You might not read my reviews regularly, but if you did, then you’d know that Judge Dredd is my kind of movie. I loved it back when I first saw it in the theaters with my dad, and I still love it today. I am…THE LAW!
The Sylvester Stallone vehicle, Judge Dredd, is a much-maligned comic book movie from the 90s, and I never understood why. It’s loud, it’s exciting, and it’s even funny (Yes, Rob Schneider can actually be funny in the right situation!). One of the major complaints is that, oh, wah wah wah, Judge Dredd rarely ever takes off his helmet in the comics, wah, wah, wah. As if you even knew that before this movie came out and somebody told you that fact. And secondly, Spider-Man never shot webs out of his skin, either, but THAT happened in Sam Raimi’s trilogy, which was still widely loved by most fans and newcomers alike. So what’s the deal?
My theory? The unfamiliarity of the character, plus the R rating, and the overall hamminess of it (oh, and Rob Schneider), equals a critical and commercial failure. It’s not like Judge Dredd is an unknown character or anything like that. His 2000 A.D. series is quite famous in the pantheon of comic books, but no one would mistake him for the popularity of Batman or The X-Men. He suffers the same fate as somebody like Jonah Hex, even though that movie was lousy and this one isn’t. People just couldn’t get into the character. At least, that’s what I think.
The film stars Sylvester Stallone in a role that could have just as easily gone to Arnold Schwarzenegger. He plays a cop with adamant beliefs in the law, and acts as judge, jury, and executioner, all wrapped into one glorious piece of beef. He does his job better than anyone else ever could, but things go awry when he’s framed for murder and is sent into exile (with Rob Schneider). What follows is his ascent back to glory as he seeks out the culprit, who is played with hilarious bombast by Armand Assante. One of my favorite moments from Assante occurs when he curls up his lip like Stallone and spouts, “Leeeeaawwww!” Just watch the movie, and I’m sure you’ll also find this funny.
And that’s why I love this film. It’s so fun to make fun of but genuinely enjoyable to watch, too. Sure, none of the actors take themselves too seriously, but that’s what’s great about it. It feels like a joke, and it is, but it’s also immensely entertaining, just like a dumb action picture should be. I’m not going to compare it to something as classic as say, Commando, which I consider the comic gem of action pictures. But I will say that, all the way through, while I’m laughing at its ridiculousness, I’m also enjoying the special affects, gunfire, and one-liners (“I knew you’d say that”) that this film has to offer. It seriously never lets up, but in a strangely, not-too-violent fashion. Like I mentioned earlier, the movie is rated-R and it really never should have been. Even back then it was tame, and by today’s standards, it’d be downright be PG-13—which is another reason why people might hate it so much. It seems pretty kid-friendly, and almost entirely directed toward teenagers, while people probably expected a bloodbath. Well, that never bothered me, and I liked the film for what it was—A goofy, explosive action flick. I loved it back then, and I still love it today. Long live, Judge Dredd!
Okay, no effort whatsoever went into this Blu-Ray disc. I actually never had this movie on DVD, but if I did, I’m sure I’d have the same special feature in, “Stallone’s Law: The Making of Judge Dredd,” as it was obviously made make in the 90s. Stallone hasn’t looked so young in years.
It’s enjoyable, to say the least. Stallone hams it up and continues to do that weird curve thing with his lip while he discusses how hard it was to make the film, while the other actors talk up their characters and the movie. It’s all pretty interesting stuff and I enjoyed watching it and learning about the special effects (this is back in the day when people actually worked their asses off to make something look futuristic and real), but really, I wanted something more. Perhaps, an in-depth look at the series in preparation for the new Dredd that comes out pretty soon? Or maybe an, “In Defense of Dredd” featurette, or something like that, since this new Dredd looks like it was pretty much just created to wash out the bad taste that the original movie made with the general public. Or maybe, I don’t know, a commentary by the director or writer. Anything, really, other than that one special feature, as the only other extra on this disc is the trailer, which is badass and all, but I wanted more.
Overall, it’s a really crummy disc for special features, and if you already own Judge Dredd on DVD, then you can skip the Blu-Ray upgrade entirely. It doesn’t even look that crisp or new. So, this is a great movie, but lousy with special features. That’s pretty much Judge Dredd on Blu-Ray in a nutshell.