Judge Dredd (1995) – REVIEW

by Jordache Wee

Release Date: June 30, 1995
Directed by: Danny Cannon
Music by: Alan Silvestri
Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Rob Schneider, Diane Lane, Armand Assante, Jurgen Prochnow, Max von Sydow, Joanna Miles, Joan Chen, Balthazar Getty, Maurice Roeves, Ian Dury, Chris Adamson, Ewen Bremner, Peter Marinker, Angus MacInnes, James Earl Jones, Scott Wilson

In 2139 AD, Earth has become crowded and polluted. Mega Cities are crowded everyday with the monstrosity amount of people within this secured city. Villains too has become violent and the city desperately needs a new kind of law enforcement.

Judge Dredd (Sylvester Stallone)

Therefore, the traditional justice system is replaced by elite Judges who acts as police, judge, jury and executioner. Although Judges are deployed to control the cities but not all Judges are capable of enforcing the law except one. He is Judge Dredd (Sylvester Stallone).

Not long, Herman “Fergee” Ferguson (Rob Schneider) was recently released from prison after six month for illegal hacking. He arrived at his new at the “Y” Block only to find his apartment occupied by a gang of terrorists involved with the Block War. Fergee escaped and hid inside a food dispensing robot to avoid the commotion.

Judge Hershey (Diane Lane) was on duty to subdue the riot and chaos but her words was ignored. The iconic Judge Dredd arrives at the scene with his signature trademark: “I AM THE LAW” to make the terrorists seize fire but was ignored either. He rampage into the building and start executing every terrorist in the building.

Fergee, who was hiding in the food dispensing robot was caught by Dredd and sentenced to five years in prison for destroying city property which sounds unreasonable when he reasons with Dredd that he was only trying to save his life.

At high security maximum, a man was shielded and covered with automatic machine guns in case of the risk of escaping. The man named Rico (Armand Assante) was greeted by one of the Judges as he obtained a small token which turns out to be a weapon and kills the Judge and fled the prison.

He return to Mega Cities and had an arranged meeting with Judge Griffin (Jurgen Prochnow). It turns out that these two are in cahoots together.

Rico went to a pawn shop to reclaim his Judge uniform and Lawgiver gun. He killed the owner and reboot a combat robot and sets its function war mode. Then, he murdered the news reporter, Vardas Hammond (Mitch Ryan) to frame Judge Dredd.

Judge Dredd was caught and trialled in court by his mentor, Chief Judge Fargo (Max von Sydow), also present were Judge Evelyn McGruder (Joanna Miles), Judge Silver (Angus McInnes), Judge Griffin and Judge Hershey. Hershey vows to defend Dredd’s innocence.

However, the DNA sequence on the gun can only be used by the same person and every counts has pointed that Dredd was guilty as charged for the murder of the news reporter. Originally, death sentence but change to life imprisonment when his mentor resigns as Chief Justice and pleading that his student should receive the death treatment because of his honorable justice served all this while. Dredd is sent to Aspen Penal Colony while Fargo was to wander alone in the Cursed Earth.

Joseph Dredd and Fergee (Rob Schneider) on the way to Aspen Penal Colony

Inside the prisoner transport ship, Fergee was surprised to see Dredd sitting next to him and questioned him why is he here and telling him that the justice system has fail. The prisoner transport was gun down by The Angel Gang. Every prisoners aboard were killed.

Dredd and Fergee were captured alive by the cannibalistic Angel Gang. The Angel Gang consist of Pa Angel (Scott Wilson), Junior Angel (Ewen Bremmer) and Mean Machine (Chris Adamson). Dredd manages to break free and kill all three and he has no options when a squad of Judges were hunting Dredd under Griffin’s orders were killed in action.

Fargo shows up saving Dredd from getting killed by a Judge but was badly stabbed from behind by Mean Machine who is not fully dead. Dredd electrocuted him. Before, Fargo’s death, he told Dredd the truth about Rico and the Project Janus.

Project Janus was developed to clone the perfect judge to protect the innocents. Therefore, Joseph and Rico Dredd was born. However, Rico’s DNA was genetically manifesting itself turning Rico into a psychopath killer.

Dredd plans his entrance back into Mega Cities via the Lazarus pit as he drags Fergee along too.

Rico has assassinated 108 Judges in the city bringing down the city Judges to almost none. Griffin took advantage of the current Judges to re-initiate Project Janus. He claims that within 8 hours the lost judges would be restore. At first hesitant, but agreed. Rico came in and murdered all the judges.

When Dredd tried to save the Judges. It is already too late. And he is on the run again. Only Hershey believes he is innocent. She further investigates Project Janus and find its location.

Former Judge Rico Dredd (Armand Assante) and Dr. Ilsa Hayden (Joan Chen) taking charge of Project Janus

Dr. Ilsa Hayden (Joan Chen) was part of the cloning project. Hershey was captured by Rico’s combat robot while Fergee was shot and wounded. The battle gets down between Dredd and Rico.

It was revealed that Rico has plan to rule the city with the cloning vats which has been activated. And each of these clone contain his DNA with the help of Dr. Ilsa.

Fergee uses his hacking skills to deactivate the robot from behind as it frees Hershey. Dredd fought with Rico while Hershey against Ilsa. When Dredd finally defeat Rico after plunging his death from the Statue of Liberty, the remaining Judges welcomes him and proposed that he should be the new Chief Judge of which he denies and rather continue to patrol the streets.

Reviewer’s Note:
Danny Cannon has brought Judge Dredd to a live-action from 2000 AD comic books.

I remember watching this film as a kid and I get all excited. Technically I was excited as long they are superheroes. But, Dredd is just a normal hero and its Sylvester Stallone.

It was mentioned by many site reviews that this movie is disappointing but I do not see that way.

I find it has turn into cult film with Sylvester Stallone making a fine Dredd has put anyone who seen him during his childhood years has thought of becoming a law enforcer.

Now that I just watched it again, it does feel it lacks of its supportive plot and main agenda on Rico and the council of judges.

Judge Dredd (1995) lacks of a good story plot. The story which focuses on Rico has taken a fast turning and the bombardment of the Judges and many other scenes are combined in one storyboard. Too fast, too furious – I did say.

The infamous quote we all remembered “I am THE LAW!” is still echoing in my ears. Sometime I feel like donning that helmet and suit. Looks so cool. But the motorcycle is lack of its design and power. Feels like riding on a giant ostrich.


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