Judge Dredd (1995) (part 2 of 2)

What Didn’t Work:

The Script:

As much as I enjoy the movie, as a screenwriter, I do have to say the script is rather undercooked. None of the actors aside from Assante are given much to chew on (Prochnow and von Sydow just naturally deliver the goods, regardless of the material), and while the plot point of Dredd and Rico being brothers cloned from the same DNA sample is taken from the comics, it still feels a little bland.

Caption contributed by Ed

Why hide your face, Sly? It’s not like you wrote the damn thing!

It doesn’t help much that the plot in general has a very generic and arbitrary feel to it. There isn’t much in the way of obstacles for Dredd. He’s framed for murder, he gets stranded outside the city, he gets back in, and he clears his name, end of story.

To read the rest of this article, support the Agony Booth on Patreon.
This post is available to our patrons who pledge $2 or more per month on Patreon. Click the “Unlock with Patreon” button below to sign up with Patreon or to log in with your existing Patreon account.
Already a qualifying Patreon member? Refresh to access this content.

Ed Harris

A fan of less than great cinema since childhood, Ed divides his time between writing scripts, working an actual paying job and subjecting himself willingly to some of the worst films society has produced.

Multi-Part Article: Judge Dredd (1995)

You may also like...

  • Toby’c

    I rewatched this about a week ago and I agree with everything you just said. It kinda leaves me wondering whether the new version will be anywhere near as fun as this, faithfulness to the comic aside.

    While I didn’t really have a problem with him taking his helmet off (not having any other experience of the character), I suspect it would have gone over better if they had saved that until he was actually sentenced and stripped of his title.

    • edharris1178

       I agree, that would have worked very well.

    • Thomas Stockel

       Okay, now that would have made it more dramatic.  Seeing him in uniform, stripped, the last thing to go the helmet. I would have made the movie a little better, at least.

  • Thomas Stockel

    I gotta say I was disappointed with the film when I saw it, and nothing has changed my mind.  I read some of those 2000 AD comics so I had in my mind certain  expectations and like you said, it just turned into another Sylvester Stallone vehicle.

    As for not seeing his face.  Robocop, anyone?  Half the movie you don’t see Murphy’s face and yet Peter Weller is able to emote despite that.  I think Stallone seldom wearing the helmet was more due to ego than any creative decision.  But I could be wrong.

    • CDiehl

      I don’t think this turned into a Stallone vehicle so much as it was made to be one from the time he became involved. Remember that back in 1995, he was still an A-list movie star. No way in hell would they make a movie with Sylvester Stallone in it and cover his face for the entire movie. I don’t think it’s ego so much as the things that feed ego.

      Also, I tend to imagine that a good part of how this movie got to be a major motion picture was that Stallone was involved. I doubt in 1995 the idea of a movie of the comic book Judge Dredd would get a lot of interest, but put Stallone in it, and people will give it a shot. These days, I imagine the current Judge Dredd movie got made on the back of being based on a comic book, which has value now. However, I doubt a lot of people are thinking about the comic book when they think of seeing that movie, so much as they’re thinking of this movie. I realize it’s not a remake, but it has the same name as a Stallone movie from when he was big, so that’s why this somewhat less huge movie is happening now.

      • Thomas Stockel

         Those are some good points.

    • Elfshotthefood

       Apparently Stallone was willing to wear the helmet for the entire movie, but the producers weren’t fans of the idea.

      • Thomas Stockel

         Ah,  never heard that before.

      • edharris1178

         News to me as well, interesting.

      • Kids today!

        Really? That would have been interesting to watch.

  • CDiehl

    I think I know where the satirical part of this movie went. It ended up in Demolition Man. I know that was made before Judge Dredd, but I imagine those them as more serious vs. less serious mirror image of each other. Now that I think of it, I kind of wish someone would stick them back in theatres as a twin bill. I’d pay to watch them, silly as they both are, just as a throwback or relic of an earlier era of action movies.

  • Immortan Scott

    I didn’t care for this movie, but the Mean Machine fight was nine kinds of kick-ass.

  • The_Stig

    Say what you will about this film, but at least they got Dredd’s costume right. This wasn’t nearly as bad as people say it was. The script was really the biggest problem. I don’t think anybody would have made nearly as much a stink about the helmet issue if the script had been better. 

    Even Rob Schneider was good in this and Rob Schneider isn’t good in anything.

    • edharris1178

       I agree.

  • drdvdplayerhandbook

    I have a soft spot for this movie.  Not being familiar with the comic, I never could tell how good of an adaptation it was, but I think as an action movie it was a lot of fun.