Film4: PREMIERE Saturday 1 August, 10.40pm
Karl Urban is charisma-free Judge Dredd, dishing out justice with extreme prejudice in a Mega City One highrise. It’s overkill on all levels. Filmed in South Africa, it’s some improvement on Sylvester Stallone’s dismal mid-90s flop, but still a fairly mediocre exercise in pulpy comic-book mayhem. Basically, it’s the fascist version of Paul Verhoeven’s satirical RoboCop and looks more like the video-game Grand Theft Auto than a real movie. The drug of choice is called Slow-Mo, easy enough to replicate in visual terms. The graphic effects of violence, though – those they had to work at. Writer Alex Garland also scripted Danny Boyle’s Sunshine and 28 Days Later, so a little more nuance might’ve been expected. (He’s since turned director himself with the rather more thoughtful sci-fi drama Ex Machina). Aside from its own built-in faults, Dredd’s major stumbling block was coming out so soon after the virtually identically plotted Indonesian action hit The Raid. The intense French horror flick The Horde was also a much more thrilling tower-block movie than Dredd.