Judge Dredd Review

This review is of the edited TV-14 version of the film. All thoughts below should be addressed as such as a review of the unedited version would be more negative

Judge Dredd always had a pretty interesting setting. To an extent it’s sort of like what would happen if Gotham City didn’t have Batman and had to exist that way for another 50-100 years. By the time we did get a true crime fighter then the place would probably be too far gone to actually be saved. That’s the kind of environment the film takes place in and it actually works rather well. The film does a really good job on the effects.

The movie starts by showing us another gang war in the streets. Fergie got roped into this by being in the wrong place at the wrong time. So when Judge Dredd shows up and takes everyone down, Fergie is sent off to jail as well. See, there’s no court system or anything like that (Unless you are a Judge) so if you’re taken in by the law that’s game over. Gone are all of those legal establishments. In this distant future, the Judges serve as jury and executioner. What they say will go and so the world is perpetually unhappy and in a lot of inner wars.

To really illustrate the kind of place this is, the first scene has everyone using giant blasters. Given how unsurprised everyone is, you also see how this is a fairly regular occurrence. You’re either able to try and stay out of the spotlight or you better have good gun skills because it’s game over otherwise. There’s an opening message at the beginning of the film that explains the lore a bit as well.

Then you have the city backdrop which is really nice. Mix that in with the cool sci-fi guns that are coded to your DNA and the effects team should definitely be given a thumbs up here. It’s all aged rather well and the Judge costumes are also on point. I dare say that it will be very difficult for the next films to top them here. They’re really on point and my only complaint is that they aren’t used very often.

It’s what I call the “Adam West” syndrome where you have a great concept but don’t actually use it for most of the film. This came into being with how they made two animated Adam West films and in one film Batman turned evil while I think Robin turned evil in the other one. As a result you really didn’t get to have the fun dynamic/type of story you were hoping for. It’s like this with Judge Dredd as well. It’s a great kind of adventure story to see him patrolling the streets and taking down criminals but after the first chunk of the film that is gone forever.

This is due in part to the main plot. See, the general plot of Judge Dredd is that he has been framed. Someone is using his weapons and since they are tied to DNA that means he must be the one who has been murdering people and committing crimes. Dredd believes in the law 100% so he’s also not really sure how to defend himself. A good chunk of the film is Dredd learning that maybe the law isn’t infallible and trying to work his way back into the city.

So the second half is still a pretty fun adventure but it isn’t really “Judge Dredd” the way that the first chunk was. I dare say that the film would have risen up to great status if it had just stayed like the opening bit. Ah well, maybe next time. The action stays solid in both halves although you do feel like the other Judges should be a little stronger.

Basically if you aren’t Judge Dredd then you won’t be doing very well here at all. We see around 100 Judges get destroyed by sneak attacks, bombs, and a giant robot. Given how Dredd is able to handle all of these guys you would just expect a little better. The film does warn you early on that some of these guys are weak though with how the cadet goes down.

So Dredd’s a great main character. He’s definitely all about the law even if he is rather strict with it. The guy was practically made for the job and takes it extremely seriously. Even when he is asked to go back to school the guy assumes it’s for some more hand to hand skills. He’s eager and that’s what you want to see in a main character. I definitely had no complaints.

Then you have Barbara who is the main heroine here. She’s a Judge as well and can certainly fight better than most of the others. I’d give her a thumbs up as well. She’s someone that Dredd could actually count on and that’s big in this kind of world. She did her best in the trial and gets a lot of good moments. The cast is fairly small so it’s important that the big characters did well.

Then you have Fergie who is the main comic relief. He gets a lot of good lines as well. The guy’s at his best when he’s rubbing the situation in to Dredd since he got captured early on. Fergie is not the kind of guy to drop a grudge, I can definitely tell you that. It gets a little cheesy when he actually defeats an opponent later on though so I always say you should keep comic relief characters away from the actual battling. Still, he served his role well enough.

Finally you have the main villain Rico. He’s the only one I wasn’t sold on. I think it’s in part because the guy relies on a ton of luck in order to win his battles. Without things going perfectly he should have lost early on. I find it hard to believe that he was even able to escape prison. That whole sequence will leave you shaking your head. It’s a good thing one of the villainesses liked him to get some babies ready for the experiments or that would have been another hurdle.

All of the villains seem to trust Rico despite the fact that he is completely insane. It just makes you wonder why. The worst is the villainous judge who was on board with the plan from the start and directly caused the deaths of 100+ judges. At the last second he suddenly wants to have some second thoughts. Cmon now, Rico was definitely not going to allow that to happen and this guy should have known that.

The only other decent judge was Judge Fargo and even he was a little too quick to believe in Dredd’s guilt. The guy needed to stand by his pupil through thick and thin. There are also a few random bounty hunters and thugs running around but these are all of the important characters to make note of. The rest are there to flesh things out of course.

Overall, The writing is on point with the film and with the fast pacing it is over in the blink of an eye. There are definitely some violent moments when people get blown apart but surprisingly it’s quite a bit more mild than you might have expected going in. Get ready for one character to go down shockingly quick after they show up near the end though. It’s almost funny in an ironic kind of sense since you were expecting big things here. If you want to check out a classic comic book film with some good action and adventure then I would recommend checking this one out. It’s aged pretty well.

Overall 7/10

Mathias Lund-Helgesen vs Judge Dredd

This is a tribute to the Judge Dredd film. Dredd actually looked consistently good in this film. He may have ultimately been taken down by the corrupt laws at one point but he always got back up. In a fair fight he would easily crush Mathias in an instant. This wouldn’t even be much of a fight as one blast from his Shotgun should definitely do the trick. That will be game over. Judge Dredd wins.

Color Kid vs Judge Dredd

Suggested by Destroyer The Color Kid is back but Judge Dredd is not the kind of guy who holds back for any opponent. It doesn’t matter if the fighter is a kid like this guy or if he is a hardened fighter. Dredd’s going to go in and make this a quick fight either way. The Color Kid just wasn’t ready for this level of power. Judge Dredd wins.

Flaming Carrot vs Judge Dredd

Suggested by Destroyer The Flaming Carrot has returned but I don’t think he will be doing a whole lot here. Judge Dredd has some pretty powerful guns at his disposal and he is definitely not afraid of using them. The Carrot can try to avoid the blasts, but ultimately he will get tagged and then that will be game over for him. Judge Dredd wins.

Larry Appleton vs Judge Dredd

Larry Appleton is never one to stay down for long and now he’s going to get to face off against the legendary Judge Dredd! Judge Dredd is always serious about his adventures and he doesn’t hold back against any foe. That’s bad news for Larry since it means that he won’t even get a chance to comb his hair. The match will already be over by that point. Judge Dredd wins.

Howard Aguello vs Judge Dredd

Howard Aguello is an example of a common criminal and he’s the type of guy that Judge Dredd would go after in a heartbeat. It’s nothing personal of course, but Judge Dredd has sworn to uphold the law at any cost. Merely stepping onto the street will make you lose a few hundred thousand dollars so imagine the penalty for drawing a gun on the Judge? Either way, this will be a very brief bout. Judge Dredd wins.

Judge Dredd The Complete Case Files 01 Review

Judge Dredd is a fairly big name in the comic world, but I have to say that I was never familiar with the character so I can’t say that I was impressed. He was just another variation of Batman right? This collection showed me that Judge Dredd is definitely a legitimate character and he’s very well written. He definitely shares some traits with Batman, but his heavy usage of the classic handgun is already one big difference. This is a great way to become a fan of the character and get started on the franchise!

This collection brings together dozens and dozens of Judge Dredd issues. Maybe even 100+! This is because most of the Judge Dredd comics were only 2-4 pages back in the day so the adventures were very quick. As you go deeper and deeper into the book, you can see how the issues started to get longer and longer. One thing is for certain, continuity was always important to the series. Past issues are constantly references and no character development is lost. These issues are very tightly connected so it makes for a great read in this collection form.

The setting for the story is that everything is taking place in the future. The Earth has been reduced to three cities and Judge Dredd is stationed on Mega City 1. There are 800 million civilians living there and most (if not all) of them are criminals. Luckily, the city is kept safe by an organization of judges who fight to keep the peace. They have been granted virtually unlimited power to deal with criminals and Judge Dredd is known as the best of the best. This reputation is well deserved as Judge Dredd continues to prove why he is the best throughout the collection.

The first big arc in my opinion is the one about Call Me Kenneth. He is a robot who breaks free from the current robot code that no robot may hurt a man and they must obey humans no matter what. The humans are pretty smug about this and they love to tell the robot to blow themselves up or melt themselves. Call Me Kenneth won’t have any of that and he quickly frees many other robots from this code. It becomes a full scale war between the Judges and the Robots as things escalate quickly. The battle is no joke as thousands of civilians perish and over 100 Judges as well. It’s safe to say that this was the toughest battle that Judge Dredd and the other heroes had to face. I was also surprised at how many casualties were involved and they don’t lessen as the comics continue. The villains definitely aren’t playing around here.

Call Me Kenneth is a pretty good villain and one can mildly sympathize with him. You can’t really sympathize with his actions by the end, but he does have a point that robots should have freedom. Very few do and most of them are essentially treated like slaves. Unfortunately, Call Me Kenneth goes too far when he enslaves his own robots as well. It basically makes the whole thing pointless if you think about it. So, that really hurt his character development and he wasn’t quite as likable after that. I do like his design though and he made for a powerful enemy.

Another reoccurring villain is Whitey. He’s the very first villain to appear in the collection and he takes out a Judge with ease. Judge Dredd makes short work out of him, but Whitey got his 5 seconds of fame. He later appears again when he breaks out of jail, but it’s a very short escape since Judge Dredd is always on the job. (The man doesn’t even take Christmas breaks!) He was a pretty interesting villain since he stands for the one shot villain who one would expect to never appear again, but he didn’t stay down for the count. I also find the name to be a little humorous and I may have him battle on this site’s fight section soon.

Judge Dredd is a great main character and he’s much better than I could have guessed. He does destroy many of his foes, but this is typically by accident. Usually, he shoots his enemies, but he doesn’t aim at any of their vitals so they get to limp off with dignity as they’re sent into prison. He’s as serious about crime as Chase is from Transformers Rescuebots and I’ll admit that I read all of his lines in that voice. Judge Dredd is portrayed as an expert in the collection and that never really fades. Throughout all of the adventures, he’s only defeated a handful of times. He typically defeats his opponents with ease or with a pretty great plan at the ready.

Judge Dredd’s passion for the law is a great advantage to have over the common miscreants, but it can also be a dangerous weakness. An example of this is when he allows a few criminals to run amok because he had to wait for a new badge. Knowing that it is illegal for an average citizen to take the law into his own hands, Judge Dredd had to wait until he was reinstated. He also quit when the other Judges would not deactivate the various robots. They were too confident that they would never turn evil…right before the war started. Judge Dredd’s punishments for crime are pretty serious as he fines someone over 200000 credits just for stepping on the curb. It is a crime though so you are supposed to do the time…

Judge Dredd may have one other weakness and that’s his selection of friends. He’s a Judge so he’s as emotional as stone, but he did allow a few to get close to him. One was his best friend at the academy, but I forgot his name. Unfortunately, the friend became corrupted and he started to murder people while disguised as a mutant. Dredd was forced to destroy him and strike his name from the school’s honor roll. Deja Vu occurred when Dredd’s cloned twin arrived and Dredd quickly mowed him down as well. Luckily, Dredd did make one really good friend although he’ll never admit it.

Walter is Judge Dredd’s best friend and it means a lot to the robot. Walter is the only robot who has been granted freedom I believe, but he doesn’t care for it. He just wants to be with Dredd and he even gives him presents at Christmas. Walter definitely gives the Judge a lot of trouble since he’s certainly not one of the stronger robots out there, but he gets the job done. Without Walter, Judge Dredd’s social life would truly be nonexistent. He does have a cleaning lady who is around to help from time to time, but her role is incredibly small and she’s basically written out of the series once Walter appears.

Half of the collection is spent on Mega City 1, but the scenery changes when Dredd is assigned to the Moon. It makes for an interesting change of pace. I definitely prefer Mega City 1, but Judge Dredd’s new uniform is pretty cool. It’s also good to see him slap the local authorities into shape as he began to uphold the law once again. The Moon Saga had many plots including illegal super races and an evil Santa Clause.

Once Judge Dredd made it back to Earth, he had to deal with the ultimate car…Elvis! Elvis manages to snap away from his coding when it got damaged and he quickly went the Call Me Kenneth route as he woke up many other cars to the realization that destroying humans was fun. The Judges now had to deal with another war, but this one was likely not as lethal to the local civilians. Elvis isn’t quite as smart as Call Me Kenneth, but he does get the jump on Judge Dredd when he invades the latter’s home. He uses this as a shield against the authority and it’s a pretty bold plan. Can the authorities put him in his place?

The art for the collection is in black and white as per the norm, but it definitely works very well for this series. Everything is pretty clear so you can tell what is going on and the only characters who can appear to be very similar at times are the judges. I don’t care for the book’s actual binding because there were a few times where it was impossible to make out a few words because they were exactly in the middle of the collection. You can always tell more or less what the characters are saying because it’s only a few words, but the words shouldn’t be so crunched up together.

The dialogue is one of the strong points in this collection. Just about every line from Judge Dredd tends to be pretty epic. He’s really focused on making sure that everyone acts in accordance with the law and it’s cool to hear the various laws of the future. The villains are also ready with old slang and new terms to combat the Judges verbally. It’s a good way to stall for time I suppose.

Overall, This was a pretty great start to the franchise. I can certainly see why Judge Dredd has a lot of fans and I can safely say that he’s a lot more likable than Robocop. Mega City 1 is certainly a rough place since there’s always someone out to get Judge Dredd, but that’s what makes the issues so interesting. The universe is built pretty well as there are already many plots that can be explored in the future. The other two Mega Cities, The mutants underground, the whole robots issue, etc. The cast is relatively small as well, but the main heroes are both likable. Walter grows on you as the issues go and you almost feel bad for him. (Maybe not always…) I hope that Call Me Kenneth and Whitey return soon since that would make for a fun rematch. I highly recommend this collection to any comic fan and it really has no weaknesses. You can finally meet one of the bigger comic book characters and find out what true justice is!

Overall 8/10

Judge Dredd vs Robocop

This is a pretty close fight between two enforcers of the law. Judge Dredd has his cool hoverbike, which is a powerful weapon for justice and he can use it to fire away at Robocop from a distance. To counter this, Robocop has an energy weapon of his own and he does have better physical stats than Dredd. In the end, his array of weapons ranging from an arm cannon to his missiles should grant Robocop victory. Robocop wins.

Original image by nootherthanme and the link to it is below.


Judge Dredd vs Bass

Judge Dredd is back and now he’s up against Bass. Bass is far too powerful to be defeated and with this win he rises up the blog yet again. Judge Dredd takes a loss, but one of these days he’ll be back and he’ll hopefully be back to pwn. Bass will be back as well. Bass wins.

Judge Dredd vs Ed

Judge Dredd is a pretty tough guy when he wants to be, but can he take on Ed!? Ed has been shown to be a pretty tough guy back in his day, but he could never take on Judge Dredd…..or could he!? I don’t think so. Judge Dredd takes the win and rises up the ranks. Judge Dredd wins.