Tuesday, 11 September 2012

I read books without pictures and you think Two and a Half Men is funny... there's no chance.

Just back from watching Dredd 3D, and while it's a decent thriller, it's not a classic action flick, nor a great adaptation of the source material, though it is an effective and economic realisation of the main character even if it moves the goalposts to make Dredd more of an outright heroic figure, portraying as it does he and the Judge system as an overtaxed and reactive response to the collapse of society instead of the effective and omnipresent mechanism of oppression and containment it was in the comic until recently (it seems to have been rebooted to fall more in line with this movie version).  Here, the numbers are against Dredd, with crime so fantastically widespread that only 6 percent of that which is reported can be responded to - in this light, Dredd doesn't look very fascistic, he looks like he's an agent of the only viable authority struggling to rebuild and maintain society in difficult circumstances and doing his best in a losing battle against crime, and as such as a character and a narrative device loses a lot of the inherent commentary about a streamlined judicial process, which is a shame as Karl Urban gets it spot-on, he really does, as Dredd is a nothing character with no development, he just is.
The script - in my humble opinion - takes a couple of mis-steps, like when Anderson is kidnapped and we get the usual references to forced sexual acts and the film genuinely feels like it's derailed from this point, that it has meandered into extraneous plotlines about a drug lab and crooked judges, neither of which add a single thing to the story to the point both could have been excised entirely and it wouldn't have impacted the narrative, as one character takes a bullet to the gut in the drug lab sequence and yet it impairs them not one iota later, nor do they grab a fresh gun or ammunition from their fallen enemies during this same sequence to use in later scenes despite this being a plot point directly commented upon around this time in the film.
But these are niggles.  Niggles about a mid-budget action flick that does plenty right, particularly the mid-1970s aesthetic that I think would have benefited tremendously from a soundtrack by John Carpenter instead of the Skrillex-style stuff it has going on to compliment the plentiful music video slow motion.  I'd certainly give it a recommendation to anyone who could tolerate a thriller rather than go see Brave or Moonrise Kingdom on their next jaunt out to the picture house.

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