VIDEO: Judge Dredd (1995)

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Charged with the crime of liking Batman & Robin, Joshua the Anarchist has been declared insane and committed to Arkham Asylum. Locked away in a padded cell, he will endure movie after movie as his doctors attempt to “treat” him. He may not have gone in a madman, but he soon will be.

In this episode, Josh will give his deranged take on the 1995 Sylvester Stallone movie Judge Dredd, where a British satirical take on fascist American cop movies gets turned into… a fascist American cop movie.

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  • Muthsarah

    YES!!  Finally, a Judge Dredd review for us stupid Americans who can’t read!

    America has a long history of (perhaps unknowingly) appropriating foreign mockery for our narrow introverted aims.  “Yankee Doodle” was a British song mocking American posturing that we took and made into one of the first patriotic songs that we introduce our young’uns to, all without a whiff of irony (we didn’t even change the lyrics).  And the movie flopped (way harder here than abroad) and pretty much kicked Stallone off the A-list.  Give America credit where credit’s due.  We’re not all dumb just because our film producers think we are.

    Anyway, I saw both this movie and Demolition Man when I was very young, and for years, I kept confusing the two of them since I remembered both of them as being flashy and stupid and little else.  I went back and watched them a couple years ago, and, to its credit, Demolition Man at least had a sense of humor.  Except, of course, for Armand Assante.  He was hilarious, and he got the tone of the movie around him just right, even if the filmmakers apparently didn’t.

    And if this last point was mentioned in the Recap, well, that’s co-incidence.  Because, obviously, I couldn’t read it.

    P.S. I was on your side (kind of) in the Batman & Robin thing (sorta).  Mostly, I was just kibitzing from the sidelines, but it was difficult to understand where you were coming from since even you were admitting the films were terribly planned, terribly produced, and had no chance at all of going over well, but were also claiming the public was wrong for hating them as we did.  I don’t think you were being unjustly persecuted for spouting a “deviant” opinion, just that the position you took (“yes, it’s bad, but you’re wrong in just how it was bad”) kind of left you in an indefensible position.  Like anyone who stands in the middle of an argument and tells both sides that they’re wrong, you’re screwed no matter what happens.  Even though I had had a few back when I posted my balls-full comment, I still think I would have been confused even had I been sober.  But you aimed for low hanging fruit here, so I think you’ll be safe this time.  And I still really like your review style.  Great energy, insightful comments, the kind that makes one want to watch the movies again to see what we’ve missed.

    • Liam Barrett

      I’ll actually stand behind Demolition Man. That is I FUN movie.

      • StevePotter

        Demolition Man is one of my favorite movies of all time. I don’t understand why there seem to be so many people who dislike it.

        • WORD. Demolition man may not be a great film, but I love every minute of it, it’s one of those movies I can watch again anytime without getting bored.

      • Thomas Stockel

         Agreed.  Demolition Man is an awesome flick.  Maybe it could have used a little more Dennis Leary, but I don’t know what they could have cut to give him more screen time.

    •  Yeah, I probably could’ve stated that differently. It’s not so much average Americans that’re dumb as it is Hollywood’s idea of average Americans. Though considering the kind’ve movies that keep making money, it hard to blame them for that assumption.

      And I’d say Demolition Man is definitely a far superior film to Judge Dredd. It’s no masterpiece, it’s political commentary is as unsubtle as you can get, but it’s hella entertaining and if nothing else, Sandra Bullock is a genuinely funny sidekick, which is more that you can say for Rob Schneider.

  • Sofie Liv


    sorry, great review, really enjoyed. Ones again I have been spared as I didn’t grow up in a country that has any-thing to do with Judge Dredd and thusly never saw this movie. But I liked how clever the review was, and may I compliment you on your set, it looks really nice. 

    •  Thanks :) I’m really proud of how it turned out.

  • Very good! This film is on tonight in the UK.

  • Matrixprime

    Can’t say I disagree with your overall opinion, but I didnt think it was all that horrible.  Schneider’s annoying character seemed to me to be a blend of that giant hick and that annoying robot that followed Dredd everywhere.

    •  I like the movie too. In fact I believe the first thing that I say about the movie in the video is “I love this movie”. It’s definitely a guilty pleasure.

  • Thomas Stockel

    Great review, Joshua! I read a few of the Judge Dread comics when I was a teenager and that satirical subtext went over my head at the time.  It was not until I was older that I saw some of what the creators were trying to accomplish.  And yeah, I see your point about where the film first went off the rails.  Up until now I always thought it was when Dread removed the helmet but you make an excellent point.  The writers, directors and producers suffered from creative cowardice.

    Oh, and in regards to Robocop?  Yeah, for some reason I never linked ‘Cop to Dread until now, I think maybe because Murphy started out human while Dread always seemed inhuman.  But yeah, you are right in that Robocop and his world mirror Dread and his.  Nicely done.

  • CDiehl

    While there is something to be said for the idea that Rico has free will, when you put forth the idea that he’s some sort of victim of an evil system, I thought “No, he’s a murdering psycho”. Worse, he chose, with his free will, to be a murdering psycho. They actually could have done something with his idea of the innocent being the guilty about to happen, even if it’s just a cheap justification for his shit (it sounds like something a crazed vigilante would say), but as it is, it’s just a throwaway line of dialogue.

    I also agree that it’s cowardly to have Dredd shoot someone who pulled a gun on him. However, I think having him shoot that person would serve a valuable purpose. It illustrates that this is not our world. Instead of having him have a gun hidden on his person, maybe he dives for the gun he dropped as he realizes where Dredd is going. Ideally, there wouldn’t be the dramatic buildup; Dredd doesn’t strike me as the sort of person who cares about being dramatic when sentencing someone, just announcing the charges and sentences and wasting him for the murder. It would be in keeping with the idea of Dredd as a law-enforcing machine. Most ideally, Dredd assigns him the prison time, ordering his execution at the end of it. That would be in keeping with how fanatical the system is about enforcing the law; you pay for all the charges.

    •  That was the idea. My little bit at the end about Rico being a misunderstood hero was intended to be satirical. The line about Rico being a criminal as a result of “mutation” got me thinking, and I started forming this whole idea about free will and whatnot. Obviously I knew there was no way that could be true from the writer’s point of view, as they go out of there way to have Rico behave as villainous as possible, but I thought it was a funny little theory. That’s why I cap it of with Rico’s famous “LAAAW” followed by me dismissing the idea.