A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Judge Dredd is a grim and violent sci-fi movie in which characters are continually fighting -- shooting futuristic guns, throwing grenades, and punching. In some instances, the violence borders on cartoon-like in its outlandishness, but that in no way softens scenes where dead bodies roast on spits or prison wardens are shot in the throat. Expect strong language, too, including "f--k" and "p---y." Considered a flop when released, the movie has acquired a cult following that teens may find attractive.
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What's the story?
In a future where humans survive in mega-cities on a devastated planet now called "The Cursed Earth," it's up to judges like Joseph Dredd (Sylvester Stallone) to maintain what is left of order. The judges are literally "judge, jury, and executioner" as they police the streets and make arrests. They also determine guilt or innocence and pass sentence. Dredd is known as the toughest of the judges, but when he is framed for a crime he did not commit Dredd must find a way to avoid prison, prove his innocence, and stop an evil criminal (Armand Assante) from destroying the judges and creating his own army of super-criminals.
Is it any good?
In spite of not being in the same league as similar films like RoboCop and Blade Runner, JUDGE DREDD is an enjoyable-enough movie as long as you moderate your expectations. The dialogue can be corny from time to time ("Emotions," says Judge Dredd. "There ought to be a law against them."), the action and the violence can be a bit much, and Sylvester Stallone is, well, Sylvester Stallone, grunting through his lines. That being said, as both an action movie and a story based on the comic books, the film revels in the exaggerations inherent in both forms, be it in the dialogue, the violence, and the characters themselves.
Judge Dredd certainly goes out of its way to not be boring, even if it feels derivative. If you can accept the cliches of the genre, you might find something worthwhile.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about adaptations of comic book stories. What makes them successful or not?
What similarities and differences do you see between Judge Dredd and other dystopian science fiction films?
What is the point of so much violence? Are filmmakers trying to make a point, or just keep audiences entertained?
- In theaters: June 30, 1995
- On DVD or streaming: August 19, 1998
- Cast: Diane Lane, Rob Schneider, Sylvester Stallone
- Director: Danny Cannon
- Studio: Buena Vista
- Genre: Science Fiction
- Topics: Robots
- Run time: 96 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: continuous violent action
- Last updated: March 18, 2021
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