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May 19, 2013
Dredd 3D Blu-Ray Review
Cinema Release Blu-Ray Release Distributor Director
21/9/2012 (USA)20/3/2013IconPete Travis
Video Codec Sound Format OFLC Rating Star(s)
AVC MPEG-4DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1MA15+Karl Urban

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Karl Urban plays Judge Dredd.

One of the most disappointing aspects, for us, about 2012 cinema in Australia was when Dredd 3D bypassed Australian theatres and we had to wait for this Blu-Ray release. Sure the film failed to ignite the box office in America as the filmmakers would have hoped, but still, we've seen a lot worse performing, and quality, films being released here.

The future. America is an irradiated wasteland. On its East Coast, running from Boston to Washington DC lies Mega City One a vast, violent metropolis of over 400 million citizens living in perpetual fear. The only ones attempting to impose order in the urban chaos are The Judges. Law enforcers, juries, judges and executioners rolled into one. The epitome of these Judges is Dredd. The Chief Judge gives Dredd a mission. To road test a rookie Judge, the powerful psychic Cassandra Anderson. It is to be a training day. The Judges head for a seemingly routine homicide in the notorious Peach Trees mega-block - a 200 story vertical slum run by the pitiless Ma-Ma clan. When the Judges attempt to arrest one of Ma-Ma's chief henchmen, Ma-Ma shuts down the entire building and orders her clan to hunt the judges down. Our two judges are now caught in a vicious and relentless fight for survival.

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Lena Headey plays drug lord Ma-Ma in Dredd.
The film really revolves around three main characters. Judge Dredd is played by Karl Urban (Star Trek), while his offsider, Judge Anderson is played by Olivia Thirlby (Juno). Interestingly the drug lord Ma-Ma is played by Lena Headey (Game of Thrones), and she puts in a wickedly psychotic turn but is superbly portrayed.

As an action film Dredd contains plenty of non-stop action throughout while the actual plot is somewhat thin. A druglord controls a building and law enforcement need to battle to reach said druglord. There's little else to the plot really, Judge Dredd has a rookie along for the ride, and, well, that's pretty much it. Ultimately I expected the storline to branch out a little more to explore more of the 2000 AD universe. Perhaps if they ever make a sequel.

Dredd isn't a film for the feint of heart, there's plenty of blood and gore here, but just as we had fun with the very similar film The Raid we can't help but admire filmmakers that have the balls to provide such violently intense films. Sadly the fact of the matter is that with a poor box office gross (and in part this could be attributed to the studio declining cinema requests to show the film in 2D) it's unlikely we'll see the studio jumping to fund a sequel, but hopefully strong word of mouth will see this film (deservedly) boom on home video. One thing is certain though, action fans should check this film out.

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Olivia Thirlby in the 2012 film, Dredd.
There's no doubt that, in 2D or 3D form, Dredd is a visually striking film with some wonderful visual effects, and production values that tie into the 2000AD comics perfectly. If you're a fan of the comic books, forget the Sylvester Stallone effort from almost two decades ago, and enjoy this much more accurate, much more violent, and much more entertaining film.

Dredd wasn't the biggest budgeted film ever seen - in fact at $US45 million it's one of the "cheaper" action films where most have a budget above $US100 million, and often approaching $US200 million. The AVC MPEG-4 transfer on Blu-Ray is fantastic with a wonderful level of detail retained in the many darker scenes.

Dredd is also one of the best films we've ever seen in 3D with some visually stunning sequences, in particular the some of the action, but also when the film turns into the slow motion drug taking sequences. If you have a 3DTV then this is a release well worth considering spending a few dollars more to get the 3D version, although at over $50 at the moment it's still a little pricey and $11 more than the 2D version.

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It's rated MA15+ and for pretty good reason.
Dredd is presented on Blu-Ray with a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track which provides a lively sound field with plenty of deep bass to provide a rumble throughout the room. Dialogue, even with Dredd's helmet on (which Karl Urban never takes off during the film by the way), is always clear while the music is pretty upbeat and lively. As an action film there is plenty of gunfire, and it sounds fantastic too. There is very little to complain about with Dredd 3D sonically.

The Blu-Ray disc contains only a single subtitle track too which is English Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired and from our samples at various points in the film we didn't notice any major issues.

The Dredd 3D disc starts with several trailers including the pretty cool looking The Dinosaur Project (2:03), the very haunting looking Sinister (2:25), and the critically acclaimed Zero Dark Thirty (2:07). The disc contains several other extras worth your time too...

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Dredd is certainly a violent film...
Mega-City Masters: 35 Years of Judge Dredd (14:27/HD): This featurette looks at the creation of the Judge Dredd comic book in the 1970s and how the British based comic has gained popularity over the years.

Day of Chaos: The Visual Effects of Dredd 3D (15:21/HD): This is a pretty decent look at the numerous visual effects for the feature film and transferring the visuals from the comic books, to concept art to the final visual effects and details about filming in 3D. There's quite a bit of detail here and it's definitely worth your time.

2000AD The Origins (3:24/HD): A short EPK styled promo piece which looks at the comic book inspirations for the feature film.

Dredd (1:53/HD): No, it's not the feature film but rather another short EPK styled promo piece.

Dredd's Gear (2:31/HD): Another short piece which looks at the uniform for Judge Dredd.

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There's plenty of guns in Dredd 3D!
The Third Dimension (1:59/HD): The filmmakers offer some insight into filming in 3D and how it draws people into the film.

Welcome to Peach Trees (2:33/HD): Another EPK this time focusing on the massive megablock featured in the film.

Slo-Mo (14:27/HD): The final featurette looks at the extreme slow motion featured in the film.

Dredd, in either 2D or 3D form, is a very entertaining movie that adheres to the 2000 AD comic books much more than the rather dire Stallone film from 1995. The transfer is solid and there's a couple of worthwhile extras on the disc as well. Our only minor niggle is the very high price of the 3D disc in Australia (it's currently over $50 at JB Hi-Fi), but when it comes down to a more "normal" price it's worth picking up.

Review By: Dave Warner


Note: All images in this article are Copyrightę Icon. They are only indicative of the movie and not sourced from the vastly superior Blu-Ray disc format.