Updated: Wednesday, 15 August 2012 10:59

First Look: Dredd




Starring: Karl Urban, Lena Headley, Olivia Thirlby

Directed by: Pete Travis

Why watch: In The Dark Knight Rises, Tom Hardy acted with his eyes; now see Kark Urban act with just his mouth and a gruff Batman voice.

The low-down: In the post-apocalyptic future, law and order are under the purview of Judges, heavily armed and armoured cops who acted as judge, jury and executioner. Top judge Dredd (Star Trek’s Karl Urban, below) and his protégé (Juno’s Olivia Thirlby) are trapped behind enemy lines — in a 200-storey high-rise controlled by a vicious drug gang. Oops.

The buzz: The last time the British comic-book icon (35 years old and still going strong) crossed over to the big screen was in 1995’s Judge Dredd, with Sylvester Stallone as the fascist supercop. While that movie was a flop, it wasn’t a total abomination. Sure, it was a serviceable Stallone vehicle, but it wasn’t faithful to the source material. Its biggest boo-boo? Dredd removed his helmet — something the character never ever does in the comics. “He is supposed to be the faceless representation of the law and that is part of his enigma, what makes him interesting and cool,” laments Karl Urban, who as the new Dredd doesn’t take off his headgear. For Urban, channelling emotions beneath a visor without using his eyes is just as daunting as performing the stunts. “The key to [playing] Dredd is repressed emotions,” explains the 40-year-old Kiwi. “Social relationships, the things that you and I enjoy in life, have been burned from his psyche.” And if the US$45 million (S$55 mil) shot-in-South Africa movie delivers what it promises in the trailers (a hard man dispensing R-rated hard justice), then Stallone’s early version will be burned from our psyche.

Opens: Oct 11

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