering life, making fine use of 3D in the process.

Dredd 3D is an action-packed thrill ride that doesn’t pull its punches. At times you even feel slightly sorry for the heavily armed gang members as Dredd cuts swathes through them.

Urban brings a great emotionless grizzled menace to the lead role and he’s ably backed up by Thirlby who gives the film a little humanity, and who looks great in her Judge armour.

Urban keeps fans on side by not taking off his helmet throughout, and Heady delivers a nicely evil turn as Ma-Ma.

Everything works in fine, brutal style, making Dredd 3D a highly recommended night out for sci-fi fans with strong stomachs everywhere.