I did my top 20 horror and SF films last year, and found doing the lists to be more fun than expected, so in a massive bit of logic here’s my top 20 films adapted or inspired from comics. I need to point out I mean comics, not ‘superhero comics’ which is a lazy, and incorrect way to describe a wonderfully varied medium and it’d also cut out some bloody good films!
Previously, in this list at #20, X Men, 19, The Crow, 18, Heavy Metal, 17, Spider Man ,16, The Avengers, 15, Danger: Diabolik, 14, The Dark Knight Trilogy , 13, A History of Violence, 12, Kick Ass , 11,Spider Man 2 , 10, Barbarella, 9, Batman Returns and 8, X Men 2.
The streets of Mega City One are a hard place in Dredd.
This is the second attempt to bring John Wagner and Carlos Esquerra’s strip from 2000AD onto the screen and the Sylvester Stallone Judge Dredd film, which frankly, isn’t bad if you ignore Stallone as soon as he takes his helmet off. Thankfully no helmets of any shape or description come of Dredd’s head in this film, though heads do suffer a number of various injuries in the film.
Thankfully Karl Urban isn’t as vain as Stallone so he keeps the helmet on and does a virtually perfect job as Dredd, though the problem is that the film doesn’t have the satire on modern society that Wagner and other writers, chiefly Pat Mills and Alan grant, have filled the strip with over the years. In fact, Dredd feels in places a little bit like a John Carpenter action film which is a compliment, but again there’s none of the humour you’d see there. The first Judge Dredd film may have been mainly bollocks, but it at least captured the sense of fun of the comics and of course, the production design was vastly superior to Dredd, but that film had the money to spend, even if the script was awful.
The lack of humour and satire in Dredd aside, the film works perfectly as a Carpenter-esque stripped down action film with Judge Dredd and his rookie Judge Anderson trapped in a Cityblock (a skyscraper holding millions of people) fighting to get to the top and stop an evil drug lord. That’s the plot. It’s thin but it’s enough to hold down the film and get it to do what it needs to which is introduce a stripped down Judge Dredd for an international audience and it, mainly, works.
Sadly although it did well in the UK and some other parts of the world, the Americans went in their droves not to see this which is a pity considering the frankly awful action films that do well there.
Anyhow, it’s unlikely we’ll see a sequel, or indeed any future film featuring Judge Dredd, so enjoy this one.
Next up, have you ever danced with the devil in the pale moonlight?