Dredd vs. Dredd

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Comparing Judge Dredd and Dredd 3-D

With the recent rash of Hollywood rehashes, reviewers like me have had to become a little more creative in the way we critique cinema. More often than not, I find myself using the original source material as reference points for what the current “reimagining” has offered me. In a move that will inevitably come back to haunt me, I’ve decided to try something a little different: a dual review pitting 1995’s Judge Dredd with the recent release Dredd 3-D. Hold on tight! This will be a battle for the ages, I’m sure.

1) The Best Judge Dredd

In 1995, the titular Judge Dredd was played by Sylvester Stallone and in 2012 by Karl Urban. Both guys did a decent enough job, even though they tackled the character very differently. In 1995, Stallone was still a viable action-movie hero. But, like all action stars in the ‘90s, he had a tough time adapting to the self-aware, moody, and often campy humour of mainstream films of the decade. That, and there’s rarely an instance where we don’t see Dredd’s face. Karl Urban, on the other hand, was the polar opposite Dredd. His bone-dry wit as he plays judge, jury, and executioner works wonderfully in this universe. We also never see Urban’s face behind his helmet, which, for me, was the most important part of the Dredd mythos. For remaining true to the original comics, the remake takes this contest.

Winner: Dredd 3-D

2) The Supporting Cast

Despite the best efforts of Rob Schneider to sabotage everything he appears in, Judge Dredd still takes this contest hands down. Armand Assante, Jürgen Prochnow, Max von Sydow, and Diane Lane are just a few folks you’ll find in this all-star supporting cast. For me, they were the film, not that barely intelligible shaved orangutan they got to play Dredd.

Winner: Judge Dredd

3) How’s Your Dystopia?

This one may not seem like a fair category, but it’s a necessary one. Filmmaking has come a long way between 1995 and 2012, but the imagination involved in creating the “Cursed Earth” in which Dredd lives and breathes. Judge Dredd featured a colourful and kind of exciting view of the year 2139. Dredd 3-D, on the other hand, created Bethesda’s Fallout 3. The point of dystopia is not to create the exact same pile of rubble as the other guy, but to imagine different ways the world came to an end. No two dystopian wastelands should look the exact same, and the copy and paste tool won’t earn you any points here, chummy.

Winner: Judge Dredd

4) Best Story

In Judge Dredd, Dredd is framed for murder with the DNA of the main villain, an ex-judge who…shares…Dredd’s DNA? Whatever. In Dredd 3-D, Dredd and a young trainee need to take down a street gang who deals the reality-altering drug SLO-MO. While the fun in charging Sly Stallone with something he’s been doing through decades of a film career, Dredd 3-D just handles itself better. Not only do you get cool visuals from the folks who are on SLO-MO, the hackneyed whodunit style murder case never sat well in Dredd’s universe.

Winner: Dredd 3-D

So there you have…a tie? Oh hell no. That just will not do.

5) BONUS CONTEST: You win if your movie didn’t have Rob Schneider in it.

Winner: Dredd 3-D

There we are: your winner, 2012’s Dredd 3-D. Though the current release is my preferred choice, 1995’s Judge Dredd has some very redeeming qualities about it, too. Go see Dredd-3D if you’re looking for some good ol’ fashioned splatter violence and cool effects, then go torrent Judge Dredd. Pardon me, go legally view it somehow because copyright infringement is bad and things or something like that.

Kyle Leitch
A&C Writer

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