After the comics are laid out, we have a screenfull of text, explaining the mind-numbingly unoriginal premise of Judge Dredd, which is this: in the future, the world sucks. At first I didn't know why there was a voice-over attached to this text, but then I realized that most of the audience of the film probably couldn't read.
In this happy land, Sly is a genetically-enhanced "Judge," a super-cop who dispenses judgments to criminals on the spot of their crimes. When his psychotic, also-enhanced brother (Rico, played by Armand Assante) returns from prison to get his revenge on Dredd by framing him, Sly finds himself on the run in an attempt to save himself and the world from Rico.
Yawn. Full of crappy digital effects, Judge Dredd looks like a bad B-movie from Roger Corman. Armand Assante is pathetic as the giggling villain who is supposed to be Sly's brother--I mean, Armand Assante, the guy who danced in red heels in Fatal Instinct? Yeah, right. Basically, Assante grimaces his way through 91 long minutes of this schlock so we can get to the inevitable showdown.
Judge Dredd does clear up one minor mystery for me. It answers the riddle, "How many times can one film use the plot device, 'Someone sneaks up behind someone else.'" The answer: about 20.
Everything about the movie is just ridiculous. The ultra-high tech cops don't seem to notice Rico and his 8-foot tall robot traipsing around the city. And of course, the only way to fix a flying motorcycle is to beat it with one's fist.
Dialogue saves Dredd from one-star hell. Sly's got a few good one-liners, and Rob Schneider is often funny as the comic relief sidekick. Fellow Judge Diane Lane also seems to be able to act. But that's about it.
If you want to read a comic book, save the price of the movie ticket and buy a real one.
Run time: 96 mins
In Theaters: Friday 30th June 1995
Production compaines: Cinergi Pictures Entertainment, Hollywood Pictures
Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 18%
Fresh: 9 Rotten: 42
IMDB: 5.4 / 10
Director: Danny Cannon
Screenwriter: William Wisher Jr., Steven E. De Souza
Starring: Sylvester Stallone as Judge Joseph Dredd, Diane Lane as Judge Hershey, Armand Assante as Rico, Rob Schneider as Herman 'Fergee' Ferguson, Jürgen Prochnow as Judge Griffin, Max von Sydow as Chief Justice Fargo, Christopher Adamson as Mean Machine, Joanna Miles as Judge Evelyn McGruder, Joan Chen as Dr. Ilsa Hayden, Balthazar Getty as Cadet Nathan Olmeyer, Maurice Roeves as Warden Miller, Ian Dury as Geiger, Ewen Bremner as Junior Angel, Peter Marinker as Judge Carlos Esposito, Martin McDougall as Twist