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Movie review: 'Dredd 3D'

Posted 4:34pm on Thursday, Sep. 27, 2012

R (strong bloody violence, strong language, drug use, sexual content); 95 min.

In the movies, the old saying goes, some stars wear the hat. And sometimes, the hat wears them.

Say what you want about Sylvester Stallone's kitschy 1995 turn as futuristic comic book judge-jury-executioner Judge Dredd, the dude wore the helmet. Karl Urban replaces him in the new Dredd 3D. And frankly, the helmet wears Karl.

He never takes it off. It closes off his performance and masks his charisma. We only see his scowling jaw and hear his hissed one-liners, chewing out the rookie mind-reading judge (Olivia Thirlby) who forgets to wear hers.

In a future when much of America is irradiated and 800 million people are crammed into MegaCity, the concrete metropolis that stretches from Boston to Washington, tens of thousands are packed into mega high-rises, many at the mercy of mega criminals.

The judges are all that stand in the way of anarchy. They're wired-in, high-tech hunter/prosecutor/killers, men and women who solve (sort of) crimes, catch criminals and dole out punishment on the spot.

There's a new drug making the rounds and Ma-Ma is the drug lord who has it. Lena Headey ( 300) plays her in a performance that begins and ends with flashy makeup.

The 3-D here is used to greatest effect in slow-motion shootings, impalings and throat slashings. The villain is poorly drawn. Headey just isn't "big" enough, in persona, performance and presence, to suggest a murderous monster who ruthlessly slashed and intimidated her way to the top.

-- Roger Moore,

McClatchy Tribune News

Service

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