This is a second-choice movie from beginning to end. First they got Danny Cannon,
with only one movie to his credit namely the Tarrantinoesque Young Americans (1993),
to direct it. _ARTIST_quentin_tarantino_(e) would have been the obvious choice
to bring the wild and anarchic British comic book to life. Then they got Stallone
to play the lawman of the future while Arnold Schwarzenegger has
been everybody's first choice. For one thing, Dredd is a huge figure, towering
above all the other characters in the comic books. Stallone, well, ahem. As one
wag put it, to get the effect of Stallone towering over everybody else, they got
hired some of the world's shortest actors - not to mention the petite Diane Lane
to play sidekick Judge Hershey!
The film is based on the British cult comic book in which a ruling elite of
law enforcers called Judges rule over an anarchic and overpopulated Mega City
One of the future. Regular readers took an instant dislike to the movie because
the celluloid Dredd does two things the comic strip Dredd would never have: fall
in love and remove his helmet (his face is never seen in the comics). Like screenwriter
Wiese says it is hard to sustain interest in a guy whose face remains masked throughout
an entire movie - and he's got a point.
These quibbles aside, Judge Dredd remains, forgive the pun, dreadful.
Whatever made the original comic book series interesting and vibrant has been
removed and all we are left is the motions: some nice Blade Runner (1982)-like
scenery and an impressive chase scene on hover bikes (albeit it pinched from Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983).)
Review by James O'Ehley from The
Sci-Fi Movie Page.