Top critical review
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Better than I expected
on 24 November 2004
This film was almost universally hated, by critics and Dredd fans alike, so I didn't get round to watching it for a long time. Dredd is one of my all time favourite comics and I didn't want to see it ruined by a bad film.
WHAT'S GOOD. Sylvester Stallone is the perfect man to play Dredd. I know not everyone agrees, but just scroll up and look at the picture. The first half hour or so of the film captures the atmoshere of the comics and MegaCity 1 perfectly, and gives anyone a good idea of what the comics are like.
WHAT'S BAD. The story. In short the story was not right for the character. I can understand that the film makers wanted Rico as the villain because it gives a lot of the back story as to where Dredd came from, but the way in which it was done had too many holes in it. Like the fact that Dredd has identical DNA to Fargo as well as Rico, was completely ignored. Dredd shouldn't have been sent to prison in the first place, he should have been chasing Rico round MegaCity 1. Diane Lane was very pretty, but essentially mis-cast as Judge Hershey (who's older in the comics and Dredd's superior) .As for Dredd's comedy sidekick bloke... He really DID deserve to go to prison! He was totally unneccesary - less said about him the better.
The other thing that needs to be mentioned is that in the film Dredd takes his helmet off! This upset many a Dreddhead, since he NEVER takes his helmet off in the comics - even when he's standing around in his underpants. I concede this probably couldn't be easily avoided on film, and it wasn't totally gratuitous but still, on screen Stallone was Dredd until he took off the helmet. Then he was just Stallone.
Overall as a film it isn't bad, it's an entertaining piece of sci-fi. If you like the film, you'll like the comics more. If you like the comics the film will leave you cold.