A Detailed Look Back at Judge Dredd

On August 31, 2011, Phil Beresford at Den of Geek takes a detailed look back at Judge Dredd starring Sylvester Stallone.   Here are a couple of tidbits…

  • Since its release in 1995, the intervening sixteen years have not been kind to Judge Dredd, although the cause of its failings run much deeper than any issues to do with headgear, casting, or how Judges should or should not behave.
  • Its failure, both commercially and critically, is something that still seems to rankle with its star, Sylvester Stallone, who has always looked back at the movie as a wasted opportunity. Speaking at a press conference to promote Rambo in 2008, Stallone said “The biggest mistake I ever made was with the sloppy handling of Judge Dredd”. It’s an interesting statement, revealing more than is apparent at first glance about what went wrong with the film.
  • For all the problems that were later revealed to have existed off screen, the opening fifteen minutes of the film serve as a perfectly realised introduction to Dredd, the Judges, and the chaos of the nightmare city where they strive to maintain order.
  • Delivering the line “I am the law!” while working the Joe Dredd chin in a most pleasing fashion, he then grimly sets about bringing the trouble makers to justice with a mixture of severe sentencing and instant executions, before condemning a distraught and disbelieving Fergee to five more years in prison for interfering with city property (the cleaning droid).

    It’s exactly the sort of thing that would appear as a one-off story in the 2000AD strip, told over six to eight pages and concluding with the perfect punch line, as Dredd sentences a man fresh out of jail to another stint inside, simply for saving his own life. In addition, Dredd is the hard-hearted, implacable bastard we all know and love, Mega-City One has been introduced (and quite frankly looks incredible), and we’ve been given a crash course in how the Judge system is used to implement justice. Plus, we seem to have got rid of Rob Schneider early as well. All in all, it’s a very pleasing opening.

  • Sly: “… the whole project was troubled from the beginning. The philosophy of the film was not set in stone – by that I mean, ‘Is this going to be a serious drama or with comic overtones’, like other science fiction films that were successful? So a lotta pieces just didn’t fit smoothly. It was sort of like a feathered fish. Some of the design work on it was fantastic, and the sets were incredibly real, even standing two feet away, but there was just no communication.”

Thanks to Den of Geek and Phil Beresford for an interesting look back at Judge Dredd.


Flashback to Judge Dredd

On July 21, 2011, ComicBookMovie.com took a close look at Judge Dredd.  Here’s what they had to say about casting Sly as Dredd:

  • Casting Sylvester Stallone ( Rocky / Rambo ) in the role of the Mega City street Judge was definitely a no-brainer. Stallone was always a favorite choice among fans to play Judge Dredd even before the film went into development. Stallone was just as physically menacing with a grimace that perfectly matched artist’s Brian Boland’s illustrations in the pages of the Judge Dredd comic books.


“Judge Dredd” Makes the Cut

On April 26, 2010, io9.com posted a piece titled The Top 10 Weirdest Songs from Superhero Movies.  Coming in at #3 was Dredd Song by The Cure.  Here’s what they had to say:

3.) “Dredd Song” by The Cure (Judge Dredd; 1995)
Why was “Dredd Song” such a perfect fit for the Judge Dredd movie? Because Robert Smith’s emotive warbling had about as much in common with the original 2000 AD as Sly Stallone spandex-rassling with Armand Assante for 90 minutes. Why didn’t they just use Anthrax’s “I Am The Law,” the best song about Judge Dredd ever written? Still, this song is solid.

You can hear the song and see the rest of the selections by going here.

“Demolition Man” & “Judge Dredd”

On September 23, 2009, Starpulse.com posted a piece called “Spotlight On Films In Which Technology Has Gone Awry: Our Grim Future Awaits”.   They look at seven films [“The Surrogates”, “Demolition Man”, “Judge Dredd”, “I, Robot”, “Minority Report”, “The Matrix”, and “Blade Runner”].

Here’s what they said about “Demolition Man”:

Welcome to a future where a sissy in flowing robes rules a land free of crime, swearing, sex, and worst of all: red meat. The benevolent leader Dr. Cocteau (Nigel Hawthorne) presides over California like a pillar of morality, but uses his influence and power to unfreeze a violent 20th century criminal Simon Phoenix (Wesley Snipes) from cryo-stasis.

Phoenix’s newfound freedom comes with a price. He is given the assignment to kill Cocteau’s rival Edgar Friendly (Denis Leary), a man who leads an underground movement to preserve the freedoms Cocteau bans in his technologically advanced society.

A wimpy police force unsure of how to handle the violent criminal unfreezes the former lawman and nemesis of Simon Phoenix: John Spartan (Sylvester Stallone), codename “The Demolition Man.” It’s up to Spartan to save the 21st century from Phoenix and from itself, by bringing back some 20th century bad-assery. With Spartan’s brawn and Friendly’s brains hopefully the future can find a happy medium between the two centuries.

Here’s their take on “Judge Dredd”:

The second movie on the list starring Sylvester Stallone, this story takes place in the year 2139. In this future, the Earth has become a virtually uninhabitable rock where the populous is crowded into cities across the planet called “Mega Cities.” Crime in these overcrowded cities became so powerful, that the justice system collapsed completely.

Rising from the ashes, was a new set of law enforcement officers that became three justice systems in one: police, jury, and executioner. These officers of the law known as Judges, were given the authority to dispense their own brand of violent justice if the punishment fit the crime.

The strictest judge in Mega City 1 history, Judge Dredd (Sylvester Stallone) is framed for murder by the former Judge Rico (Armande Assante). Rico seeks to create a chaotic world, with an army of clones under his control. It’s up to Dredd to recover his reputation, save Mega City 1 from Rico’s tyranny, and reform the harsh justice system.

You can check out the whole article by clicking here.

Stallone Video Games

SZoner, Ian Cranston, [who happens to be Evan Bryce‘s brother] wrote in to say:

I came across an article which might be of interest since it has to do with 90’s Stallone video games.  You can check it out by clicking here.

Also wanted to say thanks for being so supportive of my brother, and it’s kind of funny because I’ve been going to your site for about ten years now.  Keep up the good work!

Thanks for the link Ian, and don’t worry, we’ll continue to support Evan!

Judge Dreed Remembered

Robert Saucedo writes a piece about “forgotten” super-hero movies for The Eagle.com. His first choice was “Judge Dredd” and here’s what he has to say:

Judge Dredd (1995)

Who wears the spandex: Sylvester Stallone.

What it’s about: Based on the British comic-book character who first appeared in the anthology 2000 A.D., Judge Dredd takes place in a dystopian future in which law and order is kept by militaristic judges who act as police, jury and executioner. Of them, the most feared and respected is Judge Dredd (Stallone).

Comic book geek alert: “In the comic book series, part of the mystique surrounding Dredd is that he is never seen without his helmet, and if he does take it off, only his back or the lower part of his face is shown, BUT NEVER HIS ENTIRE FACE!!!!!!!!! … Stallone should have known better. That’s like Spider-Man doing his thing without the mask … in public!!!!!!!” (ranting from a poster on imdb.com’s movie forum).

Should you watch it? This is a fun popcorn flick that makes for an entertaining Saturday afternoon viewing. Just remember to check your brain at the door.


It’s nice that Saucedo “gets it.” You can see what other forgotten heroes he remembers by clicking here. – Craig

Shoutout from Judge Griffin

SZoner Alex aka LotofSly sent in the following:

Hi Craig,

As you know, my favourite hobby is to meet celebs. On the 28th of March, I’ve had the opportunity to meet Jürgen Prochnow who was Judge Griffin in Sly’s movie “Judge Dredd”. Jürgen was friendly enough to sign an autograph dedicated to you and all our friends from the SZone. I hope SZoners will appreciate it :)

All my best Alexandre
To see a larger version of the autograph, click HERE. Thanks to Alex for being so cool! You’re the man, Alex! – Craig