Dredd trailer carries out sentence

Lionsgate has released the first trailer for its upcoming dystopian police thriller, Dredd.

Dredd is based on the comic book line Judge Dredd, which depicts a dystopian future in which the police have become the ultimate authorities in criminal matters. Population is so dense, and crime so rampant that punishment for nearly any crime is death, and the ‘Judges’ are responsible for doling out that death immediately and with no formal trial.

The visuals here look outstanding, and the everything from the costuming to the acting is just perfect to the comics, at least from what’s in this trailer. After the terrible Stallone film, I was worried this would be a poor remake, but it really seems to have gone all the way back to the source material for everything (unlike the up[coming Total Recall, which seems to have taken more than a few cues from the previous film).

The new film will apparently take place in a confined area over a very short time, as a way of constraining the story into a very intense look at the character. The official synopsis is thus:

The future America is an irradiated waste land. On its East Coast, running from Boston to Washington DC, lies Mega City One- a vast, violent metropolis where criminals rule the chaotic streets. The only force of order lies with the urban cops called “Judges” who possess the combined powers of judge, jury and instant executioner. Known and feared throughout the city, Dredd (Karl Urban) is the ultimate Judge, challenged with ridding the city of its latest scourge – a dangerous drug epidemic that has users of “Slo-Mo” experiencing reality at a fraction of its normal speed.

During a routine day on the job, Dredd is assigned to train and evaluate Cassandra Anderson (Olivia Thirlby), a rookie with powerful psychic abilities thanks to a genetic mutation. A heinous crime calls them to a neighborhood where fellow Judges rarely dare to venture- a 200 story vertical slum controlled by prostitute turned drug lord Ma-Ma (Lena Headey) and her ruthless clan. When they capture one of the clan’s inner circle, Ma-Ma overtakes the compound’s control center and wages a dirty, vicious war against the Judges that proves she will stop at nothing to protect her empire. With the body count climbing and no way out, Dredd and Anderson must confront the odds and engage in the relentless battle for their survival.

The film is not a remake of the previous Judge Dredd film at all. It’s a completely different Dredd story, and sounds pretty sweet. There is a lot of talent here, and numerous excuses for great action and fight scenes. For example, the Slo-Mo drug seems like a really good way to get a lot of bullet-time fight scenes in the film, which is just fine with me.

Dredd started as an anti-hero comics character with a deep mythology, and a hardcore social message, but the Stalone film did the concept little credit, turning it into a pure action flick. There are so many franchises which, when adapted into action films during the 80’s and 90’s, were taken too far from their original themes and attitudes. In a recent interview, co-creator of the Judge Dredd comic, and consultant on the new film, talked about the new plot.

“It’s impossible to cover every aspect of the character and his city – perhaps that was one of the failings of the first film,” he said. “They tried to do too much and ended up with not a lot. Dredd homes in on the essential job of judging – instant justice in a violent future city. I like the actors, they’re well cast and they handled their parts well.”

Dredd hits theaters September 21, 2012.