Review: Dredd 2012

By: Joelist

Dredd 2012: Dredd done right

Dredd 2012 is a new film – the second film made about the iconic comic character Judge Dredd. It stars Karl Urban in the title role, with Olivia Thirlby as trainee Judge Anderson (also a character from the Dredd comics) and Lena Headley (of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles fame) as the villain. 

Before getting to the movie itself, let me lead in with a few words about first the Judge Dredd comics then the first attempt at making it a movie – the 1995 big budget film starring Sylvester Stallone and Rob Schneider.

The Comics

Judge Dredd was conceived as a semi-futuristic lawman that took the character “Dirty Harry” to its logical extreme. A whole comic book series (2000 AD) arose around this with a full dystopian world populated with characters both good and bad. It is considered a seminal comic series and indeed the Dredd universe and character and the Judge system have even been invoked in discussions of real world questions about governance and the administration of justice.

The 1995 film

In 1995 a big budget film based on Judge Dredd was made. It starred Sylvester Stallone and Rob Schneider. I did a more detailed review of that film here:


Basically, while the 1995 film did okay with its visuals it got the characters wrong. Stallone hideously overacting the Dredd role didn’t help either. Plus, his Dredd did not come across at all like the logical endpoint of Dirty Harry – he was just a typical Stallone overblown action hero role. And unfortunately that horrid performance colored the thinking of those who had not read the comics on the whole Dredd character and universe. 

The 2012 film

With the background in place, let’s look at this new Dredd film.

The first thing to note is that the budget here was smaller. However it is still VERY effective visually. The city in this film has a properly grungy look and the megablock towers are very effectively realized. The action choreography is first rate and almost poetic at times. This film looks a lot more expensive than it really was.

Second, these characters are done right. Dredd in this film is gruff, taciturn and is indeed the logical endpoint of the character concepts underlying Dirty Harry. Anderson is a mutant psychic trainee judge and again her character is true to the comics. The villain (Lena Headley) is a vicious druglord named MaMa – while this is not a character from the comics the STYLE and TONE of the character are. 

Not only are the characters written very well, the performances are outstanding. 

Karl Urban does it again – in Star Trek 09 he nailed Doctor McCoy so precisely it seemed like he was channeling DeForrest Kelley. Here he gives a similarly outstanding performance – he IS Dredd. What makes it all the more impressive is he conveys this without our ever being able to see his eyes or upper face – this Dredd keeps his helmet on like he is supposed to.

Olivia Thirlby is new to me as an actress. I gather she was in Juno but I never saw that film. All I can say here is that she turns in an effective performance as the rookie judge. She has psionic powers (just like in the comics) and uses them one time to horrific effect. Part of the film is her character does have an arc – she changes a good deal from her “day on the street” with Dredd.

Lena Headley is great as the villain – the sadistic druglord MaMa. A frequent issue in these types of hero-villain films is that the villain is not a foe worthy of the hero. That is not the case here. MaMa is vicious and sadistic but also intelligent. She is even given a backstory that elicits a little bit of sympathy over her past and how it may have had a role in turning her into a monster. 

With strong characters performed well, the next question is: does it work? Well, I say yes it does. This film is what is known as a “small set story”. It basically all takes place in one building and really there are only three main plotlines and they are all related. This gives the film focus. And that keeps the story moving and the tension present. All in all it is well directed. As the story was written by Alex Garland (who also wrote 28 Days Later) I was not surprised it was well structured.

All in all, I liked this new Dredd film. I hope you do as well.


GateFans Review: Prometheus (2012) SPOILERS!

Okay, I am freshly back from seeing Prometheus (in 3D, of course), and I can say I was okay with the movie. Just okay, though. I was sort of expecting a lot more depth, and the dark foreboding feel of the original Alien. The best way to describe this movie is a prequel, even though it is being said that this movie is separate from the Alien movies, it most certainly is not. It is hard to say what the time frame of this movie is to the original Alien time frame, but from the look of things I would have to guess it was before Ripley cut loose with her flamethrower on LV-426. The Prometheus looks like a proper earth designed ship from 2090, and it has ion engines as well as thrusters. There is no magical fusion generator or unknown power source powering the ship, but some of the other tech seems oddly advanced. More on that later. Read more »


Continuum – This one is a Keeper! Season Two already approved

(GateFans.net – 2012) I got into Continuum on a recommendation from one of our GateFans Forums members. I live in the United States, so I could not watch it because they had it geo-locked. But with a VPN account from SuperVPN, I was able to watch this show, and I must say that it has filled my craving for good, well written and acted Science Fiction (emphasis mine). The premise is innovative, the special effects and drama are well balanced without either being overpowering, and best of all this show has real character development. At the time of this writing, five episodes have passed and I still await each new one with great anticipation.

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The show’s premise starts in the future where corporations are the government and are in control of all of the world’s resources and activities. Our protagonist Kiera Cameron is played by Rachel Nichols, and her character remains the center and anchor of this show. She is a strong, intelligent (and very sexy) law enforcement officer in the future, but the event which gets the story of this show going is the escape of our antagonists which include actress Lexa Doig as Sonya. A spectacular escape from execution by slipping into the past to the present (seen in the video). Keira ends up slipping back with them, because she was in the execution room when they escaped. Keira has technology she wears in the form of a suit embedded with data retrieval devices, sensors and even a taser-like weapon. But this is no Batwoman shtick. Keira’s character and the cool yet strong acting of Rachel Nichols in this show make it come together in a believable and entertaining way.

Our other main characters are Alec Sadler, played by Eric Knudsen, who finally lets science fiction again take a break from the fat computer nerd in Mom’s basement playing video games, and turns him into an active nerd who has a tricked out barn full of awesome today-tech rigged to do all sorts of stuff. You see, Alec Sadler is one of the architects of Kiera’s future, becoming a tech superpower in Kiera’s time. But they make contact when Alec is still a teenage nerd in 2012.  Our other main character is our main man Carlos Fonnegra, played by Victor Webster.  Carlos is a cop from 2012 who encounters Kiera while investigating a baffling case. But it was baffling because it was caused by our escaped gang from the future. Kiera was behaving in a very law enforcement manner, recognized by Carlos, and he assumed (correctly, sorta) that she was a cop. How does this happen if Kiera has no records because she isn’t born yet? Watch the show and find out! This is a great show.

The writing of this show is superb, with lots of genuine science being tossed about with the believable (but only conceptual today) tech.This show needs to come to the United States! Are you listening Syfy? Maybe even Netflix could make a go of this series. Its a keeper for sure.


REVIEW: Total Recall (2012)

Wow, this movie really surprised me. After seeing the awesome Total Recall with Arnold Schwarzenegger, I was expecting this one to be glitzy and lacking in overall impact. Boy, was I wrong. As far as action, it was all over the original. The premise was now much different with a post biological-war earth polarized by two isolated points connected by a transport traveling through the core of the earth. But it works very well. We have our familiar villian Cohagen, and some of the minor characters. I cant say too much without giving the new movie away.

There are nods to the original throughout the movie, including our EXTRA busty girl with redundant breasts. However in this movie you arte left scratching your head about how she would be on earth and have three of them. Still, it was cool to have her in there. No more rubber faced mutants. No Mars, and you will still like this movie. 


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John Carter Bomb

John Carter bombs at the box office. $200 million loss for Disney

I wasn’t too shocked when I read this:

Ross, 50, had taken the job just two and a half years ago with a mission to cut costs and develop new hits. He had brought “High School Musical” and “Hannah Montana” to TV audiences as the former head of Disney Channels Worldwide.

But the studio’s losses continued under Ross despite major restructuring efforts.

A month ago, Disney booked a $200 million loss on “John Carter,” a special-effects-laden movie based on the Edgar Rice Burroughs book series. The movie starring Taylor Kitsch had an estimated budget of $250 million, matching what 20th Century Fox spent on “Avatar.”

They spent what was spent on Avatar on this thing? REALLY? Read more »


Sherry Jackson sends her promise for her interview!


The interview will be coming up, and I need to get together with Illiterati for that, but I thought it was nice of her to touch base with us!

Sherry is known for so many things, and you can visit her Official Fansite HERE. Sherry agreed to do an exclusive interview for Gatefans last year, and she has been very busy and has been unable to schedule any time. But today, she allowed GateFans reporter Overmind One to record a short hello and promise to do her longer interview. When the interview is scheduled, we will keep you posted!



GateFans 24/7 Lounge

What’s going on in GateFans Forums? Here is a sampling. Click any of the links to be taken to the threads. :) GateFans has a lively forum, a great community full of fun people and fun activities. Inaugurated in February 2011, GateFans has been an innovator in science fiction fansites. Our popular rewatches are a favorite, and our large but easily navigable forums offer a wide variety of subjects on all of your favorite shows. Dont see your favorite? Then start your own discussion :) GateFans is not affiliated with any studio or media entity, which means that all commentary is independent and fan-driven. Honest reviews, unbiased commentary, and a comprehensive Code of Conduct and Posting Guidelines policy keeps things safe for Members and visitors alike. Click the GateFans Forums link, or post here in the blog, and have fun!


Stargate: Universe, a two-year retrospective

Stargate: Universe, a two-year retrospective by Terran77, GateFans Forums Member

“Gauntlet” marked the end of Stargate: Universe‘s second and final season, leaving some fans pleased, others irritated, and everyone wondering what, if anything, will be the next step for the Stargate franchise. For the first time in 17 years there will be no new weekly episodes of any Stargate series. Given SGU‘s very low ratings, particularly in season two which resulted in its cancellation, it seems an appropriate time to ask what kinds of things went wrong for the series as a whole, and what things went right. Read more »


REVIEW: Stargate Universe, Season 2, Episode 19, “Blockade”

By Terran77, GateFans Forums Member

Thought I’d move this out into the main area, rather have it inside the preview/discussion. So here’s my review of the “Blockade” episode. I re-watched it a few times to catch missed details. Let me know your thoughts, or if I’m missing something glaring.


We begin this episode with Rush coming to see Eli and asking for calculations, lamenting about the lack of real paper to write on. Eli is replaying the Novans’ dedication of their first school, which prompts Rush to say, “Eli, if you don’t have anything better to do…” and Eli returns quickly with, “there’s no TV to watch, and honestly, they’re us: humans.” Also, Eli misses the colonists, which they’ve apparently dropped off, sometime between the end of the last episode and the beginning of this one. Now they’re headed to a different planet, again getting low on energy reserves.

Back on the bridge, Rush learns that the Destiny has dropped out of FTL to take a detour around a gas giant before refueling at a local star. Almost immediately they see that the drone-ships have set up a blockade near the star, complete with a command ship. Young decides to go back into FTL and search out another star for refueling. Everyone, except Rush, is concerned about how the drones knew they’d be coming. Eli suggests that the drones may be predicting their course, and so they plan to go “off course” in order to recharge at a star not along the planned route of the seed ships. We’re again reminded of a limitation of the Destiny: that going back into FTL too quickly can seriously damage the engines, so getting into a fight unprepared is not an option. Read more »


REVIEW: Stargate Universe Season 2, Episode 18: “Epilogue”

Epilogue or Epitaph?
by ShavedApe, GateFans Forums Member

Since this episode deals with divergent time lines that are presented in a peripatetic fashion then please expect the flow to be a bit jerky at times. The episode’s narrative jumps back and forth without much segue, if any. Forewarned is forearmed mon ami.

This episode of SGU (written by Carl Binder) continues the events that happened in the previous episode “Common Descent”. Having found their own descendants (from a different time line) colonizing a planet (colonists who are now cut off from contact with their home world) the crew of Destiny takes their descendants back to their home world even though the CO2 scrubbers on Destiny are about to die. Oh noes! Read more »

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