"Judge Wopner" Is More Entertaining

  • Jun 8, 2002
Hungry for another film franchise (ROCKY was too old to box, and RAMBO had already killed off all possible enemies), Sylvester Stallone was hungry for a new cinema hero to portray. Science fiction films had always been popular, so Stallone threw his hat into the ring with JUDGE DREDD.

It should've been called JUDGE DEAD-ON-ARRIVAL.

Stallone hits both of his notes here: quiet merciful slaughter and screaming merciless slaughter. The story of a future city where all crime result in incarceration was mildly visionary, but, when the surprise twist of having the law turn on one of the most revered judges (insert "Stallone"), it became all too predictable. While the special effects are top notch, the film is best viewed once.

Just once.

The stunningly beautiful Diane Lane is wasted here in the role of one of Dredd's streetwise Judges. Armand Assante chews scenery as ... well, let's just call him a close personal friend of Dredd's. And ... what was the venerable Max Von Sydow thinking when he agreed to star as Dredd's mentor?

The film was based on a popular comic series of the same name.

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What? You don't know enough about me from the picture? Get a clue! I'm a graduate from the School of Hard Knocks! You can find me around the web as "Trekscribbler" or "Manchops".   … more
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Judge Dreddis one of those movies that doesn't have a brain of its own, so it can only rip off a lot of ingredients from other, better movies. It's a mishmash ofBlade Runner,Total Recall, andThe Road Warrior, with a dash ofStar Warstossed in for good measure. As if that weren't enough, it's got Sylvester Stallone, who seems to be the only one in the movie who's in on the game and knows it's all a sci-fi scam. LikeThe Fifth Elementa few years later,Judge Dredddepicts a futuristic megalopolis packed with crowded vertical overgrowth and rampant commerce, where anarchy reigns supreme. Violent "block wars" are fought by lawless citizens with machine guns, and Judge Dredd (Stallone) is one of the city's heavily armed policemen, given free rein to judge and execute the perpetrators of violence. But Dredd himself is subjected to judgment and swift justice when his own gun is identified in the murder of a prominent TV reporter, forcing him to do whatever he can to clear his name. Diane Lane plays his partner in crime-fighting and romance, and Rob Schneider provides juvenile comic relief as Dredd's streetwise sidekick. Impressive special effects are on vivid display, and the movie's fun for what it's worth. Lower your expectations and you just might enjoy it.--Jeff Shannon
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