One of the more admirable aspects of “Dredd,” the 3D sci-fi actioner set to be released at the end of the month (after it hits Midnight Madness at TIFF later this week) is how contained it is. It might be a dystopian extravaganza, but the story takes place in just one building – a huge, derelict housing project with the idyllic moniker of Peach Trees. When several murders occur in Peach Trees, the Judges (futuristic investigators given the power of judge, jury and executioner) are sent in. And in a new clip from Digital Spy (courtesy of Hey U Guys), we get to see the Judges (Karl Urban and Olivia Thirlby) enter Peach Trees. It’s probably the calmest moment in the whole movie.
In the brief scene, Judge Dredd (Urban) and Judge Anderson (Thirlby) enter the main atrium of Peach Trees. Anderson is a psychic and the cumbersome Judge helmet (which Urban never removes throughout the whole movie, a major point of contention with fans of the original comic book when it came to the Sylvester Stallone movie from 1995) interferes with her abilities, so she doesn’t wear it. She is young and something of an optimist, while Dredd is the most hardened badass who ever fought futuristic crime in a post-apocalyptic landscape, so he’s slightly grumpier.
This is literally as they’re walking in to investigate the crime scene, so it’s before the shit hits the fan. The rest of the film is basically one prolonged action sequence, along the lines of “Die Hard” or “The Raid” (but with an agreeably gadgety sci-fi twist), as the Judges make their way to drug lord and crime kingpin MaMa (Lena Headey from “300“), who has been supplying all of the sprawling MegaCity One with a psychedelic drug called Slo-Mo.
Based on the influential comic book by John Wagner and Carlos Ezquerra and written by frequent Danny Boyle collaborator Alex Garland, “Dredd” opens in the U.K. on Friday and in the United States on September 21st. It’s already one of the most welcome surprises of the fall movie season.