Judge Dredd is a 1995 American science fiction action film directed by Danny Cannon, and starring Sylvester Stallone, Diane Lane, Rob Schneider, Armand Assante, and Max von Sydow. The film is based on the strip of the same name in the British comic 2000 AD. Certain elements of the film were altered from the comic series, but it still did not find wide mainstream appeal and as a result was a critical and commercial disappointment. In the 3rd millennium, much of Earth has become an uninhabitable wasteland. The majority of humanity resides in huge Mega-Cities, where the traditional justice system has been replaced by a corps of Judges whose role combines those of police officer, judge, jury, and executioner. The most dedicated "Street Judge" in Mega-City One is Joseph Dredd (Sylvester Stallone), who assists Judge Hershey (Diane Lane) in ending a block war. Herman Ferguson (Rob Schneider), a hacker recently released from prison, is caught in the firefight and hides inside a garbage-collection robot, only to be arrested by Dredd and sentenced to five years' imprisonment for tampering with city property. Rico (Armand Assante), a former Judge turned psychopathic murderer, escapes from
Release Date: June 30, 1995
Genre: Science fiction
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"I am the law!" Sylvester Stallone hollers from time to time. And after asking criminals whether they are innocent or guilty and, of course, they always say they are "innocent" he follows up with, "I knew you'd say that!"
But those lines aren't likely to enter the lexicon with the same thrust as "Go ahead, make my day" or "I'll be back."
In fact, little about "Judge Dredd" seems destined to remain in memory by the time you've finished your popcorn. This is just another video game without the interaction, a movie that seems to have no purpose other than simple-minded thrills and spills.
Despite a few OK action moments, however, along with some interesting special effects (including a scary robot that owes more than a little to ED-209 in "RoboCop"), the film delivers very little even by today's minimal standards.
Based on a British comic book, "Judge Dredd" is set in futuristic Manhattan, which has become Mega City One but looks like the Los Angeles of "Blade Runner." (There are also visual moments stolen from "Escape From New York," "Alien," "Star Wars," "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre," "The Silence of the Lambs" even the climactic Statue of Liberty scene from Alfred Hitchcock's "Saboteur.")
In this future society, which seems to consist of nothing but complete chaos there is no longer a court system, as elevated motorcycle cops have also taken on the persona of judge, jury and executioner.
The most highly respected "judge" and the most feared is Judge Dredd (Stallone), who is particularly rigid in his standards. His law is by the book no exceptions.
So when Dredd is eventually framed for murder and sentenced to life in Aspen Penal Colony, the film keeps trying to emphasize the irony of his situation. But the approach is so heavy-handed that the film soon goes from being slightly irritating to full-throttle annoying. And it doesn't help that the music and sound effects are deafeningly boisterous, and no one speaks a line when it can be screamed.
Stallone seems to be attempting to parody himself posing, posturing, spewing one-liners that are completely lacking in wit and, in the final third of the film, looking for all the world like a futuristic "Rambo."
So when an overwrought Armand Assante, as Dredd's "brother," also seems to be doing a Stallone impersonation, it seems redundant.
The rest of the interesting cast is equally at sea. Diane Lane can't seem to get a handle on her character rookie judge or love interest? Rob Schneider (the copy-machine guy on "Saturday Night Live"), as Stallone's unwilling sidekick, peppers the film with lame one-liners and has no comic chemistry with the star. Joan Chen is called upon to simply offer some karate kicks and cleavage. And Jurgen Prochnow offers yet another of his generic European-villain turns.
In fact, the only performer here who feels the need to try and play a real character is Max Von Sydow, as an aging, retiring judge. And, of course, by the halfway mark he's gone.
Not that anything as silly as plot or story or character development should slow down a movie like this.
And I'll give it that. "Judge Dredd" does move.
But you may wish it would simply move away.
"Judge Dredd" is rated R for considerable violence and profanity, with some vulgar gags.
June 30th, 1995 · Details