I can still remember it clearly. My brother-in-law Dennis Santos brought a graphic novel entitled Batman/Judge Dredd with him while he was still courting my sister in Batangas. I was inquisitive as I have never seen a graphic novel at that time and that all I knew were individual comic books. He explained to me that a graphic novel is usually a one-shot edition, with better paper, better coloring and usually far better artwork and more serious themes than the regular comic books that are out there. I asked him if it is OK for me to browse and read the graphic novel that he had and he let me read it. In all honesty? I don’t remember most of the storyline of BATMAN/Judge Dredd Judgement on Gotham anymore. All I remember is that the artwork was fantastic. I also recall that the character of Judge Dredd was cocky, self-absorbed and he didn’t really care a thing about who and what Batman is all about. I remember that there was a telepath in that movie too. And when they came out with a movie in 1995, I was very happy to see the comic book character come to life. Alas, watching the Sylvester Stallone movie was extremely disappointing. In fact, I don’t even remember watching it a second time around, even when it was already available on cable tv. It was really that bad the way they brought the character to life. So it made me wonder, can they pull off a remake of an old franchise?
DREDD just opened in Philipine movie houses this week. A lot more people are actually watching the locally made film called The Mistress. They say that the acting and the storyline is great. Me? I want hardcore action of the guns, bombs and computer graphics kind. So I opted to watch DREDD. And one thing that I can say about the movie and I would like to use the words of another blogger friend…. “Dredd made Game of Thrones look like an episode of Dora the Explorer.” The violence is just too much in this movie. It’s not even something that I would allow my own children to watch without supervision. It is just too real, down to earth and the CGI well done that it really made the entire movie feel as if it really existed int he here and now.
The first thing that I like about the movie is that it is more attuned to its comic book history. Megacity One is depicted as a hopeless place where people live in a post apolcalyptic world. There are virtually no greeneries in this film which makes me wonder how on earth can people survive let alone thrive in this world? Is everything recycled? In short, the movie actually leaves a person with more questions than answers. So YES, I can see a sequel out of this first movie. I just hope that they do it right the second time around because Judge Dredd has never been known to have notable enemies. Almost all of them end up dead which is very different from American comic books such as Marvel and DC which has recurring enemies like XMEN versus Magneto and then we have Superman versus Lex Luthor. In short, Judge Dredd done right never gets old.
Second thing I like about this film is that they made changes to the Anderson character. Anderson in the comic books is part of the Psi Division of the Justice Department. In the movie, she is a rookie who aspires to become a Judge. This is indeed a fresh reboot of an old character and they made her younger than the actual character in the comic books. In all honesty? I don’t remember much of the first Judge Dredd movie that came out in 2005 anymore for me to even recall if they had Anderson in that film. Wow, that movie must have been so bad for me not to even bother watching it a second time around. In this movie reboot DREDD, we see that Judge Dredd as a mentor/coach to rookie Anderson. The main reason they even ended up in big trouble and busting the biggest gang in Megacity One was all because Anderson choose to respond to a homicide scene. From the start of their time being on the screen together, you can see that Judge Dredd doing a remarkable role of being a good leader and a good follower. Not once did he call the shots. For every decision regardless of minor or major one, he would give the decision to Anderson. He did not really agree to the decisions but he respected it nonetheless.
At 34 years old, I cannot help but think that the best leaders out there really take a big risk in giving tasks to people. It’s important for people to feel the need to decide. More than that, it is important for people to see what is the extent of their decision making and how it will all play out. In DREDD, you can see this in several scenes. One, there’s this scene that Anderson hesitated in shooting a bullet through a person and enacting the role of Judge, Jury and Executioner. And yet that scene is all part of the crucible of the character’s future. Two, that same scene haunts her as she is able to read the mind of the wife and discovers that she is responsible for killing the husband. Three, she learns to harness her skills to protect herself and defend herself and to exact information. At the start, she really did not enjoy doing it but then slowly she begins to see what makes her unique and what makes her abilities important to the Justice Department. Speaking of which, it was also interesting that in the entire film, Anderson’s character hardly wore a helmet. This was best explained because her psionic powers are limited by the helmet. If you ask me, that’s just another excuse to make her face visually appealing and standing out in the midst of all the chaos of the film. Then again, even in the comic books, Anderson of the Psi Division really did wear her hair long for everyone to see.
Storyline wise, there is really nothing new that the movie is offering. Then again, there is really relatively nothing new under the sun. Many of the stories we are reading are just renditions of old ones with new faces, possibly new twists to an old concept. So the concept of policemen becoming the juries and the judges and the law of the town is nothing new. But what makes DREDD appealing is the mindless violence. So watch it for the great special effects, great action scenes and the battle of good versus evil.