Netflix February 2017_day.28 – Judge Dredd (1995)

_This is it. The last day of Netflix February. It brings to a close the now annual month where I write more than I do in the other 11. It’s not really my intention, it just kind of happens that way. Netflix February is a thing that I don’t really have any obligation to do. I could easily just write up a single paragraph for every day. I could just watch them in private and write nothing. More than anything, the month serves as a reason to write stuff. I’ve had people compliment my writing before, but I’m my own harshest critic. I’d rather do nothing than post something that I’m not satisfied with. Even if it’s arbitrary, the daily deadline helps. And it’s fun, too. I do enjoy watching all these movies. Even the shitty ones. Especially the shitty ones. Well, I enjoy the good movies more, but like I’ve said, the shitty ones are easier for me to write about. Yesterday’s Twilight post was effortless.

Their best lawman is framed as a common criminal. That was their first mistake. Now he wants more than justice.

Spoilers: He is the law. Judge Dredd.

_Starts off with a narration by James Earl Jones. Solid.

_The gold shoulder pads Judges wear in this movie are shinier than anything in the entire Dredd movie with Karl Urban.

_I love that Rico turns on this old war robot, and it growls. Do robot designers actually do that? Program their robots with the ability to do a deep, evil growl to try to scare people?

_I love that they actually call him “Joshua Dredd.” Like his last name is actually Dredd. That wasn’t something he adopted just to make criminals shit themselves when they heard “Dredd is coming.” That was just his last name. When they took roll call at school, it went “Dredd?” “Here.”

_This plot is great. Turns out Dredd was created in a lab along with the evil Rico. It was an experiement to create the perfect Judge. PROJECT JANUS. They took all of the DNA of the best judges, and created Dredd…but something went wrong with Rico…and he became the perfect criminal! Dun dun daaaaaaa!

That just seems like exactly how DNA would work right. “Opposite DNA would create a total opposite person.” Opposite can be construed in different ways. Sure, “perfect criminal” is opposite to “perfect judge” in this, but maybe the opposite of Dredd is someone who doesn’t necessarily break the law, but is ambivilent to it. Dredd kills a ton of people in the name of the law, maybe his opposite with abhor violence of any kind. Maybe Dredd is the perfect street cop, so his opposite would file paperwork behind a desk the likes of which has never been seen before.

_It’s interesting viewing this from a modern scope. The character who basically serves as an on-the-street judge, jury and executioner, and whose most memorable quote in the movie is yelling “I am the law!” is portrayed as the protagonist that we’re rooting for. That’s not happening in 2017.

_It’s really hard to not compare this movie to Demolition Man. Set in the future, Stallone in law enforcement, Rob Schnieder in a comic relief role, final confrontation in a facility while the bad guy is trying to assemble an army of villains to take over the city…I mean, seriously, is there any chance that this movie wasn’t conceived directly after Demolition Man’s success? If only it was as awesome as Demolition Man, though. Judge Dredd doesn’t even have the three seashells.

_So the opening credits have a monatage of covers and pages of Dredd comics plastered all over the screen while names and studio departments are plastered over them. There’s something so…forced. It feels like the studio doesn’t trust any viewers not familiar with the source material to buy into the movie unless they know it’s based on a comic, while simultaneously going “Hey, look, Dredd comics! We’re embracing it!”

But then they have Stallone walking around with his helmet off all the time. I’ve literally never read a Dredd comic and know enough that in the comics, he’s never shown without his helmet. It’s a thing. A thing that had been like that for two decades when this was made, and to this day, 40 years after his debut, is still a thing. The kind of thing where if anyone watched this and was familiar with the source material, they’d be irritated by it.

It’s the kind of thing that blows me away. Who is out there going “Hey, let’s adapt this niche thing for a movie, and in the process of adaptation, let’s make something that will totally alienate the niche fan-base in an attempt to appeal to a broader audience!” It just feels like it defeats the purpose of licensing this kind of a property. If you’re gonna do that, why not just do it with original characters? Like I said, I’ve never read any Dredd, but it reminds me of the Aeon Flux movie. I love the original series. I love the Liquid Television shorts. The movie itself isn’t terrible…but it’s kind of only Aeon Flux in name. That’s what I imagine Judge Dredd is like to fans of the comic.

_Thus ends Netflix February. I hope you enjoyed yourselves. Thank you for joining me on my annual journey. There is no movie tomorrow. See you when I see you~


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