A Judge Dredd movie commentary courtesy of Orlok

From: (title unknown)

written by Orlok

So, what did I know of this film before I started? Apparently the Coen brothers, Peter Hewitt, Renny Harlin and Richard Donner all turned down this film. Good move on their parts.

Richey Edwards and his crew had had penned a song for the film. Richey vanished, probably leaping off a bridge, before the film came out so the song was dropped. Again, really good move. Not the suicide bit, but you know what I mean…

Joe Pesci turned down the role of Fergie.

Christopher Walken turned down the role of Rico.

Despite initially claiming the contrary, Stallone had never heard of Dredd until he was offered the role.

So, taking all of the negativity into account and having watched the cinematic brilliance of Dredd 3D I finally decided to bite the bullet and watch this because I can’t really compare and contrast to that which I have not seen. What follows is a minute by minute journey through the Tenth Circle of Hell.

00:30 Hey…good start so far. Lots of nice Dredd covers from various years.

00:41 Slight pain in my chest as Danny Cannon’s name shows up. Must remain calm.

01:16 James Earl Jones just mispronounced “Cursed”as Cur-sed”? Fuck, that doesn’t bode well.

02:00 Nice visual of the West Wall as an H-Wagon cruises on by. Warm feeling growing inside.

02:25 Warm feeling replaced by icy chill and overbearing hatred as Rob Schneider first appears.

03:10 The first look at the city. The visuals haven’t aged well but it looks gritty as fuck. Hang on, there is Lady Liberty. But this is the West Wall cos we just saw the shuttle come in. What the fuck is it doing all the way over here? And where is the Statue of Judgement towering above it?

04:12 Second look at the city. It looks like Coruscant’s poorer cousin. I’m not happy now.

05:33 Advert for Coor’s on the maintenance robot. Coor’s??? Really?

05:52 Dexter Morgan’s dad takes Rob Schneider prisoner. Where is Michael C. Hall when you need him?

06:15 One perp says the citizen riot is a block war. Clearly the scriptwriter did not understand what this means but a full on fight between two buildings does then seem to erupt upon on these very words. I wonder if the perp had read the script and knew what was coming?

06:31 Nice looking Lawmasters but they seem ungainly. A gust of wind and those puppies are gone…and have the same level of engine volume as hair dryers!

06:48 Rookie Brisco is clearly a 1960s Robin explaining everything for the benefit of the viewers. He and Hershey take the inspired step of cowering in the street whilst in the line of fire between the two buildings.

07:08 Dredd (who has apparently been doing fuck all) decides to help out after hearing two incompetent fuckwits are stranded.

07:31 Wow. That boot shot is strikingly similar to the one in Dredd 3D. Those sneaky bastards…

07:37 Codpiece.

07:40 Gurning midget stands in middle of street where people have been getting gunned down. “He knows what he is doing”says Hershey. That a fact? Hershey and Brisco each have two shoulder pads the same while Dredd has an eagle on one. The fuck?

07:51 Thatline is delivered is William Shatner staccato style. Badly.

08:32 Dredd apparently knew the perps would react that way. If so, why did he bother dicking about with the line and not get straight down to business?stallone as dredd

08:37 Dredd says the perps are firing 20mm caseless flechette rounds at 300m. The effective lethal range is 200m. Two minutes earlier the perps were shooting people dead in the street using these very weapons from these very windows. There are bullets tearing up the floor.

09:32 Dredd spends several seconds shooting through the floor announcing his arrival. The perps sportingly do nothing until he lands on the floor, free of dust (he is immune to bullets and dust). Then all they do is say his name rather than, you know, shoot him. Also, that Lawgiver sounds all wrong.

09:39 Hershey and Brisco barge in with all the grace and style of drunken Siamese twins.

09:46 Brisco runs off and disobeys orders, getting killed. He’d have failed anyway so fuck him.

10:09 Brisco’s fallen Lawgiver electrocutes a perp instead of blowing up.

10:45 Double Whammy? That’s not possible is it? The Lawgiver has one barrel so both rounds would travel in the same direction. That’s just shit.

11:05 Dredd turns his back on a Judge killer for dramatic effect. That would never happen.

11:25 Brisco was apparently suffering from male pattern baldness even though he is a 19 year old Rookie.

11:42 Hershey comes across like a shit Judge so I have no idea how she got through the Academy. Diane Lane is nearly 5’6” so Stallone appears to be standing on a box for their scenes together.

12:38 “I knew you’d say that” is used in lieu of actual quality scripting. Who came up with this?

12:49 Suicide is legal, apparently. In the case of Rob Schneider leaping from a window I agree.

14:04 The Big Meg has a population of 65 million people.

15:29 Helmet off. Epic fail.


18:50 Warden Miller gives Rico a package without knowing what it is. It turns out to be a gun, which surprise surprise Rico uses on Miller. The Autoguns do fuck all, so why are they there exactly?

19:44 Aspen Guard Weapons are not palm printed, which would be a fucking must since prisoners are the last people you want getting tooled up.

19:46 Dredd is blinking as he is firing his Lawgiver.

21:00 Presumably the epaulettes on Dredd’s dress uniform denote rank since Fargo has three and Griffin has two. Dredd appears to be the same rank as Fargo and therefore outranks most of the council.

22:00 All Judges are tattooed. Why? This must make undercover work a bitch.

22:12 Hershey apparently has a personal life and friends.

23:01 Attempted pathos as Dredd talks about arresting his friend. This falls as flat as Christchurch.

23:30 Rico smuggles himself out of Aspen as a corpse. Nobody bothers to check his cell or the body bags. Presumably the deaths of several Aspen guards and the Warden, coupled with the escape of Rico has them not checking the basics.

24:22 Ian Dury is smoking.

26:05 Holy shit, that’s an ABC robot!

26:30 Apparently a decommissioned ABC War robot can be reprogrammed just by moving a few wires. How did Rico know how to…oh, never mind. Rico tells the ABC they are going to war. He is inches away from it. When the shot cuts away he is several feet from the robot.

28:00 During a simple DUI bust, Hershey’s authority is pissed on by Dredd who shows up and takes over. The perp also gives Hershey backchat, which is unthinkable.

28:08 The mic boom and boom operator are reflected in Dredd’s visor.

28:21 There’s that catchphrase again. It just isn’t getting any better.

28:25 Dredd fires a grenade laterally at the car. The shot somehow comes in from a 45 degree angle to the horizontal. Also, Dredd blows up a car in the crowded street.

28:32 Souza is the worst actor I have ever seen and seems to have studied at the Anna Nicole Smith School of Dramatic Arts. He is supposed to be drunk (hence the bad parking) yet shows no sign of inebriation.

28:45 The SJS turn up to arrest Dredd, probably as he has endangered life and limb by blowing up a car and being a fucknut.  Hang on, no; he is framed for murder, apparently. Anyway, the SJS just showed up like they were on a power walk instead of being ready to take down a highly trained Judge.

29:45 Dredd has selected Hershey to defend him. He is so fucked.

29:47 Hershey was at the top of her class at the Academy. The Academy is so fucked.

30:33 The “irrefutable proof” is grainier than the Zapruder footage shot through a pair of tights. Shouldn’t there be counter evidence of Dredd’s whereabouts if he was on patrol, in the shower, balls deep in a hooker?

30:37 Dredd looks like he is an army brat wearing his dad’s size 10 boots. Seriously this is one step away from Elton John in Tommy.

31:14 A Cadet Judge is apparently more qualified to give evidence than the whole of Tek Div. His evidence is that the image is so grainy it could be anyone. Really? That’s it? His expertise is stating the obvious? He also points out that the sky is up, water is wet, this is your arse and this is a hole in the ground. The Council concede this but this seems inconsistent as there is a close up of Dredd’s badge on the screen but not of his face. If they can zoom to the badge, why not the face? In any case, the Council have a plan B, which was the strongest case so they should have opened with that.

31:37 Why are there Cadets at the trial of a Judge anyway?

32:24 That computer is Adrienne Barbeau’s voice.

32:41 Hershey asks Dredd “Did you know about this?” while the Lawgiver DNA coding is being discussed. Really, he didn’t know that Lawgivers can only be fired by their designated user and that ballistics can match the bullets? As a high ranking Street Judge, how could he not?

33:29 “The evidence has been falsified” says Dredd. No shit, Sherlock. You work that out yourself? That line is delivered again. Very badly.

36:04 Fargo decides to step down. His right nostril has a massive bat in the cave. He has to go.

36:07 It is tradition to carry out the last order of a retiring Senior Judge. How far does this extend? Reduction of sentence for murderers? Conga Line at the West Wall? Midget hookers?

37:21 The SJS let Dredd and Hershey have some last words instead of hauling him off. That’s nice of them. Dredd has his sleeves ripped off and then they take his jacket. Wouldn’t it have been easier just to take the jacket?

Helllooo Hershey

39:18 Hershey breaks into Dredd’s locker. Inside are Edward Gibbon’s (The History of the) Decline and Fall (of the Roman Empire) Vols 1 and 2, a medal, what appears to be a work by Ralph Waldo Emerson, as well as three pairs of her knickers and a double ender.

39:55 How the fuck did that ABC robot get in to Griffin’s quarters unnoticed? Was it disguised as a washer woman?

42:15 Since Aspen appears to be the only prison for crimes both big and small (Dredd is doing life, Fergie had just returned from a 6 month stretch for hacking) and Dredd sentenced Fergie a day or two ago. How come he is on the same shuttle as Dredd? Surely there must have been more perps sentenced in the meantime and therefore shipped out.

42:09 Why is the shuttle’s cruising height and flight time announced over the intercom? These are perps. They aren’t going to Corfu.

43:51 Spud from Trainspotting and Herschel from The Walking Dead have shown up.

45:05 Hershey is in her nice apartment which she presumably affords with the money she gets paid.

45:09 Hershey runs a scan on the photo of Dredd and Rico. It seems that despite being an unhinged anti-authority psychopath, Rico made it through the Academy and was a Judge! While you ponder that bombshell, in the snapshot Dredd appears to be an inch or two taller than his clone brother but the scan reveals that Rico is approximately 200cm tall. I have a mate who is that tall, it is 6’7”. So Dredd must be about 6’9”. That’s 12 inches taller than Stallone is in real life (he usually adds an inch and a half to his height claims). What. The. Fuck?

46:05 The SJS execute the pilot who for some reason has been left alive by the Angels and is sitting in the main cabin rather than the cockpit.

46:35 Pa Angel is now a religious maniac and Link Angel looks suspiciously like Chad Kroeger. Junior and Mean Angel look pretty cool, though.

47:05 Link Angel’s hat magically vanishes off his head.

47:58 Pa sets Mean’s dial to 1 but it is set on 2 just after. Zuh?

49:27 The blood dripping down from the gash on Dredd’s eye has just reversed its flow. It was down to his neck and is now back up to his cheek.

49:43 Oh, it has corrected itself again. Bad editing, man.

49:50 Four words you never want to see associated. “Angel Gang Spit Roast”.

50:45 SJS weapons are also not palm printed and they are terrible shots considering they hunt down Judges for a living.

51:37 For the second time in two minutes someone has magically shown up and shot a bad guy in the back just as Dredd was in danger. This time it is Fargo who, considering he left the city just after Dredd was taken away, must have ran like a fucking maniac from the West Wall to get here to keep pace with the shuttle. Luckily he headed in the same direction too. What are the odds?

51:50 Another “in the back” moment and Fargo is mortally wounded. This film is cliché after cliché.

52:52 That catchphrase again.

53:10 Conveniently Tek Genius Olmeyer has analysed the wrong picture. If everything in it is fake except the baby, how does the lab background suddenly spring into view? Is it magic?

55:26 Rico was genetically mutated? Ok, that explains why Rico and Dredd look different but how can the DNA match at Dredd’s trial if the genes are mutated? This would make them as genetically diverse as twins (who may look the same but share different DNA).

56:36 How could Griffin keep Rico alive and in Aspen without Fargo knowing?

1:03:51 The incinerator exhaust tunnels don’t have a grille on them and are tall enough for someone to run through- the Judges know this and yet do fuck all about it. So,Dredd knows who the Angel Gang are and that incinerators flare every 30 seconds but he does not know about the DNA forensics on Lawgivers? Really?

Regardless, the flames magically change direction after Fergie falls over and Dredd has to rescue him.

1:05:00 Dredd and Fergie have made it across the city unimpeded and have gained access to the Grand Hall. No really, they have, I just saw it.

1:05:15 Dredd takes off another Judge’s pants. Luckily this Judge is the only other Judge in the entire city who wears a one Eagle pad version of the uniform. What are the odds of that?

1:05:37 I’ve just realised that throughout the entire film, Griffin’s epaulettes have been on the wrong way at times. They are supposed to be wide at the neck and narrow at the arm. Here he has them narrow at the neck and wide at the arm.

1:06:42 Judge Ventriloquist rips off Dredd’s helmet saying “I thought it was you” without actually moving his lips it seems. Really? What gave it away that something was amiss? Was it Fergie calling him Dredd right in front of you or the blood running down his face and neck that made it suspicious? Was it the fact that said Judge is walking next to a nervous looking citizen who clearly has no place being in the Grand Hall? You’ll go far in the Department, Ventriloquist.

1:06:56 The real Dredd would have shot Rico without hesitation but here he lets him escape.

1:07:51 Dredd gets on the bike with a full uniform (bar armour) with Fergie seated behind him. When we cut back he is wearing a t-shirt.

1:08:53 Those are some badly dated effects. Hang on, the bike at the Academy is a prototype that has trouble working and yet the SJS are flying around on them. What the shit???

1:09:09 Unintentional homo-eroticism. Fergie (seated behind Dredd) “You didn’t say anything about cocking”.

1:09:36 A hologram takes out a bike. Yes, a hologram. Which appears to be stretchy like Spiderman’s web. These SJS seem very unskilled to say they have been riding these bikes before.

1:10:40 Despite following the Law, Dredd has absolutely no problem killing fellow officers or causing collateral damage or citizen death.

1:10:43 When Dredd’s original bike smashes into the building it detonates with a massive explosion. The other bike that exploded had nowhere near this size fireball.

01:11:15 Why does Hershey have a double bed and a shelf of perfumes?

01:11:28 Apparently the city is on the bones of its arse after 108 Judges have died. That’s it? While we are on that, who has been killing them? It looks like it is just Rico, Ilsa and the ABC sneaking around the city planting bombs.

1:12:13 Unintentional Barry Manilow moment. Dredd: “His name is Rico”. Did he wear a diamond?

1:12:49 There was blood on Rico’s arm while he was in the DNA sampler but it just vanished. Ilsa also seems to change her mind every few scenes about Rico’s plans.

1:13:00 Dredd’s bloody cheek has all gone. Hershey must have licked it off.

1:16:23 ABC robots are shit in a fight but fortunately, Rob Schneider has been shot!

1:16:42 Dredd’s face is bleeding again. Who was the continuity person for this film, Helen Keller?

1:18:13 The clones are apparently Dredd’s brothers and …sisters? Unintentional Barry Manilow moment 2. Rico went a bit too far. These are clones of the host, so unless Rico had a sex change the sisters thing is a big no-no.

1:18:54 Dredd: “I should have put you down myself. Personally.” That’s a little surplus to requirements isn’t it? With “I”, “myself” and “personally” all that was missing was “on my own”.

1:19:17 Rico favours the black clothing and high waist belt. He’s very much like a Mega City Simon Cowell. Only much less evil.

1:20:20 Rico and Ilsa just got punched by an ABC robot. Their heads are miraculously still intact. Ilsa has a bit of blood on her nose but they are both up on their feet as if they have been hit by a pillow.

1:20:57 Girl fight. Somebody get the jelly.

1:21:18 Ilsa’s jacket has just magically vanished. They are stripping off as they fight!!! At this rate they will be down to their underwear in no time!!! Please let this go the distance!

1:23:44 After Dredd fires a signal flare (which for some reason Rico looks at) Rico plummets to his death in slo-mo like Alan Rickman at the end of Die Hard. Unfortunately the traffic below him is moving at normal speed, not slo-mo.

1:23:54 The fourth incident of the old surprise bullet/stab in the back cliché as Ilsa cops it.

1:24:21 Suddenly it has stopped raining and is now daytime. Not only that but all the Judges outside who have previously been trying to kill Dredd (because he is a fucking menace to everybody) are now his mates because Central (a computer controlled by the Judges and with no independent thought) has voluntarily broadcast the truth across the city. Seriously, that’s your out?

1:25:15 Hey, there’s a spare Lawmaster with handy eagle armour waiting on it for no good reason. I’ll just take that, even though I am no longer a Judge…

1:25:19 Assault on a Senior Judge’s lips.

1:25:40 The catchphrase is used for the final time. It doesn’t get any better.

1:26:14 Nice cityscape. Oh well, at least the film ended on a high…

1:26:33 Hang on in the credits; it says Link Angel is actually Fink Angel. Let’s end it on a low instead, eh? Twats.

Well, that wasn’t as bad as I thought. Mind you, that is like saying Ebola is slightly more preferable to being skinned alive.

This film suffers as it is an average 80s movie made in 1995 when the kitsch and fondness for knuckleheaded plots had long since departed.

The character of Fergie is not really required and just serves for someone to bounce exposition off.

There are attempts at humour here that seem a bit mismatched and have been thrown in as an afterthought. This takes me back to a line by Stallone who allegedly said after reading the script that if it was based on a comic, then why wasn’t it funny? I don’t know if he and Schneider shoehorned these moments in or if they were done to appease studio execs but they simply don’t work. The humour is all wrong and ill judged.

Apart from Diane Lane looking smoking hot, Assante is the best thing about it, but even he overacts something terrible in one or two scenes. The Council features an array of accents for no particular reason.

The sets were good but it was the same city street used time and time again with seemingly no effort made to redress it.

The ending is awful in ways other films can only dream about. Dredd has just killed a number of Judges, done massive amounts of damage to the city (and possibly killed citizens as part of this) but the Judges who were trying to kill him moments before are all whooping and hollering like crazy.

They aren’t arresting him for illegally entering the city, doing massive destruction to property, kissing a fellow officer, multiple Judge murders, theft of Justice Department vehicles, assaulting numerous Judges, impersonating a Judge, littering, reckless endangerment or bleeding in a public place.

I was facepalming while watching that bit as it was so cheesy and cringeworthy.

Take into account that the city is supposedly in the middle of a crimewave so what are they all doing there? Shouldn’t they be out kicking ass?

Not the worst film I have ever seen but it is certainly in the bottom five.