Dan Cole’s review:
Pete Travis brings Judge Dredd into the realm of the plausible with his hyper-realistic take on the futuristic law man. Travis forgoes the comic book film norm of delivering an origin story and instead hits the ground running. Aided by a streamlined script by Alex Garland, Travis gives the audience all they need to know without dumping needless exposition on them. The set-up is simple but effective and allows the film to revel in the violence and grit of the world Travis and Garland have created. It does wander a bit at the end when a few more Judges become involved, but on the whole the narrative is well-paced and engaging.
Travis goes to town with the violence and the film will have many in awe of its surprisingly visceral nature. His use of the drug at the heart of the story is visually striking and works well with the 3D presentation. However the film as a whole has sacrificed an interesting visual milieu in favour for a realistic aesthetic. Its "used" future style works well for this interpretation, but it has no impact and lacks the colourful weirdness of the source material.
As for Dredd himself Karl Urban does a good job. He delivers a few wisecracks that actually work, but on the whole he is as ruthless and "realistic" as his surroundings. He just fits into the film, much like Thirlby and Headey. However the rest of the cast are ropey at best, but most of them serve as a walking body count so they don't distract from the film.
Dredd is an solid piece of action cinema, with a pounding soundtrack, brutal action and a fitting leading performance.