are a mixed bag. Some comic books make splendid and clever movies, and some should have stayed safely inside their Mylar bags. Judge Dredd falls into this second category. It was released in 2011, an apparently big deal movie, which we took out of the library and watched on Saturday night. Note: this is not the Sylvester Stallone version, which I haven’t seen. Though Sly probably did better than whoever starred in this mess. (Karl Urban, a former Star Trek captain, is the “star”).
I’m not going to devote a lot of time to this movie, which merits maybe a D, D+, I’ll just discuss why it should have never jumped from 2 to 3D. Judge Dredd is a pretty good comic, and Judge Dredd himself is an interesting character; it’s set in an apocalyptic future where society has broken down completely, and the only order comes from the Judges, a group of motorcycling badasses who shoot down ne’er-do-wells (and are themselves loosely policed by a central bureau; then, as now, there are corrupt judges). The darkness of the comic does not translate well to film; this was one of the most violent movies I’ve ever seen. Lots of heads getting blown off in super slow-motion. You actually see a bullet pierce a guy’s cheek and come out the other side, in gruesome detail. The plot was not strong enough to sustain all this wanton bloodshed, and neither of the main characters (Judge Dredd and his rookie sidekick, a plucky young psychic) were all that compelling. At least fifteen minutes out of the hour and change long movie was in slow motion (a subplot involves a drug that slows down time), and, while I grant some of the slo-mo was cool, pretty even, after five minutes of gracefully exploding heads, I’d seen enough. Let me clarify: the water droplets in slow motion were pretty, not the exploding heads.
This is a classic case of a good comic being harvested for its organs, then tossed into a ditch. Hollywood is ruthless like that. I implore you, don’t see Judge Dredd. I guess now I have to see the Stallone version, just to find out whether or not this poor comic book was ever done cinematic justice.