The drug of choice in “Dredd” is a nifty little work of fiction called SLOW-MO — a hypnotically gold substance sucked in through an inhaler, altering your reality drastically with the first hit making time feel like it is moving at a fraction of a second.
Showered in gorgeous visuals, the trippy vibe of this drug allows for some innovative aesthetics in slow-motion photography. The big moment comes when a character is given the drug and pushed from a building, making a 20 second fall to their death feel like it is lasting for hours. I can’t imagine something more terrifying to think about, yet beautiful to watch.
“Dredd,” shot in 3D and effectively so, is a slam-bang joyride with a grim canvas — a darkness interrupted by vibrantly violent bursts of red. Blood is shed endlessly and carelessly in “Dredd,” a remake of the 1995 Sylvester Stallone film that better captures the apocalyptic vision of the original comic source, and the violence is something both appallingly real and fantastically surreal.
As a result, the dynamism of “Dredd” is unparalleled for a movie this furious, raw and macabre. Its violence is gratuitous yet never feels so. Its pace is a 50-pound brick to the pedal that is never removed. Its style is new, like something straight from a comic book yet still remarkably cinematic. In short, “Dredd” is nasty, well-made fun.
In a future where police perform the duties of judge, jury, and executioner, Judge Dredd (Karl Urban) embarks on a typical day while training a newbie officer named Anderson (Olivia Thirlby), only to become trapped in the lockdown of a drug lord’s skyscraper community — a multi-storied action sequence that is essentially America’s first remake of “The Raid: Redemption,” the Indonesian action film that came out this year.