Karl Urban stars as Judge Dredd in DREDD 3D, a film directed by Pete Travis. Photo credit: Joe Alblas.
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Also Known As: Dredd 3D
Opened: 09/21/2012 Wide
|AMC Empire 25||09/21/2012 - 10/18/2012||28 days|
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Trailer: Click for trailer
Genre: Futuristic Sci-Fi Action
Rated: R for for strong bloody violence, language, drug use and some sexual content.
Judgment Is Coming
"800 million people living in the ruin of the old world. Only one thing fighting for order in the chaos: the men and women of the Hall of Justice." -- Judge Dredd
The future America is an irradiated waste land. On its East Coast, running from Boston to Washington DC, lies Mega City One -- a vast, violent metropolis where criminals rule the chaotic streets. The only force of order lies with the urban cops called "Judges" who possess the combined powers of judge, jury and instant executioner. Known and feared throughout the city, Dredd (Karl Urban) is the ultimate Judge, challenged with ridding the city of its latest scourge -- a dangerous drug epidemic that has users of "Slo-Mo" experiencing reality at a fraction of its normal speed.
During a routine day on the job, Dredd is assigned to train and evaluate Cassandra Anderson (Olivia Thirlby), a rookie with powerful psychic abilities thanks to a genetic mutation. A heinous crime calls them to a neighborhood where fellow Judges rarely dare to venture -- a 200 story vertical slum controlled by prostitute turned drug lord Ma-Ma (Lena Headey) and her ruthless clan. When they capture one of the clan's inner circle, Ma-Ma overtakes the compound's control center and wages a dirty, vicious war against the Judges that proves she will stop at nothing to protect her empire. With the body count climbing and no way out, Dredd and Anderson must confront the odds and engage in the relentless battle for their survival.
The endlessly inventive mind of screenwriter Alex Garland and director Pete Travis bring DREDD to life as a futuristic neo-noir action film. Filmed in 3D with stunning slow motion photography sequences, the film returns the celebrated character to the dark, visceral incarnation from John Wagner and Carlos Ezquerra's revered comic strip. Lionsgate and Reliance Entertainment present in association with IM Global a DNA Films production.
About the Film
The future. America is an irradiated wasteland. On its East Coast, running from Boston to Washington DC, lies Mega City One, a teeming, ultraviolent metropolis where over 400 million citizens live in perpetual fear. The only justice waged on these mean streets is imposed by The Judges -- law enforcers, jurors and executioners rolled into one. The epitome of these Judges is Dredd (KARL URBAN), and today he has a mission: road test the rookie Judge Cassandra Anderson (OLIVA THIRLBY), a genetic mutant with powerful psychic abilities.
It is to be a training day. But it becomes one like no other when they are called to the nefarious Peach Trees mega-block, the 200-story vertical slum run by the pitiless Ma-Ma and her crime empire -- who are spreading rampant addiction to Slo-Mo, a wild new designer drug that cuts reality to a fraction of its normal speed. When Ma-Ma (LENA HEADEY) puts the maze-like building on lockdown and orders her clan to hunt the judges to the death, the result is a relentless, head-spinning fight for survival.
Based on the future-shock lawman from the revered British comic series, comes a ferociously faithful vision of the apocalyptic world of Judge Dredd and his signature brand of knockdown justice. The inventive screenwriter Alex Garland (28 DAYS LATER, SUNSHINE, THE BEACH) and director Pete Travis bring DREDD 3D to life as a neo-noir action film that pulls no punches. The film stays true to the hard-core, blistering action and dark sci-fi dystopia of John Wagner and Carlos Ezquerra's original comic, while featuring immersive 3D cinematography and stunning slow motion sequences that bring a chillingly dangerous future to life.
Lionsgate and Reliance Entertainment present in association with IM Global a DNA Films production of DREDD 3D. The film is directed by Pete Travis from a screenplay by Alex Garland, based on the comic book created by John Wagner and Carlos Ezquerra. The producers are Andrew Macdonald, Allon Reich, and Alex Garland. The executive producers are Deepak Nayar, Stuart Ford and Adi Shankar. Jason Kingsley and Chris Kingsley produced on behalf of Rebellion.
World of Dredd
In 1977, the British graphic novel series 2000 A.D. introduced a badass cop like no other. He came from a shockingly harsh future. A future where crime raged so out-of-control that the divisions between police, juries and justices were utterly obliterated. There were now only men and women known as "Judges" -- granted the power to investigate crimes, use extreme force and mercilessly execute the lawless wherever and whenever they could be seized.
At the top of their ranks was Judge Dredd, the very best lawman in a world where rational laws no longer exist. Inspired by an intoxicating mix of gritty sci-fi, take-no-prisoners pulp and hard-boiled crime stories, Dredd was part renegade cop, part one-man legal system, and as fierce and unrelenting as the war-ravaged, anarchic mega-city he and his fellow Judges patrol.
Millions found the series compulsive, high-voltage reading, and one of those drawn in by Dredd as a boy was screenwriter and novelist Alex Garland, lured both by its fast, furious action and its wild vision of a future gone wrong. Garland has always had a love of bold, graphic storytelling, which has come to the fore in his hyper-intense screenplays for such films as 28 DAYS LATER, SUNSHINE and NEVER LET ME GO. Now, he imagined seeing the story of Dredd and the world of Mega City One come to the screen with all the thrill-packed excitement he'd discovered in it as a young man -- and with its original pitch-black tone intact.
"I grew up reading Judge Dredd. The incredible writers and artists of 2000 A.D. were formative influences on me," says Garland. "My hope was to create a screen adaptation that would bring out all the story's adrenaline and realism, and all the scale and spectacle of Mega City One -- something hard-core and edgy."
Most of all Garland wanted to translate the spirit of what he had seen popping off the pages of the graphic novels -- a punchy, unflinching universe of desperate characters, alarmingly plausible futuristic scenarios and sheer visual audacity -- into a 21st Century moviegoing experience.
Reteaming with DNA Films producers Andrew Macdonald and Allon Reich, who last worked with Garland on the sci-fi thrillers SUNSHINE and NEVER LET ME GO, it looked like Garland might finally get his chance to do justice to the infamous judge.
Macdonald and Reich began tracking the rights through an intricate maze as Garland started penning drafts of the screenplay, spelunking into the shadowy depths of Dredd's universe. Once the rights were settled, there was only one major but absolutely essential hurdle left: getting the character's original creators, writer John Wagner and artist Carlos Ezquerra, to bless their approach.
"It was absolutely vital to us to get the support of the person whose imagination Judge Dredd first came out of and that was John Wagner," explains Macdonald.
When Wagner teamed up with Ezquerra in 1976, England was in the midst of a new wave of authoritarianism under steely Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, which sparked the idea of penning the ultimate tale of a no-holds-barred, over-the-top cop of the future. They had no idea where it would lead. And they certainly could not have predicted that Dredd would become a supremely influential graphic novel creation, a man who stood on the razor's edge between hero and anti-hero, at once bone-chillingly deadly and the last hope of a desperate city overrun with villainy.
For Wagner the unending fascination with Judge Dredd lies partly in the irony that he uses the most unchecked and extreme tactics while meting out much-needed justice. The comic series never whitewashed that. "He's a real badass cop and in some respects you are all for what he's doing and at the same time you think: 'Thank God someone like him doesn't exist today,'" observes Wagner. "But Dredd would never see himself as villainous. He believes he's upright and righteous. At the same time, he is certainly not someone you would want on the streets looking for you."
Decades after Wagner and Ezquerra had imagined him, it seemed that cinematic technology had caught up with the ability to make Judge Dredd's world what they felt it should be: harrowingly real. After meeting with Garland, Macdonald and Reich for the first time, Wagner was convinced they not only would be true to the story, but had the right stuff to make something fresh and believable for a new generation.
"After I met up with them, I thought to myself 'these guys are genuinely serious,'" he recalls. "I was impressed by their honesty and the fact that they cared enough to get me involved at such an early stage meant a lot to me. I knew they wanted to make the Judge Dredd I know."
Once Wagner came on board, Garland breathed a sigh of relief. "If at that first meeting John had said 'I just don't want this film, and Dredd is a comic book character and that's where he should stay,' I think we would have walked away and said fair enough. But I knew Dredd. I read him my whole life and I felt confident we would be able to do this."
Working with Wagner through several story-lines, Garland ultimately stripped his screenplay concept back to the uncompromising basics. He honed in on just one "day in the life" of Judge Dredd -- albeit a day that becomes an incredible siege battle in a sprawling high-rise, as he and his rookie partner pursue the female crime lord Ma-Ma and her signature addictive drug Slo-Mo, which is sweeping the city.
Producer Allon Reich believes the meeting of minds between Garland and Wagner resulted in a thrillingly contemporary take on Dredd. "Alex is a big comic book fan, he grew up with Dredd and was already immersed in the world of Mega City One. When he combined that with his own imagination and creative vision, it put a distinctive stamp on this movie," he says.
When Wagner read Garland's final script, he was fully won over: "Alex's script is faithful to the original concept that made Judge Dredd a favorite badass hero. It's a sleigh-ride through the dark underbelly of a vast future city," he summarizes.
Another fan of Garland's taut, adrenaline-soaked approach was director Pete Travis, who first came to attention with the award-winning docudrama OMAGH and went on to direct the assassination thriller VANTAGE POINT. "I read Alex's script and it blew me away," he says. "If you live in a city, violence frightens you, and DREDD is set in a future that is not so far from ours. I think he has managed to fashion a character anyone can really grab hold of."
DNA was especially gratified to join up on DREDD with Lionsgate, a company known for boldly marketing the boldest of action films. "We wanted to make a film that would be tough and grown up," sums up Macdonald. "Now, we had a great character, a great script and a great team to make that happen."