The Suicide Squad

Vampire Owl: Do you remember watching the last Suicide Squad?

Vampire Bat: That was rather too long ago to remember.

Vampire Owl: There is never too long ago with superheroes.

Vampire Bat: These are the supervillains though.

Vampire Owl: We are now living at times when there is not much of a difference between the two. The borders have been blurred.

Vampire Bat: I would have some exceptions with these particular people though.

Vampire Owl: They are not really the ones we would like to have in the vampire realm.

Vampire Bat: You mean to say that there cannot be a Vampire Suicide Squad with freaks.

Vampire Owl: An immortal squad for suicide? That cannot be.

Vampire Bat: Well, immortality can be ended with a well-planned suicide if you are good enough to do that.

[Gets a chicken cutlet and three glasses of chocolate shake].

What is the movie about? :: Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) gets a team known as Task Force X, also called The Suicide Squad – consists of prison inmates who agree to carry out extremely dangerous and often near impossible missions for her in exchange for lighter sentences. As they come up against their first mission, there are two teams, and from the first one, Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) is the only inmate who survies along with Colonel Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman) who was leading the team. The second team is able to sneak in between, under the leadership of Bloodsport (Idris Elba), and supported by Peacemaker (John Cena), King Shark (Sylvester Stallone), Polka-Dot Man (David Dastmalchian), and Ratcatcher 2 (Daniela Melchior). They are now at a small South American island nation of Corto Maltese which had its autocratic government overthrown by an anti-American one. They have to destroy a Nazi-age laboratory which still holds a secretive experiment known as Project Starfish. It is supposed to be extra-terrestrial in nature.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: While Bloodsport and Peacemaker are expert marksmen, Ratcatcher controls rats. King Shark seems to be the strongest among them while Polka-Dot Man seems to be more of a distraction than anything else. King Shark almost eats Ratcatcher before being stopped by her pet rat, while Bloodsport and Peacemaker cannot get along at all, going on competing with each other instead of concentrating on the mission. Polka-Dot Man seems to be all lost in between. They find Flag among the rebel soldiers and Sol Soria (Alice Braga) who leads the soldiers agrees to assist them, so that their country could be free from military control, and also as part of vengeance. Harley Quinn who is caught by the government soldiers is taken to the palace, and she understands the new regime’s plan to destroy the other nations using Project Starfish. The team has to find The Thinker (Peter Capaldi) who is in charge of the operation before the situation gets any worse.

The defence of The Suicide Squad :: The colours and shades that we see in The Suicide Squad are beautiful, and it seems to be a quality which it has inherited from its predecessor. You can always keep your eyes on the screen, and be happy with what is seen on the background with settings that keep one interested. The visuals are all good, with the world looking beautiful. There are some fine action sequences in the final moments of the movie, and the use of humour works at times – the same is done best by Harley Quinn herself. The use of rats contribute nicely to make a visual spectacle, and the lights during the darkness nicely contribute to making the world better. The fights in the movie can be seen an worth one’s time. The action had also started much early, and there is not much time wasted with that. There is also scope for some fine sequels and spin-offs left in the end too. The stylish part stays strong too.

The claws of flaw :: The movie required a better human villain to keep things strong, but that cannot be seen around here. The villainy among the main characters also fall flat with not much being done with it. There was always something special to be done with a film like this, and better heroes could also make way here. The blood and gore is very much unlike the usual superhero films, but with its big extra-terrestrial antagonist, it chooses to go dumb in the looks and not scary, which is also strange. There is also no shortage of usual repetitions around here. With a fine premise, it losses so many opportunities which were there to be taken. The big iconic character, Harley Quinn, is also not used to the best advantage, as we know that she has always deserved more. Some of the humour here also feels dumb enough – the dark humour doesn’t work that effectively. This required to maintain its quality at all times, but we see that it has some regular ups and downs.

Performers of the soul :: Throughout the movie, one can surely see Margot Robbie dominating the proceedings again as Harley Quinn. There are moments which seems to be about her only, even though nothing matches what he did in the earlier Suicide Squad – the absence of Joker will always be the big missing point. The one tale that catches our attention the most is that of Daniela Melchior, who dominates the proceedings in a beautifully passive way. She is the one who deserves a possible spin-off among all the characters around here, something bigger and smarter than Birds of Prey. This is one character to which we are also emotionally attached, and this attachment is to stay, as long as the last rat is alive on this planet. There is a certain amount of cuteness in the psychotic beauty that is attached to everything about her. Idris Elba’s character is rock solid, while John Cena’s is just ridiculous. There is no strong villain among the performers either, even though there were so many signs in the earlier stages of the movie.

How it finishes :: The Suicide Squad is a journey down from the original Suicide Squad, which was poetic, and fun from the beginning to the end, and had a human antagonist worth fighting against, unlike what we have now. Even the characters or similar characters reflecting the first movie are not that good here, whether with the costumes or with the action. Yet, this movie also holds its ground, and manages to be better than DC’s superheroes coming together. When the team of villains do better than Justice League every time, one cannot wonder about the fact that the world is going with evil over goodness. The evil that we have seen in this world through the ages will only get worse, that is for sure. The Suicide Squad is a reminder of the same, and it makes another interesting film. Until DC gets the better superhero movies like Aquaman back here, you can always watch Minnal Murali, the first Malayalam superhero movie on Netflix, which gets the origins better than most of the others in style.

Release date: 24th December 2021 (Amazon); 5th August 2021 (USA)
Running time: 132 minutes
Directed by: James Gunn
Starring: Margot Robbie, Daniela Melchior, Idris Elba, John Cena, Joel Kinnaman, Sylvester Stallone, Viola Davis, Jai Courtney, Peter Capaldi

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Guardians of the Galaxy 2

Vampire Owl: Are they as cool as our guardians?

Vampire Bat: But we haven’t really appointed any guardian for the New Vampire World.

Vampire Owl: I was referring to ourselves as the guardians.

Vampire Bat: I don’t think that we are qualified enough to take over as the guardians anywhere.

Vampire Owl: It is relevant that we refer to each other as guardians.

Vampire Bat: Does that accomplish anything?

Vampire Owl: Well, with great power comes great responsibilities.

Vampire Bat: You haven’t been responsible since the last red moon.

Vampire Owl: Which is exactly why I need this.

Vampire Bat: You really don’t need a reason for that, and there is absolutely no need for prior experience in the same.

[Gets the tickets with masala tea and cheese popcorn].

What is the movie about? :: Star-Lord Peter Quill (Chris Pratt), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax (Dave Bautista), Rocket (Bradley Cooper), and Baby Groot (Vin Diesel) have improved their positions as the Guardians of the Galaxy, and are more famous than ever. Due to the same, Ayesha (Elizabeth Debicki) the leader and the high priestess of the golden people known as the Sovereign, assigns to them, the task of protecting their high-powered batteries from a monster out of space – she assigns the same to the Guardians as she hesitates to waste the life of anyone belonging to their high class species. In return, the high priestess had offered Nebula (Karen Gillan), Gamora’s sister who was caught trying to steal the same batteries. The Guardians are successful in stopping the monster finding its weakness, and are given the thief in return, along with a display of high priestess’ contempt for them. Nebula does maintain her hatred for her sister and continues to thrive on the same.

So, what happens next? :: But it turns out that they are chased by a group of drones remotely controlled from Sovereign, as Rocket had stolen a few batteries for himself, much to the dismay of Peter Quill and Gamora. They are very much in trouble, but are saved by Quill’s father, Ego (Kurt Russell) who destroys each and every drone before the Guardians crash on to a nearby planet. There, Ego accompanied by Mantis (Pom Klementieff), an alien with empathic powers, greets the Guardians and reveals to Peter who he is. Quill, Gamora, and Drax travels with him to his planet, while Rocket, Groot, and Nebula in bondage stays behind with the ship being repaired. Yondu Udonta (Michael Rooker) who is living a life in exile, is contacted by Ayesha to punish the Guardians for their crime. With his team, he makes a quick visit to Rocket and captures him, only to be replaced as the leader by Taserface (Chris Sullivan) in a mutiny supported by Nebula who gets herself free.

And, what is to follow next in the galaxy? :: Ego’s planet is revealed to be his own, and seems to have no other life form other than him and Mantis. He reveals himself as a celestial creature, something like a god, and shows his ability to manipulate matter to his son. He tells Peter that despite assigning Yondu to deliver him as a boy, that never happened, which is why their meeting took so long. Ego lets him know that he had been searching for his son all around for a very long time, but couldn’t find any success with the same until then. Meanwhile, Drax gets closer to Mantis who seems to have something to tell him. At the same time, at the other planet, Rocket, Groot and Yondu are imprisoned by Taserface as he kills the men loyal to Yondu. Nebula takes a spacecraft to go and find Gamora and kill her, while Taserface decides to finish off the executions on the next day. Gamora also feels that there is something strange about Ego – what would that be? Can the other guardians escape captivity in time?

The defence of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 :: The best thing about this flick is that it can stand alone, and not just as the volume two. The visuals are undoubtedly great, and the fact that it is in 3D adds to the same. The music is also really good, and it keeps the whole thing going along with the humour which scores even better than the previous movie. With some wonderful action sequences to go with everything else, you are certain not to miss the entertainment factor in this one. Running just over two hours and a quarter, this movie has absolutely no moment which makes you think about not having watched this one. The emotional side is also too good, and it is also another improvement from its predecessor. The most interesting characters in this one are Karen Gillan’s Nebula and Michael Rooker’s Yondu – there is no prize for guessing which one is the cutest one, for that one rules the poster at more than one place.

The claws of flaw :: One has to say that three years means a little too much of a gap between two superhero movies, especially with this tale and heroes not that much popular ones at least in this part of the world – people seems to have forgotten most of the action from the first part, but thankfully, this one can stand alone except for very few occasions. The regular viewer is certain to wonder who was defeated in the first part and for what reason was there for the same to happen. Also, the movie hesitates to explore the universe beyond, and it was something that could have been easily done with Sovereign added – more is always possible in this case when we see the premise again. We know what the game Mass Effect had achieved with a universe like this, and that proves the same – even though there is the comic book base, more could have surely been done differently in a world without boundaries.

How it finishes :: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is certain to be a very entertaining superhero movies to all kinds of audience, with the world or rather the galaxy needing to be saved once again. There are so many interesting superhero movies coming up, some of which we have already seen the trailer including Thor: Ragnarok and Wonder Woman, we are certain to have a big year here. This remains one immortal genre, and with superheroes all around, we will keep having more movies to follow. As they keep coming, this movie improves on the original Guardians of the Galaxy, and becomes the entertainer that needs to be watched in 3D on the big screen to get the maximum effect. Visually too good a movie and with good humour and emotional side, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 becomes one the rare sequels which become better than the first movie – it is something which superhero movies have struggled to even as there are exceptions. Well, it is the time when Alien Covenant is running the show on other planets.

Release date: 5th May 2017
Running time: 136 minutes
Directed by: James Gunn
Starring: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Pom Klementieff, Elizabeth Debicki, Chris Sullivan, Sean Gunn, Sylvester Stallone, Kurt Russell

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Expendables III

expendables3 (2)

Vampire Owl :: I am outsourcing this. Counting sucks.

Vampire Bat :: It is impossible to count the superstars in this movie, especially because we predate Mathematics. Uncle Dracula survived for so long without it.

Vampire Owl :: I am hiring an owlification assistant.

Vampire Bat :: Leave it and just remember Sylvester Stallone.

Vampire Owl :: I just hope the screen is enough for all of them.

Vampire Bat :: I told you it was better to watch Scarlett Johansson.

Vampire Owl :: I have graveyard shift. How can I wake up for its early show?

Vampire Bat :: There is something called alarm. Try it at least once. I know you can’t stand that sound.

Vampire Owl :: Still better than being under an ice bucket.

Vampire Bat :: I am not wasting water on that.

[Goes to the ticket counter].

What is it about? :: Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone) and his team of Expendables is once again in a conflict, but this time, they come face to face against the co-founder of the same team long ago, Conrad Stonebanks (Mel Gibson), who has transformed himself into a ruthless man. Barney’s team lose the battle there and are almost killed, with Hale Caesar (Terry Crews) seriously injured. He leaves his old team behind for their own safety and gets a new one including John Smilee (Kellan Lutz), Luna (Ronda Rousey), Thorn (Glen Powell) and Mars (Victor Ortiz) and goes after the new enemy, much to the dismay of the older members, especially Lee Christmas (Jason Statham), Gunnar Jensen (Dolph Lundgren) and Toll Road (Randy Couture). But would that be enough to take down the big man who has always been one step ahead of the current Expendables leader? Will the strength and agility of the new members prove better than the experience and smartness of the older members? Can the team even stand together in a battle for which they are not actually enough trained and prepared? Will they live up-to their name, or can they actually live beyond their name?

The defence of The Expendables 3 :: Here comes the nostalgia of The Terminator, Rambo and a few others on the screen, and it is something that can’t be matched. It is something like a 20-20 cricket match in which there are so many superstars with two all-star teams playing, with legends running all around. It is that kind of an opportunity which comes only with this franchise lead by Sylvester Stallone and his team(s). It is where the movie scores easy points, an advantage which no other movie or franchise got, and something like this might not be easy to come either. The action sequences are also there are expected, but they are really less here, and they come late. There are lots of stylish and powerful sequences there, and it is not just good to see them together – it is more than that to the fans. There were lots of claps in the theatre, especially for three people, Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, and Arnold Schwarzenegger, the last one even without doing much. That much is the power of these people, and the movie can run nicely with that.

The claws of flaw :: The movie has a population problem in there, with the density of population being too much for a flick which lasts just over two hours – there is not enough for everyone, and the plot also suffers due to the same; it seemed to want to do something for all the stars, but fails miserably in doing it. The result is a certain amount of drag which comes in between, and for showing all these people on the screen for enough time with something given to them all, the movie misses out on being engaging. The action sequences are missing for quite a lot of time, and the first half thus goes into a slower mode. It struggles so hard to be not the shadow of itself in a world which itself is losing in strength. The dialogues also lack punch, as if the stars are losing their powers to entertain along with becoming older. There is no innovation added to the movie in this sequel, as it depends on its own superstars who have been crowd favourites for such a long time. It is repetitive, and is surely going to do the same again.

Performers of the soul :: I had expected this to be the movie of Sylvester Stallone and Jason Statham, but that was not the case to be. The movie has scenes and sequences for almost everyone there, and it tries to give something to all. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jet Li are wasted in their roles, as they are left with nothing much to do other than being there only to get some action just as the end nears – the latter actually seems lesser known to audience here these days while the former at least gets some claps when his face is shown on the big screen – thanks to those awesome flicks of his wonderful times; same is the case of Stallone and Statham. This population explosion on the screen has actually made their characters suffer a lot. The worst hit might be Antonio Banderas who is caught in a role which never really seemed to suit him, and yet he has tried so well. The question would remain what was the need for him to take a character which was better suited for someone like Jet Li – meanwhile, Mel Gibson and Ronda Rousey steals the show – there is no second opinion about it.

Soul exploration :: The Expendables III is undoubtedly the worst movie of the franchise so far even as it is not bad otherwise. Its inability to live up-to the expectations is actually depressing and not anything else. As it has those superstars whom we loved for such a long time, and even defined our childhood, it needed something for us to remember and recollect. But this one just comes and goes, leaving nothing behind. It surely shows us our favourite stars, but does nothing to support them. With all this talent brought together, is this all they could do? The 34% critics rating at Rotten Tomatoes is not a surprise, and you will know it from the first half itself, and the second half also struggles to provide anything good to these stars other than what they are getting paid. This won’t be a movie in which they will be remembered. It is a sad situation for our memories, but at the same time, it does awaken that nostalgia – so we can’t keep blaming them for giving us something to cheer about, right?

How it finishes :: The Expendables III is not of the power that its franchise used to have, as it is struggles to keep itself going. It is unable to find any special ingrediant for the movie as it goes on with its usual style which is less interesting at this stage when they are coming up with a third movie on the same path as its predecessors. But still its major competitor this weekend from Hollywood is just Lucy, as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is yet to arrive here, and Guardians of the Galaxy, Hercules and Into the Storm remains in the theatres. The Hindi movie of the weekend is Mardaani and the Malayalam one is Munnariyippu. There is not much challenge in store for a movie which has so many superstar in a world which is governed by celebrity worship. Still, the power is undoubtedly reduced this time, as this is the third movie of a franchise which has no innovation – but it is always good to see these superstars who were there during our childhood, right?

Release date: 22nd August 2014 (India); 15th August 2014 (US)
Running time: 126 minutes
Directed by: Patrick Hughes
Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Antonio Banderas, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jet Li, Wesley Snipes, Dolph Lundgren, Kelsey Grammer, Randy Couture, Terry Crews, Kellan Lutz, Ronda Rousey, Glen Powell, Victor Ortiz, Robert Davi, Mel Gibson, Harrison Ford

expendables3

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Escape Plan

escapeplan (1)

There are only a few occasions which none of the action movie fans would wish to miss, and one of them is when Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger come together in a movie, not as part of an over-packed action movie like The Expendables, but in a flick which is carried on the shoulders by these two actors together. Now that the Rocky and Demolition Man meets The Terminator and Predator again, there is that expectation which brings so many people into the theatres even in the presence of such a visual magnificence like Gravity which hasn’t yet managed to disappear even a little. This is more or less like Freddy vs Jason in disguise, as Terminator with Rambo rather than against; it is that nostalgia which this movie brings to the viewers, even as these two actors might be judged too old by a few people we are familiar with. Yes, Escape Plan is not The Expendables, that is for sure; and it is that one thing which makes this better, even as a few of the action movie fans won’t like this one that much for the same reason.

Ray Breslin (Sylvester Stallone) is a former lawyer who owns a security firm which tests maximum security prisons for their quality and reliability and is helped by Abigail Ross (Amy Ryan) and Hush (Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson). He spends his life getting himself into prisons and escaping from them, mentioning that his total escape count is fourteen. He is shown to observe the routine and habits of prison guards, create distractions, and also get help from the outside to get himself out of captivity. One day, they are offered a big deal by CIA agent Jessica Miller (Caitriona Balfe) to test a top secret prison used to keep the worst of all criminals of the world. Breslin is reluctant at first, but agrees to the deal and gets himself captured in New Orleans under the name of a terrorist named Portos, but as his tracking micro chip is removed and he is drugged before he is taken into a prison in an unknown location, the plans go out of range and the objective seems nearly impossible.

Breslin wakes up in one of the many glass cells where the prisoners were kept, with no sight of the outside world to know the location. Their world is limited to what can be seen in that area. They even have bar codes attached to their clothes to automatically make sure about their presence at the places where they are supposed to be during the time. There are masked guards all around making sure that nobody gets to know who is working on which day, and to add to that, they rarely talks or shows any remarkable characteristic for them to be remembered. After befriending another inmate Emil Rottmayer (Arnold Schwarzenegger), he tries getting into two fights with him, the second involving another prisoner, and the latter attempt, he gets out of his cell and reaches the outside, but finds out that he can’t just run away from the prison, and it is not that simple. So they team up with another inmate Javed (Faran Tahir), and under constant guard and strict watch, the question remains if they can make it out of there.

[Spoiler alert for this paragraph] The best moments of the movie include when Breslin makes out of the prison and finds out that he is standing on an oil tanker, in the middle of nowhere, and is forced to go back to his cell the same way he came out. The moment when Rottmayer’s real identity is revealed, is another good twist. One of the other moments have to include that moment when Breslin wakes up to find the kind of twisted maze that the prison is. The escape sequence and the shooting on the deck shows that Arnold Schwarzenegger still manages to make a powerful impact with whatever action sequence he is performing. Now that was the moment which received the most claps in the theatre, and I won’t wonder why it was that sequence which managed them. Well, both of them have a lot of life in them, and even as Stallone is undoubtedly the hero, there is no credit taken away from Schwarzenegger, as right from the moment he lands in prison, the team work begins, and they share the action.

Sylvester Stallone keeps coming back again and again with his days of glory, and here he is as good as he has been. There is nothing lost from his performance, even at this age. But the man who stole the applause was once again Arnold Schwarzenegger, who has been loved so much in this part of the world even by those generations who had known only a little about him, thanks to The Terminator, Predator, Commando, Conan the Barbarian, Total Recall, Collateral Damage, The 6th Day, The Running Man, End of Days, Conan the Destroyer, True Lies, Eraser and so many others which still bring a case of nostalgia to the minds of a few, and for others too, they are gems. I can’t really say that Rocky and Rambo had that much of an effect at this part of the world, and Demolition Man as well as Judge Dredd came to the picture pretty late, along with The Specialist. Even as I have admired Arnold Schwarzenegger throughout most of my life, I have to admit that Sylvester Stallone is slowly taking over that admiration with the way in which he has been handling his performance.

Yes, the claps for Schwarzenegger was much awaited, and Stallone deserves his own, even as there was nothing much there from the audience, which might have been surprising for a few. He was incredibly solid throughout the movie, and the way in which he depicted Breslin was more than just good. We remember the former’s earlier comeback as the lone hero in The Last Stand, and people had loved that. Here we see both in the way we always liked them, as action stars, supposed to be old, but still punching much younger people on the nose and shooting them right on the forehead. We might not have dreamed about such moments in the 1990s, but here is the treat for you, as they does what they always did the best. Here are two actors, belonging to the same genre, having acted in somewhat similar kind of movies, with names quite difficult to pronounce for an average man or woman from this part of the world. Well, you can think about many people when they talk about action, including Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise and Will Smith, but these two are still our best.

So as Sylvester Stallone would say in Judge Dredd, what would the judgement be? Well, it is already almost houseful at this part of the world, and shall run for another week or two for sure, with Insidious: Chapter 2 ready for its release here. This should make way only for Thor: The Dark World only, and none of the regional releases nor the big national releases should threaten its position. With its impressive trailer and the posters, along with the two men who make this movie of clever, but slightly ineffective plot, creates a lot for the audience who should feel that these two are enough to go for this movie. There is no bigger name than Arnold Schwarzenegger here, even after so many years; and after watching this movie, Sylvester Stallone shall be my favourite actor of that age group – and I shall never miss any of his movies, as I expect entertainment to be guaranteed without the lack of too much logic and without the presence of much nonsense. Well done, dear veterans; you haven’t let us down.

Release date: 18th October 2013
Running time: 115 minutes
Directed by: Mikael Håfström
Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jim Caviezel, Amy Ryan, Sam Neill, Curtis Jackson, Vinnie Jones, Vincent D’Onofrio, Faran Tahir, Caitriona Balfe, Matt Gerald

escapeplan copy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.

Dredd

dredd (6)

It was in 1995 that Sylvester Stallone had impressed us as Judge Dredd, even as most of us watched it much later. That was a movie which was fine, but was a commercial and critical failure; here the story of the same Dredd has been remade, even as the plot is entirely different and so is the style – but the result in the box-office was the same. The critical success it received was well deserved though. The British comics of 2000AD has surely done us a favour with this character, as proved by this movie. Its financial disappointment is quite depressing, to be honest. Knowing that it was released in the year when The Avengers grossed so much, leads to further despair. It is due to the same reason that I chose to like the page for its sequel (https://www.facebook.com/MakeADreddSequel) and also signed the official 2000AD petition (http://2000adonline.us5.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=a6e40236aa24d482cfff600d2&id=62906ebdcc) as we never really had enough of Dredd in the one and half hours of mayhem which this movie provided us with. There had to be the demand for more, and there is; if you see the number of likes and the number of petitions – the movie has risen, but as it didn’t rise when it was in the theatres, the effect will be so much less. This realization about the awesomeness of the movie has made people know what they have missed.

We have to bring back Dredd, and watch Dredd 2 in the theatres first show. It is a hope, considering the box-office failure that it was. But why should we cheer for that sequel? The reasons are supplied unlimited. When the judge, jury, police and executioner are all the same, during a distant future when America is an irradiated wasteland, with one city surrounded by deserts beyond its walls; the cursed Earth supporting a cursed city stretching from Boston to Washington DC, an unbroken concrete landscape, 800 million people living in the ruins of the old world and the mega structures of the newer world, it is Mega City One – The place where the judges are everything when it comes to the law. These men from the Hall of Justice are the only group fighting for order among the chaos and destruction as the crime rates go up. They serve justice hot, at the right place at the right time, with no remorse or regret – like the man said in the 1995 movie, “It’s impossible! I never broke the law, I AM THE LAW!” Dredd is a legend, and he is a Robocop in many ways, still human enough to be liked and loved. The movie didn’t get that love from the audience, but there is a lot more than just the viewers that define this movie. Living in an uninhabitable wasteland with huge Mega-Cities in the middle, taking his awesomeness to the world of evil, Dredd needs all the attention!

Along with so many crimes reported daily there is also a new drug in the market called Slo-Mo has been introduced, and it slows the user’s perception of time to one percent of the normal one. These drugs are slowly becoming more and more viral. The Chief Judge has given Judge Dredd (Karl Urban) the job of evaluating a new recruit Cassandra Anderson (Olivia Thirlby), a powerful psychic who had just failed the aptitude tests to become a Judge, and she asserts that her failure was only marginal. Among the large number of crimes, Dredd lets Anderson choose one scene, which had the drug lord Madeline Madrigal (Lena Headey), a.k.a Ma-Ma’s men throwing three rogue drug dealers down from the top floor of a 200 storey residential building, after having them skinned and infused with the Slo-Mo drug. They arrest a man named Kay (Wood Harris) whom Anderson finds out to be the murderer who had tortured and thrown the people down. But the drug lord seals the building down and stops all communications, leading to Dredd and Anderson being caught among the criminals who are asked to take them down by the drug lord. They manages to call for some help, but the help is unable to get in, and what they would get are in the form of a group of corrupt judges paid to take them down, and to add to it, Anderson is captured, leaving Dredd in a situation against all odds.

The movie’s strength is clearly Karl Urban. He fights through his duties as the masked keeper of justice with so much power. Even after covering most of his face with that mask, he still displays a lot of his acting skills. When he is done, one has to agree that he is the law and there is no other law. He has been provided an ideal world here, and without doubt, it has been utilized. His performance in Pathfinder had gone unnoticed, and Doom and And Soon the Darkness didn’t add that much. There is a lot of bad luck involved with Dredd too, as the movie had to share the screen with many other movies when it was released. But that wouldn’t make him as Dredd, an unnoticed hero – for he is indeed brilliant as the provider of infinite justice. He has made Dredd the hero which one had expected. Sylvester Stallone’s Dredd had his own style, and this one has another, and I have to say that I am able to consider this one as the more suitable Judge, even as the one from the 1995 movie was also strong enough to make the needed impact. As that movie failed in what it wished to achieve, it was necessary that this leading actor do a splendid job, and thanks to Karl Urban, that problem is solved. One has to respect the fact that he has kept the helmet on throughout the movie, unlike the previous Dredd. The only scene where he is without it is in the beginning, and then too, there is no face, as the shot is from the back. Still, he has been that good that we can now recognize a masked Karl Urban.

Olivia Thirlby’s Judge Cassandra Anderson is exceptional. There is the need for a warm applause as this performance is considered. The Darkest Hour‘s Natalie has come a long way to become a character who needed not the damsel in distress tag nor the punisher lady tag, but a huge amount of dynamic transformation opposed to a more static character of Judge Dredd. Being beautiful is just one of those exceptional things, and the beauty with the gun goes through a world of bildungsroman throughout this battle. As Dredd has conquered his remorse and regret to become the one true upholder of law with all his experience, the young lady, the rookie has to deal with all the emotional sides in this movie. Anderson is a lovable character from the beginning itself, as even when she is said to be a psychic, the look in her eyes show how much of struggling character she is, and there is no wonder she couldn’t keep up with the other cadets in the tests. The presence of psychic abilities might have made her more of the same. Each and every time, she is forced into the minds of others, and has to live with it, a pain which she has to endure and keep with her as a souvenir. One has to wonder what the pain of being a psychic is, and Anderson is its beautiful personification.

She is there to help in the battle of good v/s evil, but has to suffer as she has to live with the memories, and has to go through alien worlds which has secrets which she doesn’t want to reveal, and the horror which she doesn’t want to face. In the battle with Kay’s mind, she has to come out victorious fighting his erotic imaginations of violent sexual liaisons with her; fighting her own naked and helpless images in his own homeland of mind; his own self-proclaimed messed up head which scores in the beginning by makes her undress. But she fights and succeeds, thus proving her superiority as a psychic, and throws away the thoughts about her as the weak link, in the first step of her move towards being a judge. The second step is achieved when she escapes from her captors and the third when she arrives at the right moment when the corrupt judge is about to shoot Dredd. By that time, she has evolved, and Dredd himself realizes that she is ready. She is no longer that person who hesitated to shoot, and failed to use her psychic powers to the maximum advantage. She had become the most extreme of the dynamic characters, and the true Judge Cassandra Anderson, the upholder of justice. Olivia Thirlby has gone through that transformation in such a way that makes one feel the need to watch her in the same role in a sequel – another reason to get Dredd 2.

Meanwhile, Lena Headey’s Madeline Madrigal is a charming evil villain who has a devilish beauty associated with her even with the scars on her face. She is a villain one would love to watch on the screen. The use of 3D is efficient, and the presence of slow motion sequences with the help of the Slo-Mo drug further helps the movie. These are still not the usual pathetic slow motion stunts, as they are designed to work with the drug in such a way that both the action sequences and the plot involving drugs benefit. The action scenes without the drugs are also equally good. The villain’s introduction throwing the drops of water from a bath-tub shows how well the slow motion sequences can be used and how much it can add rather than take away. In simple words, this is how a Dredd movie should be, and this is how a superhero of truth should be depicted. There should be more to follow, even as there is only some hope left of a sequel. There should be Karl Urban and Olivia Thirlby in that sequel, as they have made themselves that part of this movie that cannot be avoided. They have given this movie life, and this work already had so much life which means that it is more alive than most of the movies out there. We are being bombarded with those superhero movies, but actually what we need is this story of Dredd. Just remember that he is the law, and he needs his time.

Release date: 21st September 2012
Running time: 95 minutes
Directed by: Pete Travis
Starring: Karl Urban, Olivia Thirlby, Lena Headey, Wood Harris, Domhnall Gleeson, Warrick Grier, Deobia Oparei, Langley Kirkwood, Edwin Perry, Karl Thaning, Michele Levin, Francis Chouler, Daniel Hadebe, Rakie Ayola

dredd copy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.