[ Movies Index | Metro | MetroActive Central | Archives ]

Judge Dredd

By Richard von Busack

"I am duh law!" Sylvester Stallone bellows as Third Millennium policeman, judge and executioner Joseph Dredd, from the British comic books. In the future, the Earth has turned barren, and humanity has been forced to live in crowded, walled cities patrolled by gun-toting judges who wear shoulder epaulettes that look the fancy cornices of brick buildings. The incorruptible but emotionless Dredd is framed and sent to prison but escapes to find his persecutors. He does so with the aid of Obi-Wan Kenobe stand-in Max Von Sydow, whose visage is sadder than Bela Lugosi's in Plan 9 from Outer Space  (he must be in mourning for the fate of the cinema; imagine, from Bergman to Stallone in 40 years). A joke about "recycled food" sums up both the quality and the essential nature of the script. (One typical line: "It's not for this council to play God." Ah, but who , if not this council?) Judge Dredd  plagiarizes everything from Star Wars  and Blade Runner  incorporating not only the latter's set design but its theme and climax as well. What spirit the movie has is cornered by Armand Assante as the villain Judge Rico, who has a great lumbering robot as a henchman ("Send in the clones!" Rico orders at one point). As unofficial comic relief, Assante fades the irritating Rob Schneider, the official comic relief. You don't get much Assante, but you get a whole lot of Stallone, putrefying mound of beef that he is. Stallone emanates startling self-love, suffering nobly like Jesus on a postcard when he's not pistol-whipping criminals who ask for it. From the opening shot of his gold-lame elevator boots to the final shot of a cheering section for him, he tries to outmatch the sound effects in pulverizing you-the sound effects win. Watching Judge Dredd is like being parked next to an airport runway.

[ Movies Central | MetroActive ]

This page was designed and created by the Boulevards team.
Copyright © 1996 Metro Publishing, Inc.