Dredd featurette sees the world in a new way

Lionsgate has posted a new featurette for its upcoming dystopian police thriller, Dredd.

Dredd is based on Judge Dredd, a comic book line depicting 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 executions without a formal trial.

One of the key elements of this new film is the use of a drug called Slo-mo, which causes its user to perceive the world around them in super slow motion for a time. At first this seemed like just an excuse to do lots of ‘bullet time’ style effects in the film, but the new featurette makes it seem as though the drug will play a larger role in the film itself, and even allow some comics panels to be shown on screen. 

Dredd kicked off 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. The new adaptation is intended to adopt a more source-accurate look at the story and character.

The more I see about this film, the more I think it’s doing things right this time around. As much as moviegoers and critics complain about Hollywoods tendency toward adaptations and remakes, this one seems like a good idea, and it might help to keep in mind that it’s not a remake of the Stalone film, it’s a readaptation of the original works, and while the same thing was said – and turned out to not be very true – about the recent Total Recall remake, perhaps this time it’s for real.

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.

And here’s the theatrical trailer:

Dredd hits theaters September 21, 2012.