Judge Dredd

Sylvester Stallone plays the title character, an emotionless futuristic police officer, in Judge Dredd. This role, as anyone who's familiar with Stallone films will attest, is a natural one for him. However, the script fails to deliver.

In the future, Dredd is one of the few judges who are used by The Establishment (aka The Council) to control soaring crime rates. The judges have power to not only judge, but also to arrest and mete out punishment. The Council, in an attempt to control the crime rates, has been experimenting with genetically creating a "perfect judge". An ex-judge, Rico (Armand Assante), the failed product of such an experiment, frames the murder of a reporter on Dredd, and attempts to mold Mega City One (the future vision of New York) into his vision. This sets up a confrontation between Dredd and Rico which is very anti-climatic.

The movie is based on the comic book Judge Dredd, and while it sets up a good scenario of the future (somewhat true to the comic book), the characters appear out of context. The plot is really rushed, and there is barely any chemistry between the actors. Rob Schneider provides some laughs as a reluctant sidekick of Dredd, and that's one of the high points. The other high point is that the effects are great, and the automata provide more entertainment value than the human actors.

While Judge Dredd sucks as a movie, it is worth renting simply for the thoughts it provokes regarding the philosophical implications of law in current society. Law enforcement is taken to new limits as more and more laws are passed every day, without removing existing ones, to "maintain order". The Council, in the movie, attempts to, in their own words, play god. I don't think we're too far from a point where our own politicians will try exactly that. The lessons we learn from the movie aren't too surprising: such experiments are bound to lead to failure since humans are inherently flawed beings. Does this mean that one should just lie back and let a dystopian human society take over the planet? I think the solution is in changing the current system of law, which is based on top-down order, to a system where bottom-up order is emphasised.

Movie ram-blings || Ram Samudrala || me@ram.org