Zaki Hasan

Zaki Hasan
Newark, California, USA
September 25
Co-author of GEEK WISDOM, Writer, Professor of Communication & Media, Co-founder of You can e-mail him at


Editor’s Pick
JUNE 21, 2012 3:03PM

Judging the First Dredd Trailer

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Spider-Man and Batman may be getting ready to attack your local multiplexes very shortly, but that doesn't mean we should forget about Judge Dredd, no less iconic a comic book hero (well, in England, anyway). With the futuristic lawman returning to the big screen this September in Lionsgate's Dredd, we're starting to get the promo push now. I showed you the poster for the Karl Urban starrer last week, and now there's the first trailer, which gives a sense of the film's scope, style, and tone. Catch the vid after the jump, then meet me on the other side for my take.

Things I like: Urban as Dredd, Urban as Dredd, Urban as Dredd. Seeing as how the character was envisioned by creators John Wagner and Carlos Ezquerra as a post-apocalyptic Dirty Harry, Urban's raspy, Clint Eastwood impression works fine for me. Things I like less: For being in the middle of a post-apocalyptic wasteland, Dredd's hometown of Mega-City One looks a little "normal" for my tastes, with not nearly the amount of urban decay one would expect. Here, it looks like Old Detroit in RoboCop, which is bad, but not bad enough.

That single, solitary pseudo-qualm notwithstanding, this does seem like a pretty effective translation of the character to the big screen, and I certainly hope it paves the way for a character whose appeal has always been fairly fringey to break out into the mainstream. That said, I also don't harbor any illusions about how well it's going to do. Globally, probably fine. Stateside, it'll tank. In fact, my guess is that it'll be lucky if it even manages to match the box office take from the last time they tried 'porting Dredd over to the screen:

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I loved the first film version of Judge Dredd. In the decade before it was made I must have read over 400 "2000 AD" comics, and I thought that Sylvester Stallone was well suited to the role of a mostly humourless hard guy for the law. But it did try and get too much in the film, and was clearly setting up for a sequel where the escaped clones became Judge Death, et al. The sequel never came, so I am looking forward for what this new version could be. Let's hope it's NOT another "re-imagining" like Burton's Planet of the Apes was.
One day, years ago, I walked out of two movies in one night. I went to see Clueless because someone indicated it might be funny. After tolerating a crappy 60's sitcom for thirty minutes, I walked across to another theater to see Judge Dredd. It was the scene with Stallone, as Dredd, talking to his mentor in some kind of slime pit. I only lasted five minutes in that one.

I finally saw the whole film on a cable channel. Didn't help. Not only was it a film more cynical than the original RoboCop, it didn't even have any leavening humor. It seemed to me to be Brit-hate of America, even though it starred a reputed American. I can't imagine this attempt to reintroduce this dark a tale will do any good.
That whole scene in the trailer where Dredd and his sidekicks are trapped in a building controlled by a drug lord was stolen right from that fine Malaysian film The Raid: Redemption. Go see that movie -- it's the best action film put out in years. Judge Dredd -- well after that Stallone mess I could leave this movie alone although I will probably get around to seeing it.
Well, DREDD was written and greenlit before THE RAID, so I'd say it's just a happy coincidence.