Movie News

Russ Sheath talks to the Judge himself, KARL URBAN, about playing the legendary lawman in DREDD.

Published at: Sept. 6, 2012, 11:20 a.m. CST by AICNStaff

 

 

 

 


Russ Sheath here and I was lucky enough to sit down with Judge Dredd himself, Karl Urban, to talk about his incarnation of the cult comic character in the upcoming movie Dredd.

Released in the US on September 21st and in the UK on September 7th, Dredd is set in the world of MegaCity One, a vast metropolis laying in the irradiated wasteland that was once the east coast of the United States.

Karl Urban stars as Judge Dredd, a lawman with the ability to act as judge, jury and executioner in the vast, violent world of the Mega City.

The epitome of all of the Judges, Dredd is tasked with evaluating a rookie Judge, Cassandra Anderson (Olivia Thirlby) but when a routine homicide in one of the vast 200 story mega-blocks turns into a fight for survival against the viscous crime boss Ma-Ma (Lena Heady) and her gang, the gloves are off.

Karl Urban flew into London last week to begin press duties for Dredd, arguably his first starring role where the weight of the entire movie rests on his shoulders.

 The actor, who had his big break in the middle part of Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy, has an impressive resume including The Chronicles of Riddick, Doom, RED, The Bourne Supremacy and what was for me, the stand out performance in JJ Abrams’s reboot of the Star Trek franchise, as Doctor Leonard ‘Bones’ McCoy.

HERE's my review of Dredd, and an exciting competition to win a signed Dredd poster and comic book as well as a special message for AICN readers from the man himself, Judge Dredd.

Talking to Karl, what becomes apparent is his passion and commitment to the character and to bringing the 'right' Dredd to the screen. After days of press and still suffering jet lag Karl's enthusiasm for the character and the project shone through, acknowledging Alex Garland's role in crafting the film and ensuring the integrity of the project.

So, here’s my chat with Karl Urban about Dredd, his career and stepping into some of popular cultures most iconic roles.

 


Russ Sheath (RS): Karl, I saw the movie last week and really, really enjoyed the film. How’s the feedback been?

Karl Urban (KU): The feedbacks been really brilliant!

I think that the San Diego Comic-Con was the real turning point where the response that we got was phenomenal. I loved what Quint said about the film on Ain't It Cool, it was bang on. I'm happy for the likes of Alex Garland, who spent so much time and energy crafting and honing this film, that it’s gone down so well.

 

 

 

RS: You’ve not been shy about carving a niche for yourself as the ‘go to’ actor for ‘genre’ movies, which I guess is a broad statement...

KU: Very broad, when you consider everything is a kind of genre, but I know what you mean.

 

 

 

RS: Was that niche that you have carved yourself a conscious career choice or is it how your career has progresses?

KU: I generally choose my projects by the characters and the story. Certainly, I think it’s very easy for the media to try to define you as one thing over another but if you have a good look at my CV you will find quite a variation of genre, from the Bourne Supremacy to a little indi drama called Out of the Blue, romantic comedy called the Price of Milk, RED and then obviously the Lord of the Rings, the Star Treks and Dredd’s, which are the kind of genre you are talking about.

 

 

 

RS: Would you like to do more of the small New Zealand movies or rom-coms and things like that?

KU: Yeh, I’d love to. I’m always on the look out for a good New Zealand film. My first point of inspiration was New Zealand cinema and I’m always on the look out for more of those to do.

 

 

 

RS: What were your own favourite movies? What inspired you to do what you do?

KU: New Zealand films like Smash Palace, Utu and then more Hollywood fair. I remember watching Jack Nicholson in Cuckoo’s Nest, Paul Newman in Cool Hand Luke, Michael Caine in Get Carter, Steve McQueen in Bullet.
 

 

 

RS: Lets talk about Dredd, you’ve said in numerous interviews that you read Dredd and 2000AD as a kid. What was your first encounter with Dredd?


KU: It was a friend of mine who I was working with at the time. He was a big Dredd fan and I remember he switched me onto the character. I was always interested in science fiction and science fiction films like Alien and Blade Runner so I immediately responded to the world of Dredd and obviously the character himself as this tough, take no bullshit lawman with a wicked, dry sense of humour.

The interesting thing about doing this movie was going back and reconnecting with those stories that I liked so much and then discovering a whole plethora of stories that have been written since that introduction. The depth and the maturity in the writing and the development in the character of Dredd, he’s a much more interesting character in his older years and much more questioning of the system that he’s representing and that to me is really interesting.

 

 

 

RS: Do you ever still drop into a comic book store and check out whats news?

KU: Sure, I did that today.

 

 

 

RS: Forbidden Planet?

KU: Yeah, Forbidden Planet. I was down that way and I love going in there. Its not just about the comics there's all sorts of cool toys and things from pop culture that are fun to look at.

 

 


RS: Do you get recognised a lot? I can image that seeing Karl Urban in Forbidden Planet is a draw dropping moment for fans browsing for comics!

KU: Yeh, that definitely does happen, but I guess its a good sign that your careers going well.

 

 

 

RS: What were your favorite aspects of playing Dredd and taking on that role? What did you look forward to the most?

KU: I guess what I was looking forward to the most was getting into the uniform and riding the Lawmaster. That didn’t disappoint and was an awesome couple of days.

When I got there what I found I enjoyed the most was working with Olivia, she was just a great team player and we formed a wonderful partnership.

Most of the time we were in the movie were scenes with each other and every day we would have a meeting before we would go on set and discuss what it was we were about to shoot and we were just on the same page. You can see that in the film and the chemistry between those two characters is really the foundation of the film.

 

 

 

RS: The world of Mega City, in the movie, is much closer to our own world than is portrayed in the comic....

KU: Definitely. It’s a lot more science fiction where as we are taking a much more futuristic angle on it. But I would say that in our movie you see one aspect of Mega City One or one sector of Mega City One, that isn’t to say that those elements that people love about the comic and the more science fiction elements don’t exist in another aspect that we could perhaps explore in another film.

 

 

 

RS: Speaking of sequels, it must be quite frustrating that people are talking sequel when the movie isn’t even out yet?

KU: It’s not frustrating, it's encouraging that people are thinking about it in those terms but obviously a lot of boxes have to be ticked for that to occur. As I’ve been saying repeatedly and forgive me if you’ve already heard this elsewhere, if we get to make more of these I’d be happy to continue the journey, however if this is a one off cult film, I’m happy too because I’m proud of it.

 

 


RS: As an actor, which is a bigger challenge, stepping into an established character such as McCoy in Star Trek and echoing that legacy of what has gone before or taking on a less established or new character?

KU: well, I guess that at the end of the day the fundamentals are exactly the same. You have to create the character or service the script as best you can and you have to make the choices to execute it. In playing a character that has already been portrayed or is already known those are just aspects that you have to take into consideration. For example in playing Bones, it was important to me that the character of McCoy be identifiably, obviously synonymous with the wonderful Deforest Kelly. You just have to make a choice about what you are going to incorporate.

 

 

 

RS: Karl, thanks for your time and good luck with the movie.

KU: Thank you.

 

 

 

Dredd releases in the UK on September 7th and in the US on September 21st.

 

 

 

 

 

Russ Sheath on Twitter 

 

Readers Talkback

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  • Sept. 6, 2012, 11:23 a.m. CST

    Oow

    by UltraTron

  • Sept. 6, 2012, 11:25 a.m. CST

    I have nothing to add but this picture of me typing oow..

    by UltraTron

    http://www.funnyordie.com/lists/d64bc773bf/sarah-silverman-tim-heidecker-more-reasons-why-to-download-issue-3-of-the-the-occasional?rel=by_user

  • Sept. 6, 2012, 11:27 a.m. CST

    RE: Headline

    by Lucky13

    Lets calm down with throwing around the term "legendary" shall we?

  • Sept. 6, 2012, 11:31 a.m. CST

    Judgment / Judgement

    by Chris Beveridge

  • Sept. 6, 2012, 11:34 a.m. CST

    Judge Dredd isn't Legendary???

    by Dan

    Either your reading comprehension, or your understanding of Judge Dredd, are severely compromised. Is it stupid day on AICN? What am I saying! EVERY day is Stupid Day round here!

  • Sept. 6, 2012, 11:39 a.m. CST

    Both are correct.

    by Dan

    And how is someboy with a missing 's' raising spelling points anyway???

  • Sept. 6, 2012, 11:46 a.m. CST

    Plant does not exist in this dojo

    by Cobra--Kai

    Russ Sheath - we all knew something smelt fishy about that puff piece *review* of DREDD you posted up a few days ago! Every talkbacker could smell it and you got called a plant every other post... Now it all comes clear. You got to act the bigshot and interview the star before writing your love letter - no wonder!

  • Sept. 6, 2012, 11:48 a.m. CST

    by Cobra--Kai

    *RS: Speaking of sequels, it must be quite frustrating that people are talking sequel when the movie isn’t even out yet?* Sheath has his nose so far up Urban's ass hes gotta be Pinocchio!

  • Hope for the best...and nice to read Mr. Urban trying to spread the credit around.

  • don't care what asimovlives sez.

  • Sept. 6, 2012, 12:03 p.m. CST

    draw dropping? Say wha?

    by nephilim138

  • Sept. 6, 2012, 12:17 p.m. CST

    Bain

    by Lucky13

    I'm not a comic nerd. Never heard of Judge Dredd till the Stallone movie. Always found comic book writing to be pretentious and bloated, as I much prefer novels.... but more to the point, not once, growing up going thru school, sports, etc, did I ever hear of this "legendary" Dredd. I did at least know of X-Men, Batman, Superman, etc. Hence laughing at the term "legendary". TL;DR: A comic book nerd questioning someone's reading comprehension? Hahahahahahahaha.

  • Sept. 6, 2012, 12:29 p.m. CST

    Viscous crime boss?

    by McDylbot

    Is Lena Heady covered in syrup in this one then?

  • Sept. 6, 2012, 12:32 p.m. CST

    Even by AICN's low standards, that was horribly written...

    by Stegman84

    Even taking away the spelling mistakes, typos, and gramatical errors that run rampant through this piece, the questions posed read like something a grade schooler might ask if in the same position. No interesting or original questions, no conversational style, no real interplay between interviewer and interviewee. Hell, I've read more exciting standard press kits than this. I actually do look forward to the film, but it sure as hell isn't anything to do with Captain Prophylactic's meagre efforts over the last couple of days.

  • Sept. 6, 2012, 12:35 p.m. CST

    How the hell did you spell Bullitt wrong?

    by Kelly Grimes

    Sorry. Normally I'm not nitpicky but this is a movie site, and this is an absolute essential for any film buff. Not Bullet. Bullitt.

  • Sept. 6, 2012, 12:37 p.m. CST

    Drokk

    by Righteous Brother

    I cannot wait for this!

  • Sept. 6, 2012, 12:46 p.m. CST

    lucky13

    by Tymanasaurus

    I'd say "legendary" is a pretty decent description of Judge Dredd's status in the UK. What with him being our most popular comic book character for the last 35 years & all that.

  • Sept. 6, 2012, 12:59 p.m. CST

    Dredd IS a legend in this dojo...

    by Darren

    He's been in my life since i was a 10yr old kid. For many of us a decent DREDD movie or 2000AD adaptation would is a dream come true...

  • Sept. 6, 2012, 1:11 p.m. CST

    stegman84

    by Inglorious Bastard

    The only thing that would have made your post more ironic is if you had misspelled "spelling" instead of "gramatical." (It has two m's) I'm not really defending the interview, but if you're going to troll at least do it properly.

  • Sept. 6, 2012, 1:35 p.m. CST

    Can't bloody wait

    by RocketFuckingMan

    Less than 24 hours to go....

  • Sept. 6, 2012, 1:35 p.m. CST

    Two things...

    by Stegman84

    One, I'm dyslexic. Try as I might, things slip through. It happens. Two, I don't in any way purport to be a professional writer/reviewer/interviewer, nor do I work for a major film website in any capacity. If I did I'd be a little more careful with what I wrote. Even so, at least I didn't call Bullitt, Bullet. I didn't write that Lena Headey was a "viscous crime boss", didn't have any gems along the lines of "...or is it how your career has progresses?", nor did I call anything "draw dropping", I simply lost a single letter while typing, but hey, whatever. So I may look a bit of a dick. As a dyslexic I'm used to that. But my point stands.

  • Sept. 6, 2012, 2:27 p.m. CST

    Lucky13

    by Dan

    1. I'm not a comic nerd. 2. Your loss. 3. Dredd is a fucking legend, your ignorance notwithstanding. 4. You really are a fucking lackwit though, aren't yah?

  • Sept. 6, 2012, 2:39 p.m. CST

    inglorious / stegman

    by Dan

    a missing 'm' is hardly a damning indictment of a mans literacy, and I wouldn't call that trolling either. Stegman was more or less on the money with his critique, if a little blunt in its delivery. For more giggles, check out the Terry Malloy controversy over whether Michael Jai White, or Scott Adkins is the lead in some new DTV actioner. I'm all for fan content, but this stuff is being run as though it was coming from professionals. It clearly isn't. It just seems to get ever harder to find intelligent, middle-brow coverage of movies - particularly round here.

  • Sept. 6, 2012, 2:58 p.m. CST

    So...PLANTY McPLANTERTON is it?

    by Darth_Kong

  • Sept. 6, 2012, 3:05 p.m. CST

    Urban seems like an actor without artifice

    by AlienFanatic

    If how he comes across in interviews is what he's like as a person, he just seems like a nice guy with a cool job and a love of the kinds of things AICN TB'ers love, too. Hope the film is as good as the reviews on RT say and that it leads Urban to better and better roles. (Though the King of the Necromongers wouldn't qualify.)

  • Sept. 6, 2012, 3:25 p.m. CST

    New TV spot

    by chuffsterUK

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WZvfAYdn4DA&feature=g-u-u

  • Sept. 6, 2012, 3:36 p.m. CST

    Hey guys check out this toy. It's from pop culture.

    by Larry Sellers

    I love comics.

  • Sept. 6, 2012, 5:40 p.m. CST

    Looks alright. I'll probably netflix it eventually

    by Joey Stars

  • Sept. 6, 2012, 7:04 p.m. CST

    palmtree_mask: LOL, awesome!

    by Playkins

    I'm always glad to see indifference on here. Too often some 22 year old armchair director will write a thesis of complaints, but not you. "Eh, f- it, maybe I'll check it out sometime." Love it! :-D

  • Sept. 6, 2012, 7:05 p.m. CST

    oops, that was meant to be for livegrenade

    by Playkins

  • Sept. 6, 2012, 7:07 p.m. CST

    Good interview.

    by Raymar

  • Sept. 6, 2012, 7:41 p.m. CST

    Just see it perps!

    by batfunk

  • Sept. 6, 2012, 7:54 p.m. CST

    This looks like it might do well...

    by DougMcKenzie

    and turn Urban into an A-lister. Seriously he's a much better actor than somebody like Worthington or Tatum. I was worried those two were going to become the go-to guys for action tentpoles. Rather Urban and Hardy any day. Make it so Hollywood.

  • Sept. 6, 2012, 8:01 p.m. CST

    i'm probably going to watch this tomorrow.

    by Rakesh Patel

    yep yep

  • Sept. 6, 2012, 8:37 p.m. CST

    Urban's a comic book geek? Awesome.

    by Saracen1

    I've been to Forbidden Planet a few times. Best comic book store ever. I could not imagine the collective geekgasm resulting from Karl Urban browsing the store.

  • Sept. 6, 2012, 8:58 p.m. CST

    New rules...

    by Neil Harrison

    ....From now on, you can only ever use the term 'legendary' if every single US school child has heard of the character. Including those who express a complete lack of interest or even contempt for the entire comic book medium. Also never forget that America is clearly the centre of the universe, and that the rest of the world might as well not even fucking bother to exist. Knob.

  • Sept. 6, 2012, 9:02 p.m. CST

    Dredd's a mfukin legend n shit. You best believe it muhfuker

    by UltraTron

  • Sept. 6, 2012, 9:02 p.m. CST

    Drokkin legend.

    by UltraTron

  • Sept. 6, 2012, 9:06 p.m. CST

    Saw Urban on rerun of Hercules: The Legendary Journeys recently

    by Captain Mal

    Nearly spat milk and whiskey out of my nose. He was playing Cupid, I think, and he looked like a girlie-man, with bleach-blonde moussed-up hair, feathery little wings and everything. If I'd seen that back when it first aired, I never would have guessed that dude would go on to play Dredd. Guess everybody's gotta start somewhere. I like Urban. He's a good actor and seems like a cool dude.

  • Sept. 6, 2012, 10:55 p.m. CST

    '

    by Funis4assholes

    ^ That is an apostrophe. Now I shall return to your interview.

  • Sept. 7, 2012, 4 a.m. CST

    Hollywood 'fare' surely?

    by pearlanddean

    Even by AICN standards, the writing and presentation on this is pretty bad.

  • Sept. 7, 2012, 4:50 a.m. CST

    @ pearlanddean: to be 'fair'

    by jake the muss

    I am glad to read that I am not the only one who noted that error, or at least had the pedantic grace to comment on it ;)

  • Sept. 7, 2012, 5:13 a.m. CST

    re: "Never heard of Judge Dredd till the Stallone movie."

    by buggerbugger

    M. Night Shyamalan's 'The Village': Based On True Events.

  • Sept. 7, 2012, 5:15 a.m. CST

    Like this interview

    by FieldmanNo.1

    It reads like a geek giving an interview with someone about something he's excited about. Proper journalists often like to impose their voice but this seems down-to-earth and passionate. So stop picking on the Sheath! I think if you are British and of a certain age the holy trinity was 'Star Wars' at the movies, 'Monkey' on TV and 2000ad (featuring Judge Dredd) at the newsagents every Thursday. The character is legendary to many. I am seeing this movie tomorrow and I am as excited / anxious / geeking out as I was about Avengers or DKR. Please, please be good Grud Dammit.

  • Sept. 7, 2012, 6:46 a.m. CST

    4 of us Dredd fans are seeing it @ 5pm FUCKING YEHAA

    by bongo123

    words cannot stress how fucking excited this 38y.o. fan is to see a proper fucking JUDGE DREDD movie...

  • Sept. 7, 2012, 7:39 a.m. CST

    2000AD IS DIFINITELY LEGENDARY...

    by Johnny Wrong

    ...as is Dredd. Anyone questioning this simply does not understand the sheer impact the publication has had, and how many important writers (Garth Ennis and Grant Morrison being two perfect examples) started their careers there. Without 2000AD a lot of todays classic comics just wouldn't exist. Simple. And before we go too far down the literature snobbery route, I read as many "proper" books as comics, as do most comic book fans I know. The "comics aren't legit" argument is the same one classical music fanatics hurl at fans of contemporary music. These people are guilty of simple narrow-mindedness, the true enemy of artistic output.

  • Sept. 7, 2012, 7:53 a.m. CST

    DEFINITELY NEED AN EDIT FACILITY...

    by Johnny Wrong

    ...sort it out, Fatman!

  • Sept. 7, 2012, 9:44 a.m. CST

    LEGENDARY???

    by IamHERE

    How the fuck does Judge Dredd get the title legendary?

  • Sept. 7, 2012, 10:01 a.m. CST

    Looking forward to this one

    by Matt Schlotman

  • Sept. 7, 2012, 10:49 a.m. CST

    Just got back from seeing it...Its a bloody great flick

    by allouttabubblegum

    3D was very bad though (overdone depth made everything look fake) only effective in the slomo sections. Actually the post 3D effect is very distracting so try seeing it in 2D if possible!

  • Sept. 7, 2012, 10:51 a.m. CST

    Hallelujah

    by v1c_vega

    At last a bonafide Judge Dredd movie i fucking loved it. Remeber reading 2000AD when it first came out for quite a few years , in my late teen's early 20's painted Games Workshop Dredd figures and various other models. Liked the visual look of Stallones Dredd but really dissapointed with the stroy and overall tone. Urbans Dredd is spot on for me. Yea i can forgive the look of the lawmaster and the uniforms slighlty smaller pads etc for mainly budget constrants i expect. The Helmet is spot on. I really hope it does well enough to get some sequels made. The Raid comparisons are fair comment however I know the Dredd story was being shot before The Raid came on the scene. I felt Raid was Game of Death meets a non futuristic Dredd anyway. Dredd didn't play like The Raid to me it played like Dredd and that is fucking awesome IMO. To sum up for me what Whedon and co did for The Avengers Travis/Urban and co have done for Dredd. Go and fucking support it i want alot more of this.

  • Sept. 7, 2012, 11:14 a.m. CST

    I DIDN'T FORGET...

    by Johnny Wrong

    ...I just hold the other two in greater esteem. You're right, though, Moore is a big deal. Basically, 2000AD was pretty much the birthplace of modern comics. Couldn't give a shit about Marvel or DC, they have nothing to offer in comparison. And iamhere...try actually reading other posts. You know, and taking in what the posters are saying.

  • Sept. 7, 2012, 11:52 a.m. CST

    I expect...

    by Neil Harrison

    ...all denizens of Brit-Cit to do their duty. Support this 18 rated film and ensure we get at least one sequel. I know it isn't a popular view amongst some of the fans but personally, I really want to see the Dark Judges making a later appearance.

  • Probably would depend on who saw him. Good on Urban, I hope we see him in many more roles.

  • Sept. 7, 2012, 6:28 p.m. CST

    Thanks, mimirsan! 2D for me!

    by Matt Schlotman

    No more shitty post conversion 3d movies - they are all terrible

  • Sept. 7, 2012, 8 p.m. CST

    Cool

    by Jeff

    Good interview! And I actually really dug that trailer. My only exposure to Judge Dredd was Stallone's cringeworthy film, so seeing a new, more serious take on a character who's obviously all business works for me. I'll probably go see this opening weekend now.

  • Sept. 8, 2012, 4:41 a.m. CST

    My review and thoughts...

    by Neil Harrison

    I watched Dredd 3D yesterday. Last 3D film I saw was Jaws 3D, almost 30 yrs ago! I normally go for the 2D version if it's available. Wearing an extra pair of glasses over my own, is quite awkward. I give the film a 7.5/10. It's pretty cool but there's scope for improvement with a sequel. Hopefully it does well enough for another Dredd film to get the go-ahead. I certainly have to respect the decision to go for an 18 certificate, and Urban made a very cool anti-hero. There's a couple of niggles, I still don't like the motorbike re-design and sorry, but the judge helmets really do look slightly off with the famous red x design clearly looking as if it would impede the wearer's vision. The helmet design would need tweaking somewhat for another film. And it's extraordinary that the trailer actually shows you the manner of the death of the film's main foe - kind of a spoiler. I want to see the dark judges in a sequel - the hard R/18 rating would certainly make it possible. Oh, and the film is obviously a lot better than the Stallone entry from the 90's! The 3D is service-able but nothing special. The slow-motion sequences easily looked the best. The 3D in the trailer for the new Resident Evil was definetly far superior. To be honest, I wasn't sure if I'd be able to see it as my right eye is INCREDIBLY short-sighted but it turned out not to be a problem. Would I go see 3D again? I think so but I wouldn't buy a tv for the experience...

  • Sept. 8, 2012, 5:38 a.m. CST

    Bloody, brutal and quite brilliant!

    by Judge Anderson's kinky boots

    Watched it twice yesterday and absolutely loved it! Finally a faithful adaptation on screen. Hopefully with a larger budget for the sequel the can expand the scope of Mega-City One and The Cursed Earth, but that's my only niggle. The rest far exceeded my expectations-the performances of Urban, Thirlby and Headey were particularly superb! You guys across the pond are in for treat come September 21st!

  • Sept. 8, 2012, 5:41 a.m. CST

    Dredd 3D was shot in 3D, it's not post conversion.

    by Judge Anderson's kinky boots

    Just for ones information.

  • Sept. 8, 2012, 6:22 a.m. CST

    UK Release fan review

    by bill

    Saw this yesterday, and trying to find a torrent to download. To get out of the way first, I wish the theater had a 2D screening. I'm no fan of 3D. I think good cinematography provides depth better than a pair of crappy sunglasses that give me a f#ng migraine. But that being said, the effects are well used. As a movie by itself, well... I still have a tattered copy of 2000ad Prog 2 (Dredd's first appearance) back from 1977. Back then I was more a fan of Flesh (Dinosaurs, Cowboys, Laser guns. What's not to love?). But down the years, through the Cursed Earth, Chief Judge Cal, the Judge Child Quest, Block Mania and the Apocalypse War, Necropolis and Judgement Day, it's fair to say Dredd grew on me (to the point of wasting precious youth playing the RPG). So, just laying my Dredd Credentials, and admitting this is a slightly biased review. I downloaded the pdf of the Peach Trees script a couple of years ago, and found it a tight, no nonsense action movie. Dredd's lines were sparse, and his role more a physical presence. Anderson provided the human touch. And the movie has carried that through. Karl Urban simply Owns Dredd. The opening credits show a bare headed figure in shadow placing on the Helm, and then that's it: Dredd is finally on screen. (In the 1995 version, Stallone wore the helmet and chin well for the opening Block War scene. And then along came "I knew you'd say that.", the Helmet came off, and it turned into Demolition Man II.) Channeling Clint Eastwood into a sandpapered larynx, Urban delivers Dredd's lines with a dryness that would make Christian Bale dive for the strepsils, but adding that layer of sarcasm and gallows humour that defined Dredd in the comics. The roll and character of Dredd in the movies is pure physical, like a grenade ready to go off; it doesn't have to say very much, but it has your attention. And as a physical character, Dredd doesn't take any shit, nor is he in the habit of fucking around. In contrast, Trilby's Anderson is a delicate flower in a bleak landscape. It's hard to picture her as a Judge (part of her character arc). Against Dredd's cold implacability, this is a good choice of partner (as opposed to Judge Hershey, who's more Souxie and the Banshees, to Anderson's Debbie Harry). She carries the audience through Mega City One, with the hope that there Is some good people there, and all is not despair and desperation. Then when her Psi talents come into play, she turns into Carrie with a bad hair day. !!!#SpoileR#!!! (The psi/interregotion scene is a nice play on the mind reading theme. The danger being, it can work both ways) My only gripe with this version of Anderson was she didn't have the irreverent dialogue and take-the-piss attitude with Dredd, she had in the comics. But maybe this is something that can be expanded on in sequels (she'll be invaluable against the Dark Judges, as we know). The Dredd/Anderson dynamic is the prime focus of the movie, and works well. The expense of this, however, is the main antagonists have to accept a supporting roll, and for me this is where the movie loses a couple of points out of 10. Lena Headey seems to be having a ball as Big Ma Ma, but her scenes and influence to the movie is only about 30-40%. She's just another gang boss; yes, one who has a lot of power, but only in one city block, so she's the proverbial big fish in a little pond. Despite a 2klm high block full of armed, drugged up hab-gangers at her beck and call, it's pretty clear with Dredd, she's bitten off more than she can chew (!!!#spoiler#!!! pun intended). This is an action movie. Pure and simple. There's little in the way of deep angst ridden introspection, and Dredd is in no doubt as to why he does what he does. A refreshing change from other movie superheroes to be honest. The action sequences are well paced and spread out, without being exhausting. (!!!#Spoiler#!!! the massacre of level 74 is right up there with the jungle clearance of Predator). At a little over an hour and a half, it's a straight "day in the life" story. In all, it reminded me of that original 3 page story in Prog2. This is Dredd. Now we want to see more thrills.