DREDD was one of the best genre films of 2012.
A film that captures the brutal, darkly comic tone of the original Judge Dredd comic strip has been a long time coming. It has been the stuff of dreams and speculation for years and years. Karl Urban is great as the granite-chinned cop, judge, jury and executioner, playing him as a tenacious pragmatist rather than a hard-core fascist. It was a clever move to include Olivia Thirlby too, as rookie Judge Anderson, with her striking, interesting face, she the emotional centre of the film; a ‘way in’ for the audience, so that Dredd can keep his helmet on.
They are trapped within one of the massive tower blocks within Mega City One and are forced to fight their way out while confronted by the dangerous drug gang, led by Ma-Ma (Lena Heady – looking horrible, but sexy).
Conceived as a trilogy of films with the promise of the Dark Judges appearing in the third in the series, Alex Garland (writer/ producer) and Andrew MacDonald (producer) have created the tantalizing prospect of an adult-orientated comic-book franchise that could run and run. It was a UK co-produced film with South Africa and had a significant budget of $45 million.
However, box-office returns have been disappointing, consigning the proposed films to the status of canned classics.
There is hope. The DVD and Blu-ray sales have been very good. Apparently, the audience for grown-up comic book heroes are sat in their pants, watching TV at home with a bottle of wine and a box of maltesers. The home-viewing success has raised the prospect of a TV series.
Whatever happens to DREDD, we can only hope that a big studio picks up the 2000ad stable of characters to make some great new movies.
Move over Thor. Get your coat Hulk. Pack up your stupid ‘shield’ Captain America. Dirk Malcolm is making a pitch for REAL comics.
No stars, just talent.
Nemesis The Warlock
Be pure. Be vigilant. Behave.
In 2011, David Cameron went about recreating 1981’s three Rs – recession, royalty, rioting – in 2012 he began picking a war with Argentina. This love affair with the hard-nosed politics of the 1980s means that there has been no better time to revive Pat Mills and Kevin O’Neill satire of Thatcherite Britain.
The ‘super-hero’ is fire-breathing demon who is the vanguard against the fanatical Torquemada who is conducting an inquisition across the Terran Empire (a far future version of Earth): alien life needs to be destroyed for its impurity.
Eccentric, disturbing and filled with dark wit that combines a swords and sorcery with an amusing CGI alien pet Grobbendonk, the time has come for Nemesis The Warlock – after all, he’s 40% horse!
Murder! Mayhem! Manners!
In the far future a passenger spaceflight crashlands on an amber-level Deathworld, a sentient planet out to kill any unfortunate humans treading its surface. Unbeknownst to the passengers they have an ace in the hole: the only problem is once he’s woken up he’ll want to eat your flesh (but he’ll ask very politely first).
Half human, half zombie, Zombo is a top secret government experiment who might be the survivors’ only hope of making it off the Deathworld alive. At the risk of spoilers not many of them do, as Al Ewing and Henry Flint’s uberviolent romp has one of the doomed passengers biting the dust in increasingly unpleasant ways seemingly every other page. A giant gorefest with a monstrous hero who never forgets his manners: it’s what the genre needs now after WARM BODIES thought TWILIGHT would work with zombies.
Also there’s a character based on Russell Brand who gets torn apart by a malevolent tree and we could get Brand to play himself.
Enter The Mean Arena: empty complete cities of their inhabitants and play a version of American Football meets Hunger Games. Episode after episode, new city after new city: London, Sheffield, Edinburgh and Manchester.
Matt Talon is the Roy of the Rovers figure in The Slayers, leading his team mates, Sourpus and Hangman, from the depths of obscurity to the top of their game.
All the thrill-power of a future game combined with an overarching plot about brotherly love and insider double-crossing.
That is your new favourite box-set, right there.
Tharg’s Future Shocks
Imagine Amazing Stories crossed with Tales of The Unexpected written, in the main, by fan-boy favourite, Alan Moore with additional contributions from the likes of Neil Gaiman, Peter Milligan and Grant Morrison. The future shocks are short science fiction pieces usually spinning on an amusing twist.
Each episode is introduced by Tharg the Mighty, the editor in chief of 2000ad. He cuts an interestingly green figure, complete in his silver onesy and glowing fore-head blemish ‘The Rosette of Sirius’. He comes from the planet Quaxxann and lives on a diet of polystyrene cups.
Another perfect box-set.
JUDGE DREDD (1995)
The greatest achievement of DREDD is to cleanse the palate after the horrible Stallone effort. There was so much promise for this film, the pre-publicity assured us that it was respectful and authentic.
For the first 10 minutes, the audience is willing to give it the benefit of the doubt, “a flying LawMaster bike, ok, I’ll let them have that,” but as the film moves on, gradually the patience begins to evaporate. He takes his helmet off. He has a comedy side-kick. There are about four stories going on at the same time, none of them are any good. It’s a total LawGiver misfire.
When Urban says “I am the Law!” it feels like he really means it.
When Stallone says “I am the Laaaarrwww” it feels that he wants the cheque to clear as quickly as possible.
Thankfully, Danny Cannon is still in an iso-cube.