Dredd 3D Final Cut Score: 93%
Donning the iconic helmet this go around is Karl Urban ("Bones" of J.J. Abrams' Star Trek fame) and the Kiwi kills it. Displaying a single relentless gear, Urban possesses the physicality to pull off the role, demolishing anything that dare stand in his suited-up-for-war way.
And war it is as he and rookie partner/psychic Anderson (Olivia Thirlby of Juno in a star-making turn) roll-up on Peach Trees, a 200-story concrete den for drug activity smack dab in the heart of Mega-City One, the 800-million resident megalopolis that essentially encompasses the entirety of the East Coast.
The highrise housing complex controlled from the top down by Ma-Ma (Lena Headley of 300), a sadistic drug lord manufacturing the new high/low of choice, Slo-Mo. Smoked crack-style, the narcotic allows the dopehead to experience life at 1% the normal rate and provide moviegoers a nanosecond-by-nanosecond kaleidoscopic view of the brutal violence in glorious 3D.
Director Pete Travis (Vantage Point) and screenwriter Alex Garland (28 Days Later) unleash an onslaught of savagery: heads burn, skulls get smashed, thugs are skinned alive; it's adults-only entertainment, child protective services should be stationed outside theaters to cart off kids whose parents buy them a ticket to see the spectacle.
Judge Dredd going floor-by-floor, scorching every last bit of earth along his ascension, has a nearly identical feel to The Raid: Redemption, the insanely off the chain Indonesian gem from earlier this year. The plot and setting are eerily similar, the soundtrack equally so; it's as if the two films shared on-the-set secrets with one another. What I can say for certain: The two projects are able to co-exist on the same ferociously feral plane without either suffering from the other's existence.
Overflowing with an superabundance of testosterone, Dredd 3D is a viscerally barbaric thrill ride of grotesque-level bloodshed — a cinematic incendiary device. Here's to the rebirth of a franchise left for dead, re-emerging with a hellacious fury that wipes clean the sins of the past — and then some.
Dredd's raid and redemption indeed.