Dredd ★★★★

Dredd rides the same satirical, dystopian vibe as Robocop, one of my favorite movies of all time. Nothing similar has really come close in all these years. While Dredd isn't as airtight or thematically rich as its forebear, it is somehow even more tightly focused. This bad boy rushes in hot and literally never lets up, while also managing to tell a compelling story with clearly defined characters and a well written arc; the action itself is good enough that it'd be just as easy to watch the movie purely for surface thrills. The cinematography is steady, thoughtful, and especially in the slo-mo drug sequences, pure eye candy. This shitty, crumbling world looks gorgeous even when it's being splattered with grime and exploding bodies. I watched it in HDR and it was honestly one of the first times I said "wow" about the tech, seeing those soap bubbles shimmer in front of Lena Heady's gaze. Must've been incredible in 3D on the big screen. I can't forget to mention how much joy comes through Karl Urban's taciturn Judge Dredd performance - without even taking off the helmet once, he covers a range of feeling, including a lot of wry humor that this kind of story begs for. This man absolutely flourishes with this material, and makes me want a sequel even though I know it won't happen and it probably wouldn't recapture this energy anyway. Still wild to me that this wasn't a massive hit.

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