Judge Dredd is based on the character featured in British comic book 2000AD (how futuristic!) about a fascistic lawman who exercises his status as judge, jury and executioner in a bustling, overpopulated future city.
This character was actually crying out for the big screen treatment and it comes so close to working. The action sequences are thrilling, production design fantastic – particularly the depiction of the Judges, Hammerstein and Mean Angel which are all spot on – and Stallone’s physical presence suits the part down to the ground. But as is always the way with Hollywood blockbusters, it’s the script that lets it down. It begins really well, but soon descends into nonsense as a helmetless Sly gets in touch with his feminine side in the company of an unbelievably irritating and unfunny comic sidekick in the shape of Rob Schneider. The plot is basically a half-baked fusion of Robocop and Demolition Man and lacks all of the dark satirical humour that streaked the comic it was based upon, much of the dialogue being reduced to catchphrases and witless puns. And didn’t anyone realise that genetic clones would tend to have more than a passing resemblance to one another?! D’oh.
It is reasonably entertaining as a no-brain action movie but it most certainly does not do the source material justice.