A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Dredd 3D is based on the futuristic comic book hero Judge Dredd, who was also the subject of a 1995 Sylvester Stallone movie. The new movie is full of extreme sci-fi/fantasy violence, with thousands of bullets fired, gallons of blood spilled, and hundreds of casualties, including victims splattered and burned (and it's all even more intense in 3-D). Language is almost as strong, with many uses of "f--k," as well as a few other words. Sex comes up in a kind of fantasy "psychic" sequence in which a character briefly imagines oral sex being performed on him (nothing graphic shown). Though real drugs/alcohol don't appear, the entire plot is about the manufacture and distribution of a fictitious, illegal street drug called "Slo-Mo." Viewers see drug trip scenes and teens trying it. Overall, this is fairly intense for a popcorn movie and is best for mature older teens and up.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
In the future, Judge DREDD (Karl Urban) works as law enforcer in Mega-City One; his job has been simplified, allowing him to kill anyone who's actually guilty. He's assigned to test out a new rookie judge, Anderson (Olivia Thirlby), to see whether she has what it takes. On their first day, they enter a 200-story high rise to investigate a triple homicide. They find a possible killer (Wood Harris) and decide to take him in for questioning. But the evil drug queen called "Ma-Ma" (Lena Headey) who runs the entire building shuts it down, preventing any escape, and then orders the occupants to kill the two judges. Will our heroes survive long enough to complete their mission?
Is it any good?
No subplots, romances, or comic sidekicks get in the way of the pure action in this adrenaline-filled movie. Both Dredd 3D and the earlier The Raid: Redemption are set in a high rise with the bad guy at the top, where every floor is more dangerous than the one before it. Fortunately, the two movies are different enough -- and enjoyable enough -- that they can exist side by side. Based on the popular comic book, Dredd 3D is extremely violent but minimalist at the same time. Even Urban, as Dredd, speaks only when necessary and only in an emotionless murmur.
Director Pete Travis uses space well and also incorporates an awesome production design, such as a skateboard ramp that hangs off the side of the building several hundred feet up. The "Slo-Mo" drug trip sequences in particular are quite dazzling. Thankfully, even these flashier elements are all employed solely for the purpose of underlining and enhancing the action. Overall, Dredd 3D isn't as rich or as deep as The Dark Knight Rises or The Avengers, but it's good, solid comic book fun.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Dredd 's extreme violence, gore, and blood. How necessary was it to the story? How does it compare to what you might see in a horror movie? Which has more impact?
How do the actions of law enforcement characters differ from those of the villains? Why is one set of characters right and the other wrong? What is the movie saying about the powers of the law?
As a superhero and/or comic book hero, is Judge Dredd a role model? How does he compare to other comic book heroes you've seen (Batman, Spider-Man, Iron Man, etc.)?
What does Anderson learn over the course of the movie? Is she a positive female role model?
- In theaters: September 21, 2012
- On DVD or streaming: January 8, 2013
- Cast: Karl Urban, Lena Headey, Olivia Thirlby
- Director: Pete Travis
- Studio: Lionsgate
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Run time: 95 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: strong bloody violence, language, drug use and some sexual content
- Last updated: September 21, 2019
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