Is the Judge Dredd Reboot Just a Generic Action Movie Set in a Building?


Kinda. Except this one stars a guy with a big ol helmet and a big ol gun running around with a psychic chick fighting guys doing “Matrix” bullet-time drugs in the future. And it’s set in a building. So essentially, “Die Hard in a Building”. With, er, Judge Dredd, played by Karl Urban, and Olivia Thirlby as psychic Judge Cassandra Anderson. And the script is by one Alex Garland, of “Sunshine” and “28 Days Later” fame. So could it really be THAT bad?

Apparently the answer is Yes.

Or at least, that’s the word from those who have read a leaked copy of the script as written by Garland. IO9 has a full rundown of all the places where a review of the script has surfaced so far, and the common thread seems to be that Garland and 2000 A.D.’s version of “Dredd” is too small and too contained, which certainly would set it apart from the big-budget Hollywood version starring Sylvester Stallone. And did I mention everyone seems to agree that the scope of the film is too small for a Judge Dredd movie?

Here’s an excerpt from I09’s review that gets to the heart of the matter:

What’s the script about? In a nutshell, to quote The Middleman, it’s “Die Hard in a building.” Judge Dredd and a novice judge with elite psi-skills but low judge aptitude scores, Cassandra Anderson, get trapped in a Mega-City block run by an evil crime lord named Ma-Ma. She’s the source of a hot new drug called Slo-Mo that — you guessed it — makes everything look like it’s happening in slow-motion. (Perfect excuse for some “bullet time” sequences from the POV of someone on the drug.) Judges Dredd and Anderson have to fight their way out of the building, with one of Ma-Ma’s henchmen whom they’ve arrested. By all accounts, it’s a very generic action movie.

Apparently a LOT of people has read the script, which makes you wonder if 2000 A.D., the people producing the reboot, purposefully leaked it to get fan reactions. Or if not, then they’re probably not very happy right now. Granted, there are a couple of positive reviews, but they’re in the minority, with most reviews ranging from negative to downright angry.

Just to balance things out, here’s a positive review:

It’s very much in the ‘high-octane’, action set-piece mold. If you’ve heard comments to the effect that it’s like Die Hard, I would say that’s pretty accurate. Dredd remains, as you would expect, emotionless, hard as fuck and badass all the way through with Anderson providing the ‘in’ for the audience. Yes, she’s a Judge but it’s her first night on the job and it’s all a bit overwhelming and exciting… Just to be clear; this script is a winner. If the director is good, this film will be fantastic.

The director in question is one Pete Travis, who has directed action/thrillers “Vantage Point” and “Endgame”, so Dredd’s reboot certainly isn’t coming to you under the direction of a novice, so that should help.

NOTE: The link to IO9 above also features a couple of MAJOR SPOILERS from the script/movie, most involving Judge Anderson (played by Thirlby, below) so I would not click to read it if you wish to know nothing beyond the general plot outline (“Die Hard in a Building”, etc.). You have been warned.

Author: Nix

Editor/Writer at Likes: long walks on the beach and Kevin Costner post-apocalyptic movies. Dislikes: 3D, shaky cam, and shaky cam in 3D. Got a site issue? Wanna submit Movie/TV news? Or to email me in regards to anything on the site, you can do so at nix (at)
  • Dedpool aka Jiinx

    It’s not a bad premise for the first movie perssay but still, it doesn’t lend to the spectacle that is Mega City 1. As many people as there are that hate the Stallone version, they have to admit, visually it was exactly the way it should have been. I’ve said in the comments for the new Dredd that it looks like the near future to me, not futuristic. And I’m not even talking “Minority Report” or “I, Robot” near future. Unless this is something that takes place in the lower and older parts of the city I’ll be underwhlemed by the design, but still rooting for Urban!

  • PG

    Judge Dredd with Stallone is a guilty pleasure. It would have been great without Rob “Is a Stapler” Schneider running around…but other than that Stallone was perfect as Dredd.

    • Dedpool aka Jiinx

      I am in full agreement, though having him outta uniform n helmet also kinda killed it for me but Scheinder was worse. And what was with him n Sly and future cop movies. He was only slightly less annoying in “Demolition Man” (another guilty pleasure) and only cause he was in it less.