An action movie with confidence, style and unapologetic brawn, Dredd, much like its blunt protagonist, doesn’t invest a lot of energy in oblique sketching of motivation, or playing coy. An adaptation of the popular British comic book focusing on the justice-dispensing character of the same name, this dystopian neo-noir unfolds as a full-frontal assault on the senses, while also carving out enough of a personality to establish a beachhead as a potential franchise for distributor Lionsgate.
Karl Urban ably communicates a steely resolve while still keeping his mask on throughout, and director Pete Travis (Vantage Point) orchestrates a fine array of action set pieces, aided by the fact that Dredd’s weapon is capable of firing six different types of ammunition, allowing for a wide assortment of mayhem and kills. Working with cinematographer Anthony Dod Mantle, Travis also makes solid use of the film’s 3-D; the narrative inclusion of a “Slo-Mo” drug fits the effect hand-in-glove, allowing for painterly images that approach art. For the full, original review, from Screen International, click here. (Lionsgate, R, 96 minutes)