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Judge Dredd

Posted by Remy on April 7, 2009

Judge Dredd (1995) is one of those mindless action movies, more conscious of trailer fodder ‘splodies than character, narrative, and art. Yes, it has a villain that to call him cardboard -to use the insult of Roger Ebert-is an insult to useful packing material. Yes, it has a mouthy sidekick (the insipid Rob Schneider) and pretty romantic interest whose characterization extends only so far as her cleavage, and it stars the patron saint of action movies Sly Stallone. As if that weren’t enough, it is based on a little known comic book.

The story is set in the future, the earth is scorched and everyone lives in five or six megacities across America. The city is policed by judges acting as the jury and if necessary the executioner. The plot revolves around authoritarian, totalitarian, blah, blah, blah. You’ve seen the movie even if you haven’t seen the movie.

BUT there are some interesting elements embedded in the movie:

  • Judge Dredd yells “I AM the Law!” and is without mercy.
  • The law code looks like a Bible, black leather and golden pages.
  • Lady Justice is shown in the background with a spiky crown and arms stretched out, cruciform.
  • The conflict is between him and his brother.
  • He is sentenced wrongly and goes into the wilderness.

The movie is not worthy of these Scriptural teases. The Law/Gospel element recedes in a flurry of fists, mercy isn’t mentioned, and Dredd isn’t transformed. It’s a pity since there’s a lot here to work with.

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