Directed By: Pete Travis

Starring: Karl Urban, Olivia Thirlby, Wood Harris, and Lena Headey

The fall movie season is officially under way.  In other words, it's a sad time for me.  We're no longer getting those awesome blockbusters with big stars like The Avengers or The Dark Knight Rises, and we're waiting on the awards season to really get started (though the release of The Master is duly noted).  It's most evident this weekend with Dredd, a film based on the futuristic British comic strip.  While the movie isn't exactly low budget with $45 million spent on its production, it isn't a world-class comic book movie either.  After all, we've been spoiled this year with the Caped Crusader, our friendly neighborhood Spidey, and a remarkable group of people from all over the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

From what was once Boston to Washington, DC lies Mega-City One.  Eight hundred million people live in the ruins of the old world and its mega structures.  There's only one thing fighting for order in the chaos, the men and women of the Hall of Justice.  One of the most famous and feared judges is Judge Dredd (Karl Urban), and he's been called into the Hall of Justice to meet the Chief Judge (Rakie Ayola).  She informs him that he'll be taking a rookie under his wings and assessing whether she's capable of being a judge.  Though she failed her evaluation, psychic Cassandra Anderson (Olivia Thirlby) has the potential to do great things.

Meanwhile, blood is flowing in the 200-story mega tower known as Peach Trees.  Drug lord Madeline Madrigal (Lena Headey), also known as Ma-Ma, skins and kills three people in slow motion.  After giving them the drug Slo-Mo, which makes users feel like time is passing at 1% of the rate at which it actually is, Ma-Ma throws them out of the building to slowly fall hundreds of stories to their deaths.  When they learn of the killings, Dredd and Anderson opt to go to Peach Trees and dispense justice. 

Once on the scene, Dredd and Anderson take Ma-Ma's henchman Kay (Wood Harris) into custody.  Though she's a psychic, Anderson is only 99% certain that Kay participated in those murders, so they can’t fully deliver justice.  On the other hand, Ma-Ma is 100% certain that her clansman Kay will reveal something about her operations to the judges, so she locks the building down and does everything in her power to kill Dredd and Anderson.

Dredd is a decent movie fueled by enjoyable performances from the cast and lots of blood flying everywhere.  It's a movie for a special kind of moviegoer, one who loves excessive gore and violence and can deal with it in a cheesy fashion.  If you liked The Expendables 2, Dredd is your new movie at the box office.  While Karl Urban can't match the charms of the AARP's newest members, he certainly delivers quite a few laughs.  Though the 3D sucks and any scene with Slo-Mo is annoying as hell, this is your flick if you love bad B-movies.

The actors give decent performances throughout the flick.  As the legendary Judge Dredd, Karl Urban does what one would expect.  He kicks ass.  He grunts.  He spews cheesy one-liners any time he actually talks.  Basically, he gets the job done as Dredd.  As psychic rookie Cassandra Anderson, Olivia Thirlby brings warmth and a discerning conscience to the film, which is definitely valuable in this immoral futuristic wasteland.  As drug lord Madeline Madrigal, Lena Headey (Game of Thrones) does what she does best.  She is an expert at playing people we love to hate, and she shows us why in Dredd.

Dredd is not my kind of movie.  It's decent in the moment, but it's not something I would watch by choice again.  With an intentionally cheesy lead performance from Karl Urban, a predictable plot that dabbles in mediocrity, and some strangely glittery and utterly annoying special effects thanks to Slo-Mo, Dredd gets a 0.09% rating.  Have a couple of Tequila Sunrises with this one.