Judge Dredd: Versace edition

Here are some things Judge Dredd (the 1995 movie) does well: it really truly looks like a 2000AD dystopia. The special effects are excellent, with a few exceptions (the mid-air chase scenes don’t stack up so well). There is a good robot (not in the moral sense). And I do believe there are some modern movies could learn from the number of women in the background of scenes.

On the other hand, who decided Rob Schneider needed to be in this movie? Who decided that Dredd needed a love interest? Why do studios think that erasing a property’s defining characteristics is the way to success?

(Maybe that’s unfair – I have seen a lot of really good adaptations, that took liberties without betraying the source material. On the other hand, I’ve also seen Stark Trek Into Darkness and The Dark Knight Rises, so.)

Also – the giant gold shoulder armor, why?!

The movie is based on an actual arc from early Judge Dredd comics – the one about Dredd’s evil clone who used to be his brother. The movie gets a lot more political about that arc than I remember the comic being though. Dredd was part of a secret government cloning project! Now the technology’s improved sufficiently that they can grow a clone army in only eight hours a clone!

Actually, the government says, this is a really bad idea. This is taking our totalitarian regime a stop too far. Let’s not go there!

Too bad Dredd’s evil clone kills them all and takes over the science labs. Conveniently located in the head of the Statue of Liberty.

There are some thematic similarities to Captain America: The Winter Solider, which is amusing to me. Dredd as the perfect judge; his clone Rico as his double, the perfect criminal. Except that Dredd is the one who tows the company line, and Rico is the one who questions it. Except that the totalitarian regime is portrayed as justified. Because, you know, it’s not like they’re so bad that they would create a clone army, they’re totally legit.

I feel like Judge Dredd sounds a lot more coherent in the retelling. It’s kind of a mess. But unlike, say, Battle of the Damned, most of the people working on it are competent, so it’s watchable. (It would be even more so, if not for Rob Schneider. Seriously, who decided Dredd needed a not-even-funny comic relief sidekick?)

As bad movies go, I would recommend it. As adaptations go, and quality cinema, ha ha ha, no.

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