So once again we have survived.

Judge Dredd

tn_judgedreddHow are you gonna get em back on JUDGE DREDD with Sylvester Stallone when they’ve seen DREDD with Karl Urban? The new version is lower budget and streamlined and way better. It’s dedicated to the purity of this fascist character and the ugly world he lives in, and doesn’t worry about commercial considerations. (And sure enough did not do well commercially.) The new version is cool because it’s just about this larger than life character on one day doing one job. The old one, of course, had to be the story of the biggest thing that ever happened to Judge Dredd. It has all the weaknesses of calculated blockbuster type filmmaking, and only some of the strengths.

But you know what, it’s pretty fun to watch. There’s alot of good shit in here anyway, especially at the beginning. It’s a little better than I remembered.

JUDGE DREDD does more explaining of the world and the justice system than DREDD does, and the introduction to these concepts is actually the most enjoyable part of the movie. Mega-City One is a BLADE RUNNERish metropolis in a future where people gather in these giant urban hellholes because it’s better than the nuclear wastelands that cover the rest of the earth.

Visually the movie is very impressive and detailed with lots of big sets, elaborate costumes, many extras, and probly more miniatures than CGI. We see the city through the eyes of Herman Ferguson, a hacker who’s just been paroled. There are some nice FX sequences of flying down between the mammoth buildings. It really gives you that feel of coming into a big city on a plane and seeing everything get closer and start to surround you. So I guess Herman is our eyes in this movie, and also the comic relief character. And he’s played by, uh, Rob Schneider.

You know I was thinking about Rob Schneider, as we sometimes have to do in this society. He’s a comedy guy obviously but he has an appearance in DEMOLITION MAN and then he’s Stallone’s sidekick in this one and Van Damme’s sidekick in KNOCK OFF. That’s not a bad ’90s action movie resume compared to alot of actors. I honestly might respect it if he showed up in THE EXPENDABLES 3. I mean hopefully he would get expended quick, but as meta as they insist on getting in those movies they might as well acknowledge Mr. Schneider’s status as a veteran action movie comedy sidekick.

mp_judgedreddHerman unfortunately goes home to a housing project that’s in the middle of guerilla warfare, or as they probly call it in Mega-City One, “a weekday.” His roommates are a bunch of sci-fi movie street gang guys led by James Remar, who are shooting and throwing bombs out the window at rioters in the streets. Suddenly the cops show up, including Judge Dredd (Sylvester Stallone) and his rookie partner Judge Hershey (Diane Lane), and they try to pacify everybody.

In the JUDGE DREDD world, which comes from a British comic book, crime is so bad in the Mega-Cities that they had to make some changes to the system to keep shit under control. In this future the intro to Law & Order would say, “In the criminal justice system the people are represented by one group: the judges, who investigate crime, and also prosecute and punish the offenders. These are their stories of going around arresting people or blowing them up.”

These “street judges” have the same equipment as in DREDD: heavy armor, tinted, eye-covering helmets, bulky, armored motorcycles, and powerful “Lawgiver” guns with many capabilities ranging from bullets to rockets. In this version the armor is much more ceremonial and opulent, it has huge golden shoulder covers, one of them shaped like an eagle. I bet Ghostface Killah would actually wear those. Appropriately they hired Gianni Versace to design it.

So Dredd blows everybody away, we see how he works, and when he finds Herman cowering inside a garbage disposing robot (not as cute as Wall-E) he sentences him to 5 years for tampering with public property. So we can see that the system is not as fair as it is awesome.

Back at the police station we learn more about how it all works, because we see the Supreme Court who are in charge of the police (including Dredd’s mentor Chief Justice Fargo, played by Max von Sydow) and we hear Dredd give an intimidating speech to new recruits about the joyless life of a Judge before he or she chooses to retire and take “The Long Walk” (go out into the wasteland to bring law to the mutants and shit). He talks about “the law” like it’s a religion and he’s a preacher. An apocalyptic one who seems grimly resigned to a horrible fate.

That’s all great but the trouble is there’s a conspiracy afoot. This guy Judge Griffin is played by Jurgen Prochnow, so let’s face it, we know he’s a bad guy. And he’s conspiring to bust out Rico (Armand Assante), a psychotic ex-Judge (and Dredd’s test tube brother) who’s locked up at the penal colony in Aspen. (I like that that a ski resort becomes a prison in the future.) Rico comes to Mega-City One, puts on Judge armor, and using his Dredd-like DNA is able to set Dredd up for some murders. One thing that’s cool, he goes to a pawn shop and buys a battle robot. It’s from some past war, it’s like buying an antique WWII grenade or landmine or something. It’s not supposed to work, but he fixes it.

Unfortunately the movie goes downhill as soon as the plot kicks in and Dredd becomes a fugitive. He’s stripped of his armor, and I’ve read that the comic book fans hated that because he always has the helmet in the comic strips. That’s why Urban’s face is never shown in DREDD. I gotta agree with the nerds on this one, not for comicalistic fidelity reasons but because when he takes the armor off he just becomes a generic Stallone character. Wearing the ridiculous getup he’s willing to be more over-the-top but without it he plays it safe and tries to be the Stallone that doesn’t bother with the type of distinctive character work he does in a Rambo, a Rocky or BULLET TO THE HEAD or something like that. Just the standard issue Stallone, except this time he is the law instead of being the cure for crime.

There are still some good parts. Dredd and Herman’s prison transport (not a bus, but a flying ship, because it’ s the future) crashes out in the wastelands where they’re abducted by a family of cannibals called the Angel Gang. The family includes an inbred named Junior (Ewen Bremner, JULIEN DONKEY-BOY), a giant cyborg named Link (Phil Smeeton) and of course a redneck preacher man patriarch named Pa. I knew I recognized him but it took me a minute to place him as Scott Wilson, aka Herschel from The Walking Dead.

DREDD teaches us the beauty of economy and limited scale. Just the story of the prisoner ship going down in cannibal territory would make a great sci-fi western. In a big movie like this, though, it’s just one brief tangent it goes on and it has to rush through to get to the flying motorcycle chase (Herman gets so scared he pees his pants!) and the fight inside the blown-open head of the Statue of Liberty. Kind of a cliche setting for a blockbuster climax, but I’ll allow it for the appropriate symbolism. American freedom broken open, engulfed in violence, surrounded by taller buildings.

I like this detail about the motorcycles: they have screens that read “MALFUNCTION” when the engine won’t turn over. He just has to bang on the screen a couple times to get it going, like an old TV.

There’s a tradition of these R-rated action sci-fi movies with elements of cultural satire: ROBOCOP, STARSHIP TROOPERS, TOTAL RECALL, RUNNING MAN, DEMOLITION MAN. I love that kind of shit. This is not one of the better ones, but it does have enough of the elements to be enjoyable at times. It’s funny that because it’s based on a comic book they feel they gotta end with a profile of Dredd on top of a tall building, overlooking his city, like the last shot in BATMAN (1989), except Dredd’s on a motorcycle. Then, weirdly, something called “The Dredd Song” by The Cure plays over the end credits. One of the very few Sylvester Stallone vehicles to have that type of moping over the credits.

The story is credited to Michael De Luca (one-time New Line Cinema head and writer of IN THE MOUTH OF MADNESS) and William Wisher Jr. (TERMINATOR 2), screenplay to Wisher and Steven E. de Souza (COMMANDO, DIE HARD, RUNNING MAN, HUDSON HAWK, RICOCHET, STREET FIGHTER, KNOCK OFF…). I’m gonna credit de Souza with the nice tough guy line where Dredd advises Rico “Don’t miss,” but maybe also with the shitty one where he throws him off Lady Liberty and says “Court’s adjourned.” Oh well. I guess I’m okay with it. Maybe that’s what he was trained to always say, for legal reasons. For all we know it doesn’t count if he doesn’t say “court’s adjourned” and that’s why there are lawyers.

Director Danny Cannon, after this shot at big budget filmmaking, scaled down for I STILL KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER and mostly does TV shows like Nikita now.

I’m trying to put my finger on exactly why this doesn’t quite come off to me as Verhoevian satire. The hero of the movie has the official job of passing sentence on, and often personally executing, civilians as he encounters them in the street. Not only do they not get a trial, he doesn’t even spend much time deliberating. But when he gets in trouble there’s a tribunal system so he gets to introduce evidence in his defense. His partner is trained as a lawyer – I guess just in case this happens, since most citizens would never be allowed legal representation. Even within this more democratic part of the legal system he gets railroaded, convicted of a crime he didn’t commit, just like his sidekick who he unfairly convicted.

At the end of the movie Dredd has cleared his name, but he happily returns to his fascist job, having only learned that it’s okay to “be human” by kissing a girl. I’m glad it doesn’t pull a ROBOCOP 3 and have characters point out that this world is unfair. It’s closer to the ROBOCOP and STARSHIP TROOPERS approach of pretending to endorse what’s going on, and with an absurd level of enthusiasm about it.

The problem is – and I’m open to the idea that I’m wrong about this – it doesn’t seem like we’re supposed to notice anything wrong with Dredd going back to work at the end. It seems like we’re supposed to be satisfied that he’s the hero and he likes girls. If I’m right about that then I’m gonna blame the classic too-many-cooks problem. Clearly many smart people were involved in the writing and crafting of the movie, but somewhere in the journey from idea to corporate product they might’ve lost track of what they were trying to do.

Or maybe it’s just too subtle for me.


VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.
This entry was posted on Friday, March 22nd, 2013 at 10:27 pm and is filed under Action, Comic strips/Super heroes, Reviews, Science Fiction and Space Shit. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

96 Responses to “Judge Dredd”

  1. I really love the production design of this movie. Mega-City One looking like a real shitropolis and a pretty dead on Lawgiver, Cursed Earth and Angel Gang. As well as the ABC Warrior. It really did LOOK like an issue of 2000 AD even if it didn’t FEEL like one outside of the first 10 – 15 minutes or so. Loved the lawmaster and lawgiver too.

    It’s been quite a while since I last saw this. I also slept on DREDD when it was in theaters. Which is funny considering how much I used to really like the source material growing up. So maybe I should take some time out and make room for a double bill of both movies pretty soon now that the new one is on home video. It will be interesting to spot the similarities and glaring differences and how each was able to be faithful to the source material in it’s own way in one sitting.

  2. Forgot to mention that this one also has one of my favorite movie scores from the 90’s. Very slept on movie music.

  3. it’s been a long time since I’ve seen this and all I remember are some cool visuals, but pretty boring everything else

  4. and it’s sad how visuals are no longer a saving grace for movies, what was cool in the 90’s was they still used so much real stuff, like sets and whatnot, now it’s all humdrum CGI

  5. I don’t know why, but I always found the part where his family picture morphed back into one of him in the lab as hilarious. It felt like the movie makers couldn’t decide if they wanted a straight-up action film, a deep satirical take on society, a serious commentary on cloning and using science for evil, or be Demolition Man 2. A Taco Bell cameo would seal that for me.

  6. No black comedy = missed the point of the property = no deal!
    Great design and a great look wasted.
    Bloody good point about that crop of ’90s R sci-fi satires… this could have been a great but completely omitted the satire.

  7. I could do without Rob Schneider in this movie.

  8. Chris Cunningham worked on that movie too. I think he designed the make up of the Angel family and/or did that seriously cool robot.

  9. It was okay. The scope, the visuals, the effects are impressive. The basics of plot, character and action are adequate, and I just fancy big scifi spectacle.

    But I remember how Schneider just destroyed every scene he was in. He was trying to be funny with every line and every expression, and failed every time. It’s really nerve-grating when someone is trying that hard to be funny, and failing that miserably. He also has piss-poor chemistry with Stallone, the two aren’t playing well off each other at all.

    Considering Schneider’s amount of screentime – It’s essentially a buddy movie with him being 2nd billing – the whole film takes down two steps with him. Granted, writing and directing are also to blame, but a better comedic actor might have made it work.

    Without Schneider, it would be a pretty solid actioner with impressive production value.

  10. I loved the new Dredd film BUT… Stallone’s Judge Dredd film did capture the look, feel and vibe of Mega City One. Whilst Urban’s Dredd did the interior of the Mega Block well, for me when they did the city wide shot I was disappointed that the Mega Blocks were set really far apart, therefore removing the chance of Block Wars, the claustrophobic crowded vibe of the streets and Sky Surfing… I so wish they just showed someone carrying an Anti-Gravity Surfboard OR right at the end of the film we see someone jump off a building and sky-surf down to streets, carving through the traffic, cut to Dredd watching it, he reports it in and burns after them.

  11. “Eat recycled food. It’s good for the environment and OK for you!”

    Brilliant.

    Not Robocop brilliant, but like Robocop 2 brilliant.

  12. RawBeard- yeah,MegaCityOne was in the comics a really cramped space where people lived so tightly together, tension could just explode into violence anytime.

    I´m not a big fan of any of the DREDD-flicks, but the new one is a much better movie in every single aspect
    than this trainwreck. But the sets are great,though and James Remar is in it for a little bit. I guess that´s something.

  13. The new one’s of course much better, but I think the first half of this is okay. He should of course never have taken his helmet off, but Stallone’s no Urban.

  14. It is notable how much fanservice this one has(more named characters from the source material, the Cursed Earth, ABC Warriors, The Angel Gang, the Lawmaster motorcycle, overall more faithful look to the city) compared to DREDD yet the later one is still more satisfying to fans due to plot and characterisation. And if they were going to have him remove his helmet, couldn’t they have forgone those distracting blue eye contact lenses, so we couldn’t be mistaken that Dredd (played an italian american) and Rico (played by a hispanic actor) were twin brother clones of a Fargo (played by a Scandinavian)?

    “In the criminal justice system the people are represented by one group: the judges, who investigate crime, and also prosecute and punish the offenders. These are their stories of going around arresting people or blowing them up.”
    Funny, though in actuality, Dredd could make a decent tv show if done by the same people as SPARTACUS for Starz.

  15. We live in good times, the Golden Age of Comic Book Movies where the people making these movies for the most part are fans and at least capture to a degree the essence for non-readers/fans what made those comics engaging in the first place. DREDD to me was the real Judge Dredd come alive. That character is given justice finally.

    Problem with JUDGE DREDD was it was produced back in the 1990s, when you didn’t have much of a track record for CBMs, and this was produced after the heavy backlash against Tim Burton’s BATMAN RETURNS For being too dark and too uncommercial. (Funny how well that has aged methinks in the last 20 years or so). God forbid you take a cool, fascinating property and actually try to make that movie. No you had to mutate it, and usually that just fucks it up to the point that its a waste of time. This is one bland film, ignoring the comic issues. Much Much different times in Hollywood folks.

    Sad because Stallone is a great casting choice for Dredd. But sadly he and almost everybody else on that movie just dropped the ball.

    DREDD worked because they understand that character. He’s the least interesting, most bland element quite frankly in his own strip. He follows the law, and kicks ass and that’s that. You’re not stuck with typical superhero/comic book protagonist angst or love stories or whatever, which we got in JUDGE DREDD.

    The charm in 2000 A.D. was this whole fucked up dystopic future around him, the crazy adversaries he’s put up against and just as nuts adventures he and his (pretty colorful) co-workers go through. Sometimes he saves the whole world, and other days he nukes the Russian mega-cities after they nuked Mega City One. But most of the time its just your daily grind of mundane crimes (within genre fiction) if usually with a sci-fi twist. You get clever satire (as great sci-fi can be) of the current politics, but as well if you just want action, Judge Dredd can give you that too.

    (Case in point that one storyline where loan sharks demand collateral, which are the customers’ relatives who are then frozen until repayment is made. That’s genius.)

    I hate that DREDD tanked, but it got terrific reviews including the Vern seal of approval. Its a good movie, it just got fucked mostly because of JUDGE DREDD. Not to mention that character is unknown in America, except at best for the Sly picture. But who knows, maybe it’ll do well on DVD and we’ll get DTV sequels?

  16. Vern, for that upcoming MAN OF STEEL, will you consider reviewing the other Superman movies? I always love it when you do your tie-in movie review series tying in with a new release or event.

  17. Yeah, please do. I’ve recently seen all of them – including Donner’s version of Supe 2 – and would really like to hear your take on them.

  18. I’ve seen the first two (or 3 if you count the Donner cut) and I saw part IV a few years back with zero interest in revisiting that turkey. Need to rewatch SM3*, and I never saw SUPERGIRL before. So yeah that should be fun discussions.

    *=So you’re the Salkinds, and just produced two pretty successfull, well-liked Superman movies. How do you follow up with part 2? We’ve got many Superman baddies to use from Metallo to Brainiac, we got many elements left untouched like the bottled city of Kandor and Supergirl and Krypto and so on.

    Nah fuck all that, we push aside our cash cow in favor of a coked up, overpaid comedian! BRILLIANT! A license to print money!

    (At least thats my memory of SM3.)

  19. If you do the Superman movies, you HAVE to do Supergirl. It’s the Teen Wolf, Too of the Superman series. Minus the skanky college girls in a wolf threesome.

    I loved that movie just because it a female superhero who was no one’s sidekick, which was hard to come by in the 80’s on the big screen. (Hell, it’s hard to come by now.) I had Supergirl underoos that I totally rocked, which was okay because I was six.

  20. Also, there’s a lot of talk here about Rob Schneider being one of the biggest problems with Judge Dredd. I’ve started watching season four of Justified, and it makes me wonder how much of the tone would have changed in Judge Dredd if a comedian like Patton Oswalt had been the comic sidekick.

  21. SUPERMAN IV is so bad its good. It really is. Also SUPERMAN 3 is a lot more entertaining than let say,SUPERMAN RETURNS. I love how Superman becomes evil (the explanation is so goddamn vague it´s kinda great) and later fights his alterego Clark Kent in a scrapyard.

    It also has Robert Vaughn as a villain trying to kill Superman while playing a missile launching videogame. Sure,SM3 has some irritating comedybits, but the rest of the movie clearly is a lot better and more fun than most people give it credit.

  22. Superman 3 has two little traffic light men punching each other.

    That’s all.

  23. One Guy From Andromeda

    March 24th, 2013 at 7:01 am

    It had a lot going for it, but the script was just shit in the end (probably not least because of Stallone’s “star power” – taking off the helmet, lame comic sidekick, not enough satire and so on) – which is a shame because Stallone with the Helmet on was a fucking great Dredd. When Urban curls his lips down he looks like a little boy playing tough, but when Stallone does it it just looks natural…

  24. It’s really frustrating when the work of creatives gets flushed down the toilet by poor studio decisions. I’m not sure who exactly is responsible for the general mediocrity of Judge Dredd, but as others have mentioned, the city itself looks great. I can only imagine the reactions of the art director, set designers, etc. when they saw the finished product. They create this great world and the script just lets it all go to hell.

    I think I’ve mentioned before that Superman 3 was a traumatic experience for me as a child (the end, when all the villains get turned into robots, freaked me the fuck out). But the moment when the walk and don’t walk signals get into a fight nearly broke my brain. I just couldn’t wrap my head around what was happening because it didn’t make any logical sense.

  25. Shoot McKay – “Also SUPERMAN 3 is a lot more entertaining than let say,SUPERMAN RETURNS.”

    Absolutely. SUPERMAN III has some crazy insane entertainment. Robot lady, Superman Vs. Alcoholic Superman, Gus Gorman at points (yes I said it). It takes such a giant shift from it’s predecessors you can’t help but admire it. The surrogate Lex Luthor being the only thing truly similar to the first 2. I genuinely do love the SMALLVILLE scenes too. But hell even SUPERMAN IV was more entertaining than SUPERMAN RETURNS.

  26. SUPERMAN 3 (along with number 2) has the benefit of having a Master of Cinema behind the camera (without question the finest filmmaker ever to tackle superhero material, and with SUPERMAN 2 I think he also created the definitive work within the genre, but I digress). He may not have had any great interest in the character (but he did some very interesting things with him) but SUPERMAN 3 is a good illustration of the Lester aesthetic regardless. The opening scene is a fucking complex piece of filmatism, put together with such ease I’m in awe whenever I see it. Contemporary action filmmakers should study it, as scenes of visual comedy and action are very similar in construction (I would argue that Buster Keaton invented the action movie…and I don’t think anyone has actually bettered him). Whether or not it’s actually funny is another question. I lean towards yes.

    Saw JUDGE DREDD this morning, and it was a lot less terrible than I remembered. Still, not very good, but there were a bunch of things I enjoyed, mainly related to the great production values on display. The chase scene was very impressive. Can’t remember seeing such complex effect work in a mid-nineties movie. It played like a a warm-up to the similar chase in ATTACK OF THE CLONES. Also worth noting is the fact that Armand Assante can ham it up like a real pro…Where the hell did he go?

  27. The original Paul

    March 24th, 2013 at 11:02 am

    Ooooh boy. “Judge Dredd”. This review’s been a long time coming, and while I agree with what a lot of Vern’s said, I also agree with a lot of what RRA’s said. This definitely had bits that could have – hell, should have – been good. But everything in it is so half-baked and unsatisfying. The movie doesn’t feel as though anybody really thought about it too much. The more interesting concepts that Vern points out seem to have appeared in the movie more by accident than as part of a deliberate creative plan.

    And let me disagree with the majority on one thing here. I don’t like the visuals. There’s a Mad Max-esque apocalypse that you see for about five minutes, and the rest of the film is just darkness and grimy cold steel. I didn’t think it looked good at all. I thought it looked cheap.

    In a way, I think it’s interesting to compare Stallone’s failures, because the reasons for their failure are so different. Take “Stop or my Mom will shoot”. This movie fails, very simply, because the two central characters are so charmless, ill-conceived (Stallone as a henpecked mama’s boy?) and badly-acted, and we’re stuck with them for the entire running time. “D-Tox” takes what could have been a great premise and just fails to execute any part of it. And “The Expendables” is just noisy, incoherent and obnoxious in every way – the scoring is noisy, the editing is noisy, the camerawork is noisy. So all three of these movies fail for very different reasons to each other, and to “Judge Dredd”, but I think the one thing that unites them all is simple laziness. I feel like all four movies had the potential to be better than they were (well, maybe not “Stop or my Mom…”) if somebody had, y’know, given a shit.

    And the thing about the “Robocop” comparison that I think people maybe forget is that, love him or loathe him, Verhoven is a FREAKING GENIUS. He was (and is) an artist who always brings a strong creative vision to whatever he’s working on. Can’t say that about whoever it was that put Rob Schneider in a “Judge Dredd” movie.

  28. Huh. Apparently, I thought JUDGE DREDD and DEMOLITION MAN were the same movie. Reading your synopsis I kept thinking, “When does Sandra Bullock and Wesley Snipes come into this? When is he going to talk about sex and red meat being outlawed?” I guess that’s how memorable JUDGE DREDD was for me. Granted, I haven’t seen it since it first came out on video, but it sounds like my subconscious couldn’t handle two Stallone futuristic cop action movies existing in the same decade.

  29. Stop or My Mom Will Shoot was in a large part trying to cash in on the popularity of Estelle Getty on The Golden Girls as much as it was trying to replicate Arnold’s comedic success (box office) wih Stallone. (Did Vern review Oscar, yet?) The pairing was so off, though, that it would have been better to have Bea Arthur in the Stallone Role.

  30. Anyone ever notice the similarities between Judge Dredd’s helmet and Cobra’s sunglasses? In both Judge Dredd and Cobra, Sly’s eyes are obscured while he engages in some badassery and random heroics. Once he removes the helmet/sunglasses, the plot instantly begins.

  31. Broddie was absolutely right about Alan Silvestri’s superb score to “Judge Dredd”: it captures “epic” in a way that few contemporary scores manage, with particular credit to the two bookends to the movie (the final “cut to black” has a real punch). Few seem to know that the composer originally scheduled to take on the film was the great Jerry Goldsmith: fortunately for us, although he did not end up scoring the film, he gave us an outstanding minute-or-so’s worth of score to the trailer – a wonderfully driven theme, with an unforgettable use of anvil. Do rewind and take a listen.

  32. Take two: “…it’s fortunate for us that, although he did not end up scoring the film, [Goldsmith] left us with an outstanding score to the trailer…”
    Apologies!

  33. Any discussion of SUPERMAN III and IV must include the deleted scenes from SUPERMAN IV: THE QUEST FOR PEACE. If you own the DVD set and have never popped in SUPERMAN IV, you owe it to yourself to right now watch the 30 minutes or so of scenes that weren’t up to the high standards of SUPERMAN IV: THE QUEST FOR PEACE. Let’s just say Nuclear Man was not the first Nuclear Man. I cannot believe the deleted Nuclear Man was even put before cameras. Only in the ’80s.

    As Franchise Fred I do approve of SUPERMAN III. Also only in the ’80s would someone think to put a hip current comedian in a comic book movie. I don’t really see how it’s any worse than creating an original character instead of someone from the comics. I may be influenced by the fact that I was five when I saw it, but it still holds up to me. There are some great Superman action scenes – freezing the lake, the dumpster battle, and the whole drunk Superman sequence. The robot lady gave me nightmares too.

    I love SUPERMAN RETURNS. The idea of an indie relationship drama in a $250 million superhero movie, I don’t know how Singer still gets work after he pulled that one over on them. I find the action in it totally boring but the drama is awesome. So is Spacey. I would have liked to see SUPERMAN RETURNS AGAIN though.

  34. Forrest Taft – 3 sure, but Lester didn’t direct most of SM2. And most of the “comedic” stuff you’re talking about for that film, ala Gene Hackman, was done by Donner.

    I didn’t find SM3 that funny the last time I saw it? I mean Richard Lester has done funny movies before, and inspired ones at that. Where was the HELP! or A HARD DAY’S NIGHT guy on SM3? Nowhere, but I’ll give this another chance in time for Vern’s review series.

    (Unless I’m mistaken, didn’t SM3 have a scene that was an outtake from SM2?)

    Fred Topel – Funny both part IV and SR have one thing in common: Unbelievably deleting expensive, lengthy sequences that I’m sure took a long time to pull off yet they hit the editing bay floor.

    Oh dear, I don’t want to bust my nuts on this topic until we actually do that review series. So I’ll save myself for it. Sorry for going off topic folks (its my speciality it seems) but man I hope Vern does that. I mean fucking harmony between timing and topic. Do it Vern, DO IT!

  35. Also does it make any sense folks if I try to compare JUDGE DREDD to another notorious bomb in David Lynch’s DUNE?

    Think about it. Like JD, Dune is the sort of property you look at and think “gee that would be an interesting, perhaps even good movie.” But then the money gets involved and basically at some point they want to not make THAT movie but instead a commercial, pretty bland, universally/family appealing movie. Or worse try to be both and failing at both.

    On paper, hiring Lynch at the time was inspired because anybody that has read that book knows there is some weirdass shit that’s taken for granted in that universe, and hey this dude made ERASERHEAD. The problem was DeLaurentiis saw Dune as basically I guess STAR WARS meets LAWRENCE OF ARABIA, which is a simplified, space opera opinion of that book. But hey you hired Lynch and this book was a best-selling novel with alot of best-selling sequels and lots of fans. So hey lets try to be both, and oh shit we’re fucked. (Then again Lynch didn’t help himself by literally carrying over those inner-monologues as whispers. )

    ACtually this metaphor has a fatal flaw. JD for its problems at least it looks big budget, to me at least. DeLaurentiis unsurprisingly spent all his money up and thus for what was the biggest budget movie of its time (or one of the priciest ever at least), you got dimestore FX that does nobody any favors.

  36. Speaking of Harmony, I wonder if Vern is going to review TRASH HUMPERS 2: SPRING BREAKERS? I’ve seen reviews all over the place, describing it as anything from another pointless Korine wankfest to a brilliant, misunderstood masterpiece.

  37. The deleted scene from RETURNS is bafflingly pointless and it’s hard to fathom why someone didn’t put a stop to that early, but you will not believe what they shot with the first Nuclear Man. It’s legendary.

    My problems with DUNE are probably the things it got right about the book. All that talking about kingdoms and crops just loses me. It’s why I can’t follow GAME OF THRONES and yes, I know,I should be following GAME OF THRONES. that’s why I used it as an example.

  38. !Think about it. Like JD, Dune is the sort of property you look at and think “gee that would be an interesting, perhaps even good movie.” But then the money gets involved and basically at some point they want to not make THAT movie but instead a commercial, pretty bland, universally/family appealing movie. Or worse try to be both and failing at both.”

    RE:

    Dune has a lot of problems, but I don’t think being a commercial, bland family movie is one of them. The film is far from commercial, bland, and it’s definitely not a family movie. It’s weird, fucked-up thing that supposedly shouldn’t come out from a major studio, especially not as a supposed tentpole picture.

    I think a more accurate description would be that Lynch was simply a completely wrong choice for Dune. A journeyman director with mainstream sensibilities would have made a more coherent film out of it.

  39. Also to add on previous post, the Dune novel isn’t some high-brow, artsy work. It’s a pretty straight-forward old school sci-fi adventure story. And it’s not too hard to streamline into a feature film.

    Peter Berg was supposed to his own version some time ago. He has a spotty track record with both good and bad films, but he is a better match with Dune than Lynch was.

  40. I remember being in grips of excitement when this came out – I was (and remain) a huge fan of Judge Dredd and the rest of the 2000AD strips (blimey, just realised it’s over 30 years since I first read it) and had just started working at a cinema when it was released in the UK.

    Thought the first 10 minutes (everything up to and including when he executes the leader of the gang involved in the block war) were spot on – ‘classic Dredd’ if you like. But the rest was so disappointing, primarily because almost nothing that happens resembles what would happen in the comic. By comparison, everything that happens in ‘Dredd’ is consistent with the tone of the comic…for me at least that’s why ‘Dredd’ is great and ‘Judge Dredd’ is mediocre.

    Anyway, I must have watched that first 10 minutes at least 60 times over the 4ish weeks it was showing…good times.

  41. The robotic transformation scene in SUPERMAN 3 was a traumatic moment for me as well as a kid when I watched it back in the 80´s. Jesus christ was that some scary shit. Brown trousers time for a kid. Now i know I am not alone.

  42. Also, I seriously need to watch the deleted SUPERMAN IV scenes someday. They have been lying there untouched in that big beautiful shiny tinbox that is the SUPERMAN ULTIMATE COLLECTION.

    Surpisingly, the Superman comicbook that was included I already had as a kid. it was kinda lame issue.

  43. I believe Rob was hiding in the spaghetti machine/food recycling machine, Mr. Vern. And I thought he was the only “actor” to come out of that movie looking halfway competent.

  44. All i remembered about this as a kid was it uses the “villain is about to shoot hero and then we hear a gunshot but it’s really someone behind the villain who shot them in the back” gag at least THREE times. Jeez. I did, however, see it on TV fairly recently and I was thinking “man, this movie’s actually not bad!” but then it just keeps getting worse and worse, and the limp finale in the Statue of Liberty was just terrible and reeked of reshoots/rewrites. Also, doesn’t Dredd kill a ton of his fellow officers in the bike chase? I think those cops in the desert were supposed to be corrupt but I don’t know about those poor bike cops.

    I think I remember something about how Stallone wanted this to be PG-13 and was mad that it was rated R, because he said it was “high adventure, like Indiana Jones”. It’s a fairly soft R so i see what he’s getting at, but I can’t really imagine any kid being into it, it’s too slow and the cool parts are few and far between. Armand Assante’s brief glimpses of MEGA-acting were actually the coolest part for me now.

  45. This movie did have one of the last great, symphonic super hero themes before all the jobs started going to the Hans Zimmer factory.

  46. Rewatched this the other day and the big takeaway was the same as when I saw it in the theater and in the past: lack of excitement.

    Other than the part that starts with breaking back into Mega City the movie is sorta dull. I’m not all that up on the Dredd lore but from the games I’ve played and a few issues of the comic I know they threw in a lot of stuff from the series, the Janus Project being the primary straying point. But things like the block war were staged poorly, unexplained and had uneven pacing. The break-in itself had some tension, then the confrontation and escape led to some decent sequences but then it slowed down a bit. Even Stallone trying to match Assante’s “power” acting wasn’t enough to tip the scales to “good bad movie.” But Assante and Prochnow sure thought they were in some epic and you gotta respect that.

    I’m not sure you’re remembering things right Paul, the scenes in Mega City are mostly daytime except the aforementioned break-in where the motorcycle chase was a night scene. But I thought the visuals, the sets, the costuming were all top-notch. The crowds were full even in wide shots and the cavernous indoor sets had a lived-in feel a lot of science fiction tends to forget. The matte paintings and overlays are expertly done with minimal CGI, and there’s some excellent camera work during the chase.

    Schneider’s character isn’t great and neither is his performance but I don’t think it was a mighty weight around the movie’s ankle. His skill set was important to the denouement and at times his energy helped, particularly with Diane Lane being more wooden than I normally think she is.

    You could see some of the jokes probably brought in my de Souza, like the “I knew you were gonna say that”, especially when he pulls it out on the inbred cyborg he’s choking.

    Ultimately like I said there is a lack of excitement, of momentum. There seems to be plenty of fan service for a lesser-known property getting a big-budget showcase, but in the year of its release you had GoldenEye (my favorite Bond, the one that “saved” the franchise and one with a lot of action) and Die Hard with a Vengeance (which is pretty much a locomotive) which easily trounced it in the thrills department. No matter your opinion of the movie as a whole you can’t really argue with the fact that Waterworld’s set pieces were masterworks of practical effects and set design that easily eclipse Dredd. And 1995 also had Braveheart for scale, Seven for pacing and other movies like Crimson Tide and Heat where tension carried the day, or 12 Monkeys for imagination. Even Species, a low-budget set in modern times sci-fi pic was arguably more interesting thanks to a similarly smart cast that was given lesser material to elevate.

    I wasn’t looking for the Verhoeven satire Vern mentions, knowing something of the history of the source material meant they couldn’t really go that way for a big popcorn event that lacked an “auteur”. I was looking for more of an R-rating in the violence, more of Dredd on the ground which could have still happened with the high power machinations. But none of that is there and the movie just falls flat as a slice of entertainment.

  47. Hmm. a Paul Verhoeven directed Judge Dredd-movie. That could be a match made in heaven.

  48. Herns Zermer terk er jerbz!

  49. Careful,Majestyk. CJ might be reading this.

  50. I do and I got no idea what that means. Proceed.

  51. That must be the worst german impersonation ever if not even germans recognize it.

  52. ‘You want chaos?! I’M the Chaos!!!’

    Gosh that bit belongs in a MUCH better movie – Armand Assante really works.

    A lot of the design (the uniforms, Mean Machine, ABC Warrior) was spot on, but the neutering of the character of Dredd destroyed this movie before it went anywhere. I don’t know why but DREDD (as opposed to JUDGE DREDD which does contain some satire), despite the lack of the satire, feels utterly right to an old fan who used to buy 2000AD and I never understood it to be as violent as it presumably was (despite the Judges habit of executing perps). It’s interesting to me, but Mega City 1 in this looks more like the comic version – which it turns out, might not work cinematically. If I had been shown pictures of both movies, I would have picked Stallone’s to be more authentic and the Urban version to simply be low budget. Turns out it’s all down to the lead actor. Stallone as Dredd – he’s just too Hollywood. Urban is as downbeat and unsupportive as he really should be – the fun for me in Dredd’s character is that incredibly uncompromising belief which as a reader I always knew was a bit fanatical. It’s all changed now though, I believe.

    Bit of a ramble that.

  53. Oh, you poor, stupid bastards. That wasn’t a German impression. That was a South Park reference.

  54. Yeah, with Cartman’s voice, this sounds right.

    I still don’t know what it means.

  55. I don´t get it. But then again last time I watched South Park was around ´98 and I was 19. I guess I moved on…

  56. Yeah, me too, but then last year I started getting caught up and realized that the episodes I’d thought of as “classic” were actually made before the show even started getting good.

    For the record, it’s the townspeople of South Park who say the “terk er jerbz” line when illegal aliens (or something) started moving to town in droves. You’re gonna have to take my word for it that this is not an obscure reference.

  57. Mr. Majestyk – don’t worry buddy, I get the reference, I still watch South Park too

  58. I think the costume and set design in this are pretty awesome, I just don’t think Stallone understood that the role he was playing was a pretty unsympathetic fascist, he played Dredd like he was any other character from his career’s more mediocre films.
    Assante had the best line with the entire* “Tear off his arms and legs first, save his head for last, I want him to savor the pain”.

    Majestyk – That’s a pretty old reference too, I don’t understand why anyone would mistake it for German.

  59. * – Paraphrasing not Quoting

  60. And let us not forget Assante’s classic delivery of “Laaaaooooow!”

  61. speaking of comic book adaptations, I rewatched DANGER: DIABOLIK this morning. Anybody seen that to give their thoughts until Vern reviews it (if ever)?

  62. Producer Adi Shankar, who was behind that Punisher short film “Dirty Laundry,” says he’s working on a Dredd short fan film too.

    http://movies.cosmicbooknews.com/content/producer-adi-shankar-talks-dredd-2-punisher-ghost-rider-escape-new-york-female-expendables-s

  63. DANGER DIABOLIK is awesome and rad, one of the best things to come out of the Eurospy craze. Mario Bava lights the fuck out the groovy sets and Ennio Morricone ensures that every mention of Diabolik is punctuated by the blast of a thousand trumpets. Plus Diabolik isn’t tied down by all that stodgy “Queen and Country” bullshit, so he can do cool stuff like bone his sexy girlfriend on a pile of stolen money. Also, he has a great laugh. DIABOLIK is the best. Those MST3K guys can eat a dick.

  64. I know, right? Its a comic book heist film in that like heist pictures we wonder how the protagonist will (1) rob the supposed theft-proof prize, and (2) how to escape from jam with cops/crooks, but with the “comic book” hall pass allowing the story to be more wonderfully absurd and inventive. Like how he smuggles that necklace back to his posseision.

    My favorite bit: the government putting a million dollar bounty on Diabolik, and he responds by blowing up the tax building. (Why don’t RedState love this film?) Plus since its a European movie, none of that Hollywood ala PARKER bullshit of a honorable, sympathetic criminal protagonist. Our boy D kills cops with ease to get his loot, but we love him because of how genius and giddy fun it is him outsmarting his enemies. Like Lupin III over in Japan, he just LOVES the heist game. He doesn’t need the money.

    There is one major flaw with DIABOLIK however. Its a sequence way too long, i.e. that gold robbery stuff. I mean its cool and all and how he pulls off that heist and what happens to him. But the climax had already reached by then, and it drags down the film. But before that, its an awesome movie. Also basis for awesome Beastie Boys video.

    Vern should review this the next time he reviews a batch of Comic Book Movies. (Not including Superman series Vern, do that shit seperate.)

  65. Also I saw G.I. JOE: REFUND tonight, so ready to share my thoughts whenever you are Vern.

    ~Oh shit, did I let my opinion slip?

  66. And that shit looked so ridiculous in that trailer, you´re saying the movie is not? Now, that´s depressing…

  67. The Ninja stuff didn’t work?

  68. Shoot McKay/Felix – I’ll reveal this before Vern reviews it: The ninja mountain fight is awesome, however. After 2 movies, that one scene to me captured the larger than life live-action, big budget potential spectacle of a G.I. Joe film.* The filmmakers clearly were giddy with all the ridiculous twists and turns that a ninja fight on a mountain would (or should) feature. You gotta love the filmmakers and audience immensely enjoying the disposable henchmen’s deaths as they fall to their oblivion AHHHHHHHHHH! Also I must admit Cobra’s world conquering plan is saturday morning clever, and hammy Jonathan Pryce to me is like pepper on coleslaw: There’s never too much.

    Too bad the rest is just fucking bleh. In fact I would even go as far as to say this could be just as clumsy and incompetent in trying to pull off its real life cartoon plans as the first G.I. JOE movie. Which is fucking hilarious considering here they clearly were trying to allegedly redeem themselves with this one. Knowing maybe be half the battle, but so is competence.

    Shoot McKay if you meant “ridiculous” as in the “wonderfully absurd” that I assume you’re talking about….nope. It’s just dumb.

    You know what, another major problem is that the new characters are colorless per say, they do nothing really and have no chance to stand out and make the audience remember them. The guy playing Flint (and would’ve played Superman in George Miller’s aborted JUSTICE LEAGUE movie), you know what his skill is? Having no personality. He had less charisma than Channing Tatum. Is your mind blown yet? Pick up the pieces, I’ll be waiting. Dwayne Johnson and Bruce Willis, its not as bad because they were hired to play two memorable characters: Dwayne Johnson and Bruce Willis. The biggest cinematic waste of Bruno since A GOOD DAY TO DIE HARD. (Man I hope RED 2 doesn’t continue this bad streak.)

    Let me put it this way: You know what I remember most about Dwayne Johnson in FAST FIVE in his Tommy Lee Jones-ish part? When he off-handidly killed the villain. That was awesome, and my crowd loved that. Hell lets rewind back to summer 2013 with THE AVENGERS. Remember when ScarJo had that chair fight and that “mewling quim” scene? People remembered them. The same when Hiddleston becomes a toy for the Hulk. Other than the mountain fight for Snake Eyes and his female partner, RETALIATION doesn’t have any sort of scene like that. OK you have Ray Stevenson as Firefly, who uses gold explosive insect robots. But its not as “ridiculously awesome” as that sounds. Bleh!

    Maybe its time for Hasbro to quit making movies in favor of something they’re clearly better at producing: toys and games?

    *=Funny enough, AVENGERS was that G.I. Joe movie in my heart but replacing ninjas and vehicles that blew shit up in favor of superpowers. Sorta like how the best FANTASTIC FOUR film ever produced was THE INCREDIBLES. And before DREDD, the best Judge Dredd film was ROBOCOP. See I can go full circle shit too.

  69. On that “colorless” front for GIJ:R, Richard Roeper wrote it best with one blurb in his review:

    “Adrianne Palicki: “Hey everybody, remember me? I was on ‘Friday Night Lights’! That show had actual writing!””

    http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20130327/REVIEWS/130329979

  70. Oh, that Richard Roeper. Never not not funny.

  71. Mr. M – that double (triple?) negative bomb you detonated left me confused. Are you saying he’s funny or not?

  72. His whole review boiled down to imagining word balloons containing such incisive putdowns as “I need to fire my agent.” No, he’s not funny. He’s never even met funny. Funny gives him a rash.

  73. I agree with Mr. M

    Roeper has the wit of a dumb dummy.

  74. The original Paul

    March 28th, 2013 at 8:41 pm

    Clubside – everyone else seems to agree on the visuals. I should probably rewatch the movie to see if my memory is bad… but that would require watching the movie. Maybe if it’s on TV some day…

  75. I just got back from RETALIATION. I found it fairly entertaining (bear in mind I found the first film uniquely delightful), albeit a film I like less with every passing second since I’ve left the theatre. There are some issues that I suspect were caused primarily by the retooling; the stuff with Snake Eyes in Japan seems like it was supposed to more of a main focus, but it’s all explained, very clumsily in a montage, which I’m not even sure was in the right place chronologically. There are also some other problems I suspect must have been there all along; they do a lame ret-con on the first film, and (GENERIC SPOILER) a bad character goes “good” for far too much of the time for my liking. Oh, and the RZA absolutely stinks up the house. The plot is needlessly convoluted and doesn’t bear much scrutiny, but you already knew that.

    But I had fun;it’s rarely dull, there are some good action scenes (and some less inspired ones), Ray Stevenson is a good addition, Park and Lee are still good, Jonathan Pryce is a lot of fun, and Bruce is Bruce (even has a house full of guns). It could, and probably should, have been better, but it’s still the best Bruce Willis film of 2013 to date!

  76. “but it’s still the best Bruce Willis film of 2013 to date!”

    Pacman – The best back-handed compliment I’ve read all week. But even that gag you liked, felt like a rerun from RED. And when you’re ripping off RED, then maybe you need some real help.

    But I’ll give GIJ:R credit on one touch that was hilarious. SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER! I liked how the imposter-Pryce chides real-Pryce for how his presidential approval ratings have gone up since he took over, and rubs it in his face. Also I liked that he admits Cobra has a boner for burning down the Constitution. SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER!

    On the action scenes, most of them really do feel like they came from a DTV release, if that makes any sense. Surprisingly low ambition there considering this is (or was) a studio tentpole blockbuster release.

    But yeah onto that whole faceturn issue, I think I mentioned this already but I’ll repeat it just in case: Its not just so whatever, how would that character know or realize that “real” story? Maybe its something from the first JOE movie that I don’t remember (or give a shit enough to rewatch it), but…it was puzzling to say the least why.

    If RETALIATION does well, I wonder if this will get Chu’s MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE movie produced finally?

  77. I’m pretty much with Pacman on it. I liked it more than RRA, but it’s only in a “it’s alright” kind of way, with a number of plot holes and nitpicks I could bring up. And The RZA IS fucking atrocious in it. I didn’t see MAN WITH THE IRON FISTS in theaters, and his performance here made me want to catch in on DVD even less.

  78. Stu – RZA to me was like Rihanna in another Hasbro-produced movie in BATTLESHIP: Random as hell, but too insignificant to hurt the film or matter.

  79. Saving most of my GI Joe: Retaliation comments for that eventual thread, but I’ll say I liked it alot – it’s the small-scale For Your Eyes Only to the first one’s overblown-yet-fun Moonraker. Just because the finale is fighting a handful of dudes in an old fort doesn’t mean it’s bad. Especially when Equilibrium-style Gunkata is involved.

    Also, the Hudson Hawk hat makes a cameo hanging on Bruce’s coat rack. I really wish I could find a way to say he’s playing the same character but I can’t.

  80. The Fort part of the climax is a bit underwhelming after that great Ninja battle, but at least the Rock driving around in that high speed tank fighting the HISSes was fun. And I do like the Fight Brotherhoodish stuff between two characters at one point.

  81. “Saving most of my GI Joe: Retaliation comments for that eventual thread, but I’ll say I liked it alot – it’s the small-scale For Your Eyes Only to the first one’s overblown-yet-fun Moonraker. Just because the finale is fighting a handful of dudes in an old fort doesn’t mean it’s bad. Especially when Equilibrium-style Gunkata is involved.”

    neal – I like how you cite many decent movies to defend this dud.

    I wonder where this will rank in Vern’s action scene quality chart?

    (I predict 3 out of 5: GREAT Ninja mountain fight, the rest ho-hum/bleh. Will I be proven right?!?)

  82. It’s not quality, it’s comprehensibility. I’m guessing 3.5 for the clearness of the ninja stuff, the outdoor action scenes and the opening assault on the missile silo, but not any higher because of stuff like the dark alley fight between Roadblock and Firefly, and the “we don’t know it’s our friends at first!” rec center scuffle with the whole team.

  83. Stu – Makes sense.

    That’s what baffles me the most. That ninja fight was well shot, everything you could hope for. But then those other scenes were choppy and chaotic for me. Just weird.

    BTW which regular local was it that claimed that the sequel-serving-as-reboot movie never works? Congrats for being right again. You win a cookie!

  84. The original Paul

    March 29th, 2013 at 6:15 pm

    RRA – not sure. I think I made some pointed remarks regarding sequels that are actually remakes in disguise, but I don’t think that’s what you’re referring to… anyway, “GI Joe: Retaliation” not being much good is disappointing but hardly unexpected. It’s a real letdown, actually, if it does turn out to be bad. I really liked the first one (well, every bit of it that Marlon Wayans wasn’t speaking in.) It was great dumb fun, although it lost points with me for creating an opportunity for Christopher Ecclestone to deliver the line “We’re going to eat the Eiffel Tower”, and then not actually using it. Still, great dumb fun.

  85. Paul – To be fair, I wouldn’t say RETALIATION was “bad.” If I have to give a grade, my original score would be 2 and half out of 5. But then upon further reflection, its ages like milk. Does that make any sense?

    For me it was no better or worse than RISE OF COBRA, which didn’t involve me, intrigue me, thrill me, excite me, give me dreams. You know, all the broad things we would like in our popcorn movies. Exceptif RISE OF COBRA was remarkably dumb (sinking ice!), that was replaced with blandness. Whatever. I’ll say it again the one word that comes to my mind for this: “Bleh.”

    But hey if you folks liked it or tolerated it more than I did, that’s cool.

  86. Despite it’s many faults I’ve always had a soft spot for JUDGE DREDD. The production design and score are top notch, the action is pretty good and the supporting cast lend it a bit of class (with the obvious exception of Schneider). DREDD is far and away the better movie but there’s some fun to be had with this version.

    As for the helmet controversy I always thought it would have been much more effective if Dredd had been stripped of it for the first time when he’s found guilty at the trial, about 40 minutes into the film. At least that way it would have been faithful to the comic for awhile and when he’s finally stripped of it it’s a lot more psychologically damaging for him.

    And every time I see the film I kind of wish it followed a shotgun totting Max Von Sydow out into the Cursed Earth to dispense justice. That would have been pretty badass.

  87. “That’s what baffles me the most. That ninja fight was well shot, everything you could hope for. But then those other scenes were choppy and chaotic for me. Just weird. ”
    Well a lot of the ninja stuff was done with CGI, which doesn’t require real life camera work expertise to do right. It wasn’t so much shot as rendered.

  88. All of the problems with the action (which wasn’t terrible by any stretch, just not fully exploited) can be explained by its rating. You can’t show swords making contact with bodies or the collision of fists and faces in PG-13. You can show the blow thrown and the victim reacting to being hit, but you have to cut around the moment of impact, which leads to the choppy editing and awkward framing that detracted from most of RETALIATION’s fight scenes. For an illustrative example of this practice in effect, compare the PG-13 and unrated cuts of SALT. The former is the epitome of post-action, while the latter is easily a 3.5 on the ACR, all because they let the hits land.

    The Ninja Mountain sequence was not hampered by this because the villains do not die by swords penetrating their flesh, but by the Disney-approved method of falling bloodlessly off a cliff. You can kill entire generations of human beings that way and the censors don’t give a damn.

    I mean, we knew this going in. It’s an action movie for kids. You’re not gonna get all the frames you need for action to have its full impact in PG-13, because won’t somebody think of the children.

    I liked the movie, though. Can’t wait for the review and discussion.

  89. The original Paul

    March 30th, 2013 at 6:35 pm

    RRA – given how differently you and I generally judge movies, that’s not good news for me. I much prefer a bad-but-interesting movie to an ok-but-forgettable one.

    And Majestyk – I know we’re fans of more solid R-rated movies here. But I think you gotta cut the film based on a line of boys’ action figures some slack here. They’re not going to make a GI Joe movie that looks like the restaurant scene from “Kill Bill”. Although I agree that would be kinda awesome. I’m glad you liked it, although again, not sure how that will reflect on me given that I seem to disagree with your opinions more than most. (You are to me now what Mouth was to me a couple of years ago, I think.)

    How did “Judge Dredd” get turned into the “GI Joe Retaliation” thread? That was kinda random.

  90. Interesting. Deadline claims G.I. J:R cost $50 million. It couldn’t be that cheap, right?

  91. No, I think they’re saying G.I. Joe 2 is supposed to MAKE $50 million this weekend. The general consensus is that it cost about $135 million.

  92. What the line at Deadline says:

    “But the second installment cost $50M and studio says it did “much more” internationally ”which is where the 3D really pays off”. Paramount is estimating ”

    Most likely a typo.

  93. That´s awesome, bringing in new perspectives to the world and all. Hopefully it can progress, however I am not familiar with the current state of Dredd I´m afraid, I´m more familiar with the early days of Dredd.

    How is the comic presented nowadays and what are the differences from the old timey days?

  94. There’s a bit more focus on mature themes and character, as opposed to just pulp action, though that’s still present. Mostly from what I see, the commentary about the law, society etc. is more overt and Dredd’s feelings about these things are emphasised more, but it still keeps that comedic tone at times(there’s a serial killer called Skinner in one story who lives in Ed Gein block).

    The JUDGE MINTY fan film has just been put online:
    http://youtu.be/aavS_XUITXU

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