Dredd is an adaption of 2000 AD after the Sylvester Stallone film based on the same source material sullied the name. Judges are the 'protectors' of Mega City One and act as the police, judge, jury and executioner. Dredd is set in a large metropolis known as Mega City One and follows the 'character' Dredd as he trains and evaluates the new rookie Anderson who had failed the tests to become a judge. None the less Anderson is still being considered due to her aptitude as a psychic which is a direct result of her being a mutant. Dredd and Anderson respond to a triple homicide call which has them go to a neighborhood that is essentially a 200 story slum that unbeknown to the two judges is controlled by the Drug Lord Ma Ma. Soon after entering Ma Ma puts the slum into lock down which causes the entire slum to be blocked from the rest of the city by blast doors and has her entire gang is tasked with hunting down and killing the two judges.
For the most part this is where any pretense to a story ends and what follows is a barrage of action as the two Judges massacre their way to the gang leader Ma Ma. Their are of course some predictable story elements introduced as Ma Ma hires outside help, but they exist purely as a way to provide variation to the carnage on the screen. The degree to which this is successful in providing variation is also minimal as Dredd and Anderson simply continue to dispatch their foes in more or less the same way they would have had it simply been more of Ma Ma's gang members. I imagine the hiring of outside help was no doubt meant to create a sense of escalation to help make the film fell as if it was building towards the finale, but this simply was not an effective means of doing so. As a result whilst the action is reasonably well staged it never fells as it is building to a conclusion, rather the conclusion rather simply suddenly happens without any notable build to what is still an inventive and climatic finale.
Dredd is punctuated by several scenes whereby we see the world from a the perspective of a drug users on a drug called slow-mo. Slow-mo gives the user the impression that time is passing at an extremely slow rate. This is used as a means of providing some variation to the action as we see the carnage and destruction as bullets rip through the flesh of people in extremely slow motion. Whilst I usually find the use of slow motion to be unnecessary and overdone, it if nothing else certainly fells unique with how it is presented in Dredd and provides for a sadistic, disturbing and absolutely joyful way to watch said carnage. Their are also some unique sequences involving Andersons' psychic abilities which provides some much needed variation. This variation helps prevent the film from becoming an overwhelming slog as action scenes could very easily have begun to blur into one another.
As you may imagine characterisation is light. Their are several moments that hint at character growth but such notions are immediately disposed of the moment said scenes end and the carnage then promptly resumes. Likewise the story of the world is hinted at several times as mutants or the radiation fallout and similar are mentioned but no area is explored to any substantial degree which has the film relying entirely on its action to captivate the viewer. Thankfully the action and the brief glimpses of character are enough for an excellent entertaining action romp.
Dredd is beyond a substantial improvement over the 90's film based on the same source material, but that isn't saying anything beyond that it wasn't torturous to watch. None the less Dredd does have some brutally violent and entertaining action with enough variation to stop the film becoming a one note affair and comes recommended.