Took my brother to see “Dredd” earlier this afternoon. I skipped the “3-D” version because … what's the point? Even so, I have good news and bad news.
The good news is that anyone with an appreciation for graphic novels should like this new version. It has vision and a good sense of the kind of sci-fi intensity that the best graphic novels display. Director Peter Travis, a Brit who made his bones in television, utilitzes a sense of style that captures both the visuals and tone of a mean-spirited tale of crypto-fascism in a way that might make even Al Gore smile.
The bad news? Anyone who is sensitive to violence, or who hasn't a clue about what a graphic novels even is, is likely to exit the theater the first time they see a corpse hit the floor after a 200-story drop. Think a bag full of crushed bone and blood splatting flat on the stone. You get the idea.
By the way, this version of “Dredd” plays things fairly straight. Unlike the Stallone version of 1995 (“Judge Dredd”), which had the requisite number of bad joked and taglines (“Emotions… there ought to be a law against them”). All in all, though, it isn't a ponderous exercise. Travis actually shows some ability both to handle the visuals and the tone.
In truth, I liked “Dredd” far better than I did “Trouble With the Curve,” which I describe as the cinematice equivalent of an empty chair. Yeah, I wrote that.