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Thursday, September 27, 2012

Dredd (2012)

As posted on Print the Legend by Choc:

Movie Review: Dredd (starring Karl Urban’s mouth)

Image from TheMovieBlog

Dredd 3D (2012)  (Dir. by: Pete Travis)

Starring: Karl Urban, Olivia Thirlby
Rottentomatoes: 76%
IMDB  7.8

What sorcery is this? How can both the time-tested critics of rottentomatoes and the cinephiliacs of imdb.con both  miss wide off the mark here?  76% on rotten and 7.8 on imdb?! Mind blown.

This movie fails on so many levels I just don’t know where to start.

As a sci-fi movie, it’s insulting. I don’t even think this qualifies as science fiction at all. All sci-fi movies (the good ones anyway) all have two things in common, their “conditio sine qua non” so to speak. First, in science fiction, the socio-political landscape is markedly different, this is why sci-fi is so interesting (for me at least) because this different “background” as often shown, happen in the future or in a different “universe” from our own. “Universe” in cinematic terms, is the “world” where the movie happens (not necessarily a collection of galaxies). Sci-fi is often misconstrued as that movie featuring hi-tech gadgets, and quirky costumes, but it’s not simply that. A good example is the movie “Never Let Me Go (2010) ” starring Keira Knightley and Spider boy Andrew Garfield, adapted from Ishiguro’s 2005 novel of the same name. In Never Let Me Go, there were, literally, nothing that would indicate that the story is happening in a different “universe” from ours. There were no fancy gadgets or fancy costumes, it looked absolutely normal and of this world. Yet, this movie was science fiction at the height of its power.

The “background” condition of sci-fi is also the reason  why we don’t call James Bond movies sci-fi, even with all those hi-tech gadgets, because those movies clearly happen in our “universe.”

Going back to Dredd, i guess you can argue that, it does happen in a universe that is not our own, but what indicates this? Aside from the look of the movie, virtually nothing! because  the socio-political background is all too familiar, or at least, not tackled enough for us to realize the difference. In fact, Dredd, this exact same movie was already shown earlier, but with a different title called “The Raid: Redemption” that is the exact same story but happening in our world as we know it. The fact that the exact same story can be shown in our “universe” is a big blow to Dredd’s claim to be placed under the science fiction banner.

The Second condition of Sci-fi is that the socio-political background is the prime mover of the characters into action. There is always, of course, the personal agenda of any character, but ultimately, I think, every action stems from the political and social landscape of the time.   

Name me a good sci-fi movie and chances are it will have this second condition. From the classics such as A Clockwork Orange and Orwell’s 1984  to the more modern ones such as Minority Report, the Matrix, and even the Hunger Games meet this. And Dredd?  well he’s a cop out to take the bad guys, thats basically it. You don’t even get a general sense of what happens in the powers that be in the Government or the Police force. Don’t expect characterization on any one because you’re not getting any in this movie.

As an action movie? This is moronic. If you want to pay 250php to watch Judge Dredd (played by Karl Urban’s mouth) do practice shooting for 90 mins you are welcome, but consider yourself warned. Action scenes are there to build up tension until finally hitting a crest at the climax, don’t wait for a climax, because its not happening i tell you.

Having said these things, the main thing about how bad this movie is, is Dredd himself. I think it’s not exaggeration when i say he is all helmet and no charisma here. His one liners are pitiful, (the writers are also at fault here) and his sense of humor doesn’t make sense at all. In one scene where his rookie partner  (Olivia Thirlby) tells him the “secret” of the villain’s drug operation, the only word that comes out of his mouth was: “interesting”…… NOT!

It’s very hard to watch through a movie without a character who can act as an extension of ourselves in that universe. In this movie, this great responsibility is being placed on the shoulders of: Karl Urban’s mouth (to mix metaphors).

And the PLOT? what plot??

And what the fuck was that slo-mo drug? it could simply have been any drug! it absolutely has no bearing on anything aside from an excuse to do some eye popping 3D effects, which even that cannot save this piffle of a movie.

Disclaimer: I may not be in a position to review this movie. I fell asleep through many parts of it.

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