I had a chance to check out “Dredd” last night, which is sort of a re-imagining of the 1995 Sly Stallone flick “Judge Dredd”. The story lines are completely different between the two movies and I’m not familiar with the comic books, so I’m not sure if this follows one of those from the books, but from what I’ve gathered on wikipedia, it looks like a totally new story. The movie itself wasn’t bad at all. It’s a pretty simple movie, there’s a lot of action, not much character development, but did I mention there’s a ton of action?
As the title of this post indicates, the story line was very similar to that of “The Raid” (or for those in the US, “The Raid: Redemption”). Dredd is called to a building that houses a druglord named Ma-Ma who has been supplying the rest of the city with a new drug called Slo-Mo, which tricks the brain in to thinking that everything around you is moving in slow motion. This plot device is actually pretty smart, as it lends itself to some really cool slow motion sequences akin to The Matrix, without seeming forced. There’s nothing like seeing a bullet ripping through someone’s cheek in slow motion. But slow motion aside, I couldn’t help but think that the movie seemed familiar… The idea that the drug lord is living in the top of the building and commands the rest of the residents to take out the Judges as they try to make their way to her, is pretty much the same plot as “The Raid”. Now I know the movies came out at different times, and I actually just read that the first draft of Dredd was written while Garland was finishing up “Sunshine”, but that first draft was completely different. The movie wasn’t even announced until 2008 and by that point the script had gone in a totally different direction, which is what we end up with on screen. I know “The Raid” was released in 2011, but I really have no idea if the script was pitched around Hollywood before that, but it’s hard to deny the similarities between the two movies.
I’m not saying that there’s anything wrong with it, as I actually enjoyed “Dredd” more than I thought I would, but it just seems too coincidental. I know I’m probably splitting hairs here, just as I did with “Battle Royale” and “The Hunger Games”, which are actually quite different when you see/read both of them, but it’s hard not to see the similarities. I loved “The Raid” though, so to get to see a movie with a similar plot line and tons of action was actually a treat and watching “Dredd” made me want to go back and watch “The Raid” again, so I may have just set myself up in a never ending circle of movie watching…
So if you get a chance, don’t just write “Dredd” off as another shitty attempt to reboot a franchise nobody wanted rebooted, it’s actually a lot of fun and a solid action flick.