There are things I like about the 1995 film version of "Judge Dredd," directed by Danny Cannon. I think it's got a great look, particularly in the way they designed the urban landscapes, and at the time, it was about as cutting edge a future city as we'd seen on film. I love the Jerry Goldsmith piece of music that was written for the trailer, even if it never did show up in the movie. And I think there are a few moments where they sort of captured the world of the original comic series quite well, with some of the side characters and environments.
Which is not to say it was a good movie. It wasn't. A big part of the problem is that you can't cast a movie star as recognizable as Sylvester Stallone and ask him to wear a mask that obscures 2/3 of his face for the entire running time. And, sure enough, Stallone's ego forced the filmmakers to find an excuse to get the mask off for a good portion of the film.
I'm not the sort of person who insists that each and every detail of a comic make the jump to the big screen (or a novel or a play or any other source material), but when something is a key part of a character's identity the way Dredd's mask is, then you should do your best to honor that. And it sounds like the producers of the proposed new "Judge Dredd" movie, now officially set to star Karl Urban as the lead character, understand exactly what it will take to bring Dredd to the screen successfully.
According to Borys Kit, the deal for Urban just closed. He's been rumored to be playing the part for a while now, but this finally confirms that Pete Travis, who directed the "Rashomon"-style conspiracy thriller "Vantage Point," is going to be helming the project with Urban under the mask. And, yes, it sounds like they'll be keeping the mask on for the vast majority of the film, if not the entire thing.
Set in a future where judge, jury, and executioner is one job now, "Judge Dredd" has always read as a sort of hyperviolent satirical take on the way law and order works, and the way we wish it worked. The comics strike a tone not unlike Verhoeven's "Robocop," and I hope Travis and his writers manage to strike that same balance in this new film.
For now, consider me interested, and I hope the film lives up to the rich, interesting source material.
And in a perfect world, maybe they'll actually use that Goldsmith theme this time around.
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