Judge Dredd (1995)

Despite handsome casting and sharp production values, last month's 
second comic-book-to-film is a failure from the get-go.  The tone 
problems start in the very first scenes, after James Earl Jones' somber 
narration introduces the judicial system of the future, where "judges" 
roam the streets of Mega City One, acting as judge, jury, and 
executioner.  The toughest judge is Judge Dredd (Sly Stallone), who's 
emotionless commitment to "da law" strikes fear in the hearts of evil 

Boasting a great set-up, JUDGE DREDD sounds tougher than it really is. 
The screenplay-- by Stephen DeSouza and William Wisher-- tries to cover 
too many bases at once, as if Disney decided that a Fascist character in 
a graphic comic book could have some sort of mass audience appeal.  So, 
they give Judge Dredd a hollow sense of humor, a female Judge/love-
interest/sparring-partner (Diane Lane), and even a comic sidekick in the 
person of Rob Schneider, who obviously didn't learn *his* lesson after 
appearing alongside Stallone in DEMOLITION MAN.  

Actually, *that* film is much more enjoyable than the wasted work here. 
Director Danny Cannon has visualized correctly, but the story contains 
way too much absurdity.  Sci-fi hillbillies; malfunctioning motorcycles; 
and, yes, even a cat-fight between Lane and Joan Chen.  Sigh.  The whole 
thing is actually not awful until about the last twenty minutes, when 
Stone and Armande Assante (the villain) are standing and shouting in 
each other's faces, their respectively flawed diction trying to work 
their mouths in the direction of north by northwest.

BOTTOM LINE: Dreadful.

Grade: D+

Copyright 1995 by Michael J. Legeros

Originally posted to triangle.movies

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