What I want for Christmas next year can definitely fit under a tree, though it may take another few years for that to happen. So while you’re thinking to yourself, “It definitely isn’t world peace that this selfish asshole is wishing for,” I counter that a world with more Judge Dredd in it will definitely be a more peaceful one. Next year, I don’t just want one sequel to last year’s box office bust Dredd, I’m looking for two of them, filmed at the same time to be released in 2015 and 2016. Loftier hopes, I’ve had few.
I’m hardly the only one calling for Dredd to get a cinematic follow-up, as there have been legions of fans flocking together for the “Make a Dredd Sequel” campaign over the last year. I’m not saying that Lionsgate and production company 1984 Private Defense Contractors are morons for not wanting to spend over $50 million more dollars with the risk that it’ll only earn 70% of its budget back ($35 million worldwide), but I’m saying they’re not looking at the bigger picture.
Fans of 2000 A.D., the British comic book series that gave Judge Dredd his existence, had already been burned in the past, along with the rest of the world, by Danny Cannon’s miserably cartoonish 1995 version with Sylvester Stallone as the helmet-ignoring hero. Non-fans and seasoned fanatics alike were definitely skittish about going back into Mega-City One.
I don’t think anyone expected Pete Travis, the director of the conspiratorial thriller Vantage Point, could be the guy who would make this story seem both relevant and engrossing at the same time. A smart and action-driven screenplay from Alex Garland (28 Days Later) laid the perfect foundation for this dark but still colorful universe, where justice is only a chase from Karl Urban away. The actor is another one of the reasons why this film worked so well, offering stoicism and authority without being overly assertive; the fact that he used his actual voice rather than gruffly barking out all of his lines was a delightful change from Christian Bale’s Batman, my other favorite movie hero.
As soon as Dredd hit Blu-ray and DVD, it was met with the exact amount of fervor and obsessiveness that I’m sure Lionsgate wished had existed when the film was in theaters. But it’s better late than never, and should prove that spending $80-100 million on two slightly smaller stories would have a damned good chance of turning a huge profit, so long as they cared enough to make people outside the sci-fi community aware of how good they are.
Just recently, Dredd fans got a really solid fan film, as well as news that a sequel of sorts will be told in an upcoming comic series. But we already have Judge Dredd in comic book form, and it was the film’s different take on the material that made it stand out. I need to see people’s heads burned from the inside out in an actual movie.
The final slo-mo punch in the face came earlier this week as it was announced 1984 Private Defense Contractors will be needlessly adapting the awesomely harsh South Korean thriller I Saw the Devil for American audiences. I guess they didn’t notice that Spike Lee’s remake of the much more popular Korean thriller Oldboy only earned back a paltry $4 million from its $30 million budget. I hate to wish bad things upon people, but I really hope this upcoming remake tanks just as hard. People need to learn a lesson if we can’t throw them inside an Iso-Cube.
Is there anyone else out there who is with me in thinking we need a proper Dredd trilogy to spend our future with? Does your Christmas tree have a red-and-black helmet on top instead of a star? Let us know in the comments, and stay safe out on those dangerous streets.