Tag Archive: Judge Dredd


So that was January, first month of 2013, eleven months until I hit the big 50. So what did it mean for me?

BOOKS

I finished Great North Road by Peter F Hamilton. This was the first of his books I’d read outside of the Commonwealth Saga. It was enjoyable, though I did find some sections overblown and there seemed (to me) to be a lot of filler.

I also read Redshirts by John Scalzi. I was expecting something more along the lines of Galaxy Quest, if that was what he was heading for then it fell well short of the mark for me. There were some funny moments, but I did not have any of the laugh-out-loud moments some of the reviewers seemed to have enjoyed.

I was back on familiar territory with Bait Dog by Chuck Wendig (a double bill of the novella Shotgun Gravy & the novel Bait Dog). Familiar as in I know what Chuck is about, have  a pretty good idea of how he works. Though I will be honest and say I was surprised by the intensity of this one. Also it was Chuck without any psychic or vampiric powers. A hard hitting story of bullies, racists and sadists. Not for the faint of heart.

Just finished (last night) Apocalypse: Year Zero, a collection of four novellas that center of four women who go through life changing, and shattering events – 911, the Boxing Day tsunami, hurricane Katrina and California’s “big one”. The end result of these experiences is they each find they have power over fire, water, wind and earth. And as they slowly come together over the course of the four novella’s it’s revelaed that the Four Horsemen were not men at all.

 

TV & MOVIES

Well actually only TV, I did intend to go and see The Hobbit for a second time but never got round to it. TV wise I’m now a proud subscriber to Sky TV, and boy am I a happy bunny. Watched Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior (available on Alibi) staring the brilliant Forrest Whitaker. Some pretty hard, brutal stuff in there. Also been watching Ripper Street (BBC1) set in Victorian London in the months after the Ripper killings. Dark, gritty and no holds barred, it also stars Gerome Flynn who seems intent on carving out a niche for himself as a hard as nails character actor (he’s also the brilliant Bronn in Game Of Thrones)

This week started watching The Following (Sky Atlantic) staring Kevin Bacon. Ex-FBI agent brought out of retirement to bring down an escaped serial killer. It has echoes of Red Dragon but an interesting twist is the serial killer has amassed a following, he’s been creating serial killers, he has (possibly) an army of them. Its not for the faint of heart (especially episode 1’s Ice Pick lady scene) but looks to have the makings of a gripping drama.

I also received my DVD of Dredd, watched it and still think its a brilliant stab at bringing the iconic character to the screen. Its just a shame it bombed at the cinema and so highly unlikely and sequels will be forthcoming.

 

WRITING

Some sad news last week when I received an email telling me that Pill Hill Press has closed. Pill Hill gave me my first break, published my first short story. On top of that I have another story accepted by them that was due to be in their next anthology. But there was a sliver lining, Miles Boothe – another author and ardent monster hunter – has created Emby Press and intends to honour all submissions made to Pill Hill. So hopefully in a few months the anthology will be released.

I’ve had a short script placed with Twisted Showcase – a web based anthology series (named in the Guardian’s Top 25 web shows in 2012) – for several months now but they have been struggling to fit it into the filming schedule. There was talk of making it as their first animated short, but finding an animator with time on their hands is not easy. Now they are looking into producing it as a comic strip, and if it is successful on the site will be the first of many.

My WIPs are ticking along nicely. I’ve been prepping a post apocalypse novel for a couple of months now which is close to being ready for the start of the first draft. I’ve also finished a treatment for a pilot episode that I will be writing next month. The aim is to have it written, beta read and second drafted by the end of February so I can catch the current BBC Writers Room submissions window. Once that is done I start work on the novel first draft.

I still have four short stories out there in the world waiting on acceptance/declining emails.

 

All in all January was a packed month, February is shaping up to be more of the same.

 

NOTE: The following story is a work of fan-fiction. It was originally written for a competition ran by 2000AD under the title Dredd Lines. Judge Dredd and everything associated with the character are Copyright of Rebellion Publishing. There is no connection between myself and Rebellion or 2000AD, and none should be inferred. Judge Dredd is the creation of John Wagner and Carlos Ezquerra.

 

***

 

“No!”

Cripps flinched, as much from the roar of his Lawgiver as he did from Dredd’s voice. He knew he shouldn’t be intimidated, he was a Judge, well would be soon as long as he got through today. He shot a glance sideways at his assessor. Judge Dredd himself, up until two hours ago he’d been confident of finishing the day with his eagles; then Dredd had walked into the mess and called out his name.

Dredd stood stony still not speaking, but from the stories he’d heard he was like that most of the time. Cripps watched the perp slide down the wall leaving a bloody trail, his Lawgiver hung loose at his side. Dredd walked over to the body and looked down his hands placed on his hips.

“You never read him the charge sheet. Charges have to be read before carrying out the sentence.”

“He went for a weapon…”

Dredd rounded and in a second they were stood nose to nose. Cripps flinched again, if he was going to survive as a Judge he’d have to get that under control. He wasn’t a nervous man; they’d have picked that up in his psych evaluations and never passed selection.

“Weapon? You’re supposed to be a Judge, even if he had a weapon we have to follow procedures.”

He stormed passed Cripps leaving him standing there looking at the body. He heard the roar of a Lawmaster and turned towards his.

“What are you doing?”

Cripps was half on his ride uncertain what to do.

“Carrying on with the patrol sir?”

Dredd motioned towards the body.

“Call that in it’s your perp.” He revved the engine. “Procedure Cripps it’s the first rule of wearing the badge.”

He sped away up the on-ramp heading for the downtown overpass. Cripps settled into his seat looking at the body then triggered his comm.

***

The Obama Concourse was in flames, the remains of two hover transports scattered across a dozen lanes. The west side of Montgomery Scott Plaza was gone, taken out as they’d come in, the air was full of the roar of burning fuel and sirens.

Cripps stood next to Dredd listening to the report from a street Judge. Cripps tried to gauge the reaction Dredd had to what they saw, but there was none, he stood impassively as he was told of over a hundred fatalities; you’d think he was being told his dinner was late for what little emotion he showed. He knew what Dredd was, they all did, the stories were legends, his exploits; his cold heartedness. But up close, as they had been the past few hours, Cripps was having difficulty accepting anyone could be this detached from the world around him.

“There’s nothing we can do here cadet, simple case of droid malfunction.” Dredd turned to go then looked back at the other Judge. “Best have the owner questioned though, and pull his service records; there could be a case for maintenance negligence, culpable homicide.” The other Judge nodded and returned to his cleanup team, Dredd went back to the Lawmaster’s.

“If the company owner is found to be negligent what’s the punishment cadet?”

“Failing for proper droid maintenance carries a mandatory ten year sentence.”

“Why?”

“On your recommendation, after the robot wars, every company that operates droids has to ensure they were properly maintained and serviced.” Dredd looked at him, he wanted more. “To ensure there was no repeat of what went on before the war.” Dredd nodded but still showed no sign the question had been answered to his satisfaction.

“Alongside the negligence charge, if there are fatalities due to the poor maintenance then the sentence is life.”

Dredd started his Lawmaster and pulled away, Cripps watched him glide between the traffic: guess I passed that one then?

***

Billabongs was a popular entertainment franchise, they’d been popping up all over the city for a couple of years. Cheap synthol and high end holoprogs meant citizens could chill out and escape the daily drudge. The entrance faced onto Marcus Collins Drive, three ground cars showed extensive munitions damage, the second level windows blown out.

Dredd stood looking up, Cripps stood beside him watching the Justice Department drone cross the street towards the entrance. As it mounted the curb it was hit, an exhaust trail led up to the east side window.

“There.” Cripps pointed; Dredd looked at him managing to look even more unimpressed than normal.

“Thank you cadet I think I managed to ascertain the trajectory.”

Cripps dropped his arm quickly looking back at the window hopping his embarrassment didn’t show.

“Rocket launcher?” Judge Mitchells looked questioningly at Dredd.

“Exhaust all wrong that came from an inbuilt weapon. We have an ABC up there.”

ABC- Cripps looked from Dredd to the window. He’d never seen one of the old warrior droids, but knew all about them. Their history was required reading at the academy; if it was an ABC they had problems.

“What’s the procedure cadet?”

“Full tactical assault squad recommended, ABC’s have extensive…”

Dredd was already halfway across the street his Lawgiver in his hand.

“Sir?”

“No time.”

Dredd raised his weapon and let off two rounds at the window the rocket had come from. High explosive shells took most of the wall along the second floor out, as rubble fell towards the street Dredd ran up the steps and in through the front door.

“Drokk.” Cripps set off after Dredd his weapon out watching for any movement from above, and then was up the steps and inside.

Dredd was by the elevator, the doors open, as Cripps approached he tossed an anti personal mine in and hit the button, the doors closed and the elevator went up. Dredd headed for the stairs, Cripps ran to keep up; they’d not gone a dozen steps when the building shook with an explosion. Dredd didn’t break his stride and reached the door to the second floor seconds after the blast, without stopping he barged through his Lawgiver raised scanning the room beyond.

The room was a mess, several bodies lay just inside the door, heads split open, limbs missing. Cripps gasped involuntarily, he’d never been squeamish; you couldn’t be if you wanted to wear the badge, but it was a shock seeing them lain out like that. Dredd didn’t break his stride advancing into the room, stepping around the bodies; paying them no heed. To their left the outer wall was gone, blown out by Dredd’s high explosives, to the right another hole where the elevator doors had been. Some of the bodies closer to the elevator still moved, they’d obviously been caught in the blast, Cripps moved towards them and Dredd held up his hand and shook his head. He pointed forwards, touching two fingers to his visor then pointing at a pile of rubble against the far wall.

A metal leg poked out of the top, the ankle rotated with a sickening grating sound of mashed gears, Cripps moved to the other side of Dredd and came towards the pile from a different angle. A sound behind them made them both stop, Dredd was quick but the ABC was quicker, it came down out of the ceiling, one massive arm scythed through the air catching Dredd in the chest hurtling him across the room, he landed perilously close to the exposed elevator shaft. The rest of the ceiling gave way and the droid landed on its one remaining leg facing Cripps.

It towered ten feet high and had three bodies strapped to its barrel shaped chest section. Cripps looked on in horror as one moved, a young woman, she looked at him blood and tears streaming down her face.

“Please…”

He looked towards Dredd’s prone form but he’d get no help there. The droid took a hop towards him bringing one arm up as the launcher folded out from the surface. Cripps scrambled across the floor as the spot where he’d been erupted in a shower of stone and dust.

“Desist and disengage weapons systems droid.”

Cripps tried to put the sort of authority in his voice he’d heard Dredd use, but it didn’t sound the same. He was afraid, he may be a senior cadet and undergoing his final assessment but there was nothing he’d learnt at the Academy that prepared him to face off against an ABC.

The droid fired again, Cripps just managed to get away as what was left of the outer wall exploded sending debris crashing down. He knew he had to end this quick, there was only so long he could evade the shots. Making his way through the smoke and dust he found he was close to the elevator shaft, looking down he saw it was clear all the way down to the sub basements, a good 100 meters or more. Looking back towards the hopping shadow he formed a plan, all he had to do was figure out how to get the citizens off it.

Moving round the outside of the room he managed to get behind the droid, he tried to remember everything he’d read about the ABCs audio range, he hoped the falling masonry and electrical discharges would mask his movements. The body strapped to the droids back was a young boy, it wasn’t moving and as Cripps crept near he saw the ragged hole in the throat. Cursing under his breath he moved to the right where a man was strapped, he couldn’t see any visible wounds but could see he was unconscious.

That meant two were possibly alive, looking at the strapping it appeared to be industrial, setting his Lawgiver to needle laser he took aim and severed the strips holding the man’s upper body in place. Too late he realized his mistake, as the body tipped forward Cripps saw the strips holding his legs in place; the man’s head smacked against the floor, landing under the descending foot of the droid. There was a sickening crunch as the man’s head ruptured like a melon.

The droid stopped and looked down then its whole top section swiveled round and faced Cripps. The arm came up as the next shell cycled in the launchers chamber, Cripps looked at the woman; she appeared to have lapsed into unconsciousness again, toggling the selector on his weapon he fired two high explosive rounds at the droids leg before it had time to level its arm.

The leg gave out as the knee joint disintegrated sending the droids heavy top section backwards; it crushed the body on its back then skidded on the gore straight through the hole into the shaft and was gone. Cripps stood in amazement looking at the dark hole; he couldn’t believe what he’d just done, a loud crash from below followed by a rush of hot air told him it was finally over.

***

Cripps watched the medics giving Dredd the once over, he was sitting on his Lawmaster looking none too happy that they wouldn’t let him go until they were finished. Cripps half smiled and realized Dredd never looked happy. A shadow fell over him as Dredd pulled up alongside.

“Find something funny Cripps?”

“No sir, nothing, nothing at all.”

“Let’s head back; you need to write this one up rookie.”

Cripps nodded and hit the starter then stopped when he realized what Dredd had called him, Dredd leaned in close.

“You did well, it was a tough call; you can’t always save everyone.” Dredd clicked the gear selector then sat waiting. “Lead off Judge Cripps.”

Dredd 3D – Review

I was 14 in 1977 when I picked up the first issue of 2000AD, a weekly comic full of exotic characters and – for a kids comic – some very adult action. In Prog#2 the world was introduced to a character that has become an icon of British comics, even though the character himself is American. Judge Dredd blasted onto the pages of 2000AD taking charge of the grim street of Mega-City 1 and bringing a weird assortment of perps to justice every week. Over the 35 years since his first appearance Joe Dredd has been through the mill, he’s faced death (literally), disaster, aliens, demons and  the near destruction of his city several times. To bring such a character to the big screen is a hell of an undertaking, his following are up there among some of the most difficult to please there are. So to do the character justice (sic) it would have to be done right. On the whole I think Alex Garland has pulled it off.

Getting the character right is paramount, ignoring Sylvester Stallone’s attempt in 1995 this time round they’ve hit the nail on the head. The one thing Judge Dredd is known for is he never removes his helmet. There is never any explanation as to why – there are hints of disfigurement – and it is taken that staying true to the character’s catchphrase “I am the Law, that the reason the character is faceless is because justice is the same. Karl Urban has the mannerisms and voice down to a tee. Back in the early days of 2000AD creator John Wagner stated that the character was heavily based on Clint Eastwood’s Spaghetti Western man-with-no-name character. To listen to Urban deliver that famous catchphrase you can see he’s researched the character well.

To act as a foil for Dredd the writers have given him a partner, but this time round there is no cringing re-imaging of Fergie, we have Cadet Judge Cassandra Anderson who is well portrayed by Olivia Thirlby. Anderson is a Psi-Judge, mutated by the fallout from the atomic wars she has powerful psychic abilities that, despite not being the best Judge material, set her above other cadets. As with the comic character, in the film Joe Dredd is a brutal law enforcer, think Harry Callahan and times him by ten. Anderson is there to show a softer side to the future Justice system, not that she’s a pushover, she shows her metal throughout the film and proves to a skeptical Dredd that she has what it takes to police the streets of the city.

Every hero needs a villain, Dredd has his in the shape of psychotic crime boss, murderess, drug dealer Ma Ma played by Lena Headey. They could have so got this wrong – think Rico in the 1995 effort – but they managed to get a perfect balance between over-the-top madness and directed aggression. Ma Ma is the queen of her world, and as queen thinks she is above everyone, including the Judges. Her rule over the Peach Trees mega-block where the action takes place is one of total fear. Placed between the two powerful forces of Ma Ma and Dredd you have to feel for the residents, talk about a rock and a hard place.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With all the characters ticking the boxes the other problem the writers had was getting the feel of the film right. Judge Dredd is known as an ultra-violent story, if you’ve ever read the comic you’ll know what I mean. The gunshot wounds inflicted by any weapon are graphic and bloody. The effects in this film have managed to transfer that image perfectly, and is helped also by the Slo Mo effect that kicks in during some of the set pieces. Thankfully the writers made sure the tone of the comic strip was not lost, and thankfully the British censors gave the film an 18 certificate meaning we weren’t served up a watered down film.

I was a little unsure about the look of Mega City One, I suppose I’m too used to the overcrowded look of the comic version. For me the shots we had showed a city with too much open space. But then after watching I thought perhaps I was wrong. In the comic Judge Dredd is set 122 years in the future, so the first time he appeared in the comic in 1977, in Dredd’s world it was 2099. For someone back in the late 70’s the year 2099 was a long way away, in 2012, not so long. So the image created for this film is of a city not that far ahead of us in time, but enough so that we notice the differences.

So how does Dredd 3D stand up against Judge Dredd? I’ll admit to having a soft spot for the Stallone version. Yes it was flawed, Dredd takes his helmet off, the kiss, too many storylines mixed into one. But some things it did have right, the look of Mega City One was closer to the current comic image, the bikes, Mean Angel and the ABC Warrior. But watch them side-by-side (something I will do once Dredd is out on DVD) you can tell which is the superior film, and which one is closer to the source material.

I will admit to having a lot of misgivings about Dredd going in. All of those misgivings were dispelled fairly soon after the film starts, in taking the low budget, more graphic path the writers have managed to capture lightning and produce a vivid, action-packed 90 minutes that gives the viewer little time to catch their breath. The one misgiving I still have, the 3D, not so much the use of it but the films distributors and cinema chains insistence on only showing the film in the one format. Yes I watched it in 3D, I had no choice, after I had a headache, I would have preferred to have watched it in 2D, but wasn’t given the choice.

I’m hoping that Dredd is a success, I’ve heard its taken $1.6million on its opening weekend in the UK placing it at number 1 in the ratings. To get a sequel the studio have marked $50million as the target to break. Hopefully goods reviews and results in the UK will make the film a hit in the US as well.

Few bits of catch-up news and some of the things that interest me in the coming months…

 

Game Of  Thrones

HBO have signed a deal with UK based Blinkboxto stream S1 and 2 –http://www.blinkbox.com/TV/Series/1024/Game-of-Thrones?icn=GameOfThrones&ici=DHB_homepage – both are now available – £1.89 per episode or £17.99 for the series. Blinkbox are part of Tesco and looking through their site have quite a lot to offer. There is no monthly subscription, you pay-per-view.  As part of the deal with HBO shows like Boardwalk Empire and True Blood are also available. Whilst this is good news to non-Sky customers I do worry if it will have a knock on effect. If viewers can now what the show without signing up to Sky will it affect their viewing figures, and also with S2 now available to view 7 months before the proposed release date for the DVD/BluRay boxset, will this affect those sales as well?

Staying with GoT, Irish actor Ciaran Hinds has been cast as Mance Rayder.

 

Mance is the King-Beyond-The-Wall, he’s been mentioned numerous times during S1 & 2, and the last time we saw Jon Snow he was being taken to see him. Mance has amassed a Wildling army and is heading for the Wall.

Ciaran is a well known actor appearing in films such as Munich, John Carter, Tinker Taylor Soldier Spy. He’s probably most well known for his portrayal of Julius Ceaser in Rome.

 

Dredd 

The official trailer for Dredd was released a few weeks ago.

I’ve been a fan of Judge Dredd and 2000AD since the comic first came out in 1977, whilst I am looking forward to this film, I have some reservations. But those reservations are dwindling as the release date draws ever nearer and more information about what we can expect are made known.

 

Red Country

Publisher Gollancz have released a new trailer for Joe Abercrombie’s next book Red Country.

And a newish blurb.

They burned her home.

They stole her brother and sister.

But vengeance is following.

Shy South hoped to bury her bloody past and ride away smiling, but she’ll have to sharpen up some bad old ways to get her family back, and she’s not a woman to flinch from what needs doing. She sets off in pursuit with only a pair of oxen and her cowardly old stepfather Lamb for company. But it turns out Lamb’s buried a bloody past of his own, and out in the lawless Far Country, the past never stays buried.

Their journey will take them across the barren plains to a frontier town gripped by gold fever, through feud, duel and massacre, high into the unmapped mountains to a reckoning with the Ghosts. Even worse, it will force them into alliance with Nicomo Cosca, infamous soldier of fortune, and his feckless lawyer Temple, two men no one should ever have to trust. . .

The past never stays buried . . .

Red Country is out September 3rd in the UK.

 

Gypsys Kiss and more…

I mentioned a while ago that my current WIP – Gypsys Kiss – now has the first part completed and edited, I’m doing some research for parts 2 and 3 before continuing with the writing. In the mean time I’ve begun work on an as yet untitled project that I aim to have completed in time to submit for the Abaddon Books open submission month in September – http://abaddonbooks.blogspot.com/2012/07/write-for-abaddon.html – I’ve got about 3.1/2 chapters done (approx 9,000 words) and hope to have a first draft early in next month. This will hopefully give me time to re-read, edit and get it submitted.

I’ve also re-visited a 60 minute pilot script I started about 18 months ago (I had 20 minutes written and the rest notes). The aim on this one is to get it finished and an outline of the other six episodes in time for the next submission window for the BBC Writers Room in the Autumn.

Busy, busy, busy…

 

Title: Judge Dredd Year One: City Fathers

Author: Matthew Smith

Publisher: Abaddon/Rebellion/2000AD Books

Published: Out Now

Price: £2.99 (Kindle)

Mega-City One, 2080. It is Joe Dredd’s first year as a full-eagle Judge – he may have been created from the genes of Eustace Fargo, the ‘Father of Justice’, and thus part of an illustrious lineage, but right now Dredd is not long graduated from the Academy, and yet to establish himself as the metropolis’s toughest, greatest cop. His reputation will be moulded in the years ahead, but at the moment he’s a young lawman, fresh on the streets.

The brutal murder of a Justice Department-sanctioned spy sparks an investigation that will see Dredd trawl the criminal underworld in the hunt for the killer – and he will discover that all is not what it seems in the sector’s murky black market. Something new has entered the system, and unless Dredd can stop it, chaos will be unleashed…

I began reading 2000AD from the start back in 1977, I remember Prog: 2 and the introduction of Judge Dredd and his dark, dangerous, crazy world. Ever since those early days I’ve been a big fan of old Stoneyface, I may not have read the comic from the late 1980s onward’s but my interest with the character and his world was always there. Recently I’ve gotten back into reading the comic – I’m 20 Progs into the current epic Day Of Chaos – and have been following the development of the new film closely. So it was I was interested when I saw that this first in a new series of books had been published, Year One will be an ongoing look at Dredd’s early days in the uniform.

This book is very much like the early strip, the story is tight and well visualized, the author is expecting the reader to know who the Judge’s are, and what Mega City 1 is like. He takes very little time explaining, instead you are thrown into the story and he drip feeds information about Dredd and the Big Meg. From the off it is interesting to be inside Dredd’s head, to know what he’s feeling, what he’s thinking. There are some insights to this in the comic, but here you get more depth.

The story is gripping, what starts out as a brutal murder leads onto a conspiracy that threatens the city. The characters are more that two dimensional, each are there for a reason and help to move the plot along. It is interesting to see Dredd as a rookie, the fear his name instills is not there yet, but there are glimpses of the Judge he will become. It is also interesting to be a part of his inner monologue and see how he has doubts, mainly about himself and his place in the world. Also he feels the pressure of his heritage, he feels he needs to be more than just a Judge.

There is one thing though that confused me, the inclusion of Rico. Without giving too much away I found it strange considering what he is and how he was portrayed that he was included, and more strange that other Judge’s – including Dredd –  know what he is, especially considering how another Judge is dealt with later in the book. Now I know most Year One stories in other continuities  are re-boots of known histories, I’m not sure if this will turn out to be the same. Considering Rico, it is already different from the known back-story for the character, so I’m left wondering if he will feature more in the early years of his brother in book form than he did in the comic.

If you’ve never read any Judge Dredd I highly recommend this, its a great introduction to a great character.

 

 

 

 

First off let me pin my colours to the mast, I love Judge Dredd. I have done ever since I read the very first story (2000AD Prog #2 if anyone’s wondering) and read him – and the rest of the comic – weekly from 1977 until the late 1980s.

I will further pin my colours to the 1995 Judge Dredd movie staring Sylvester Stallone. Yes it was heavily flawed – drawing from numerous Dredd stories that in the comics spread over a couple of decades, Stallones voice, taking the helmet off – and as a star Stallone was probably the wrong choice. But up until now the 1995 version was the only version to be made, so in some way we should cherish it.

In September, Dredd, the second attempt to get the iconic 2000AD lawman onscreen hits cinemas. This one stars Karl Urban (Lord Of The Rings, Doom, Star Trek) and from the few reports that have been coming out of the production seems to have taken a very different route than the 1995 version.

The script is said to be more adult – one comment I’ve read was along the lines of “think Die Hard crossed with  The Gauntlet and you won’t be far away” – and sticks more closely to the graphic violence depicted in the comic strip. I will admit to have read A script that was leaked online last year. I’m not saying it is the actual script, but will say that if it is – or at least shares the same DNA – then the Die Hard/Gauntlet comparison fits.

Product rumbled along with barely a whisper from writers, actors or anyone linked to the production. There have been a few images showing a grumpy looking Karl Urban wearing a very contemporary looking riot uniform.

This look is miles away from the look  modelled by Stallone 17 years ago.

Which, despite its other flaws, actually sticks closer to the design of Dredd’s uniform from the comic than the new look. Now I know that the uniform as it is in the comics is wholly impractical, top heavy with a shoulder pad on one side and a Eagle emblem on the other. But then everyone knows Batman‘s costume is impractical, but no one has ever thought to redesign it so the person wearing it can actually function.

Uniforms, leading actors and stories aside there is another major difference that has arisen between the two versions of the film, and the source material itself. In the last 24 hours the image above was released, a screen shot depicting Dredd walking out of a building with the view of Mega City One in front of him.

As it stands it is an impressive view, but anyone who has read 2000AD will know that the city is a crazy place, with mile high buildings, walkways, roads, aerial vehicles (pretty much LA from Blade Runner on acid). It is overpopulated – 800 million people – with everyone living on top of each other. Looking at the view above it doesn’t look that crowded, I know its hard to make a judgement when I don’t know in what context this shot is set – I have read that perhaps Dredd is actually on the top level of a building himself so all we are seeing is the tops of the tallest buildings – but it still looks way to…peaceful.

Strangely – again – the 1995 film depicted the city pretty much the same as the comic’s.

So we have two vastly different takes on an iconic character. One was slated by fans and casual observers alike, the other has fans nervous that if the makers screw it up a second time then that’ll be it. At the end of the day it’ll be down to us – the public – to make our minds up whether Dredd (2012) lives up to the expectations heaped upon it. Or whether Judge Dredd (1995)  will be remembered and a valiant if flawed effort and should perhaps be given a second chance.