It has been noted a time or two, here and elsewhere, that the main plot in Pete Travis’ upcoming sci-fi adventure Dredd sounds an awful lot like that of Gareth Evans’ The Raid: Redemption. That is, the main characters are trapped in a high-rise slum controlled by a crime lord, and have to fight their way to the top. Surely the similarities are coincidence, but who really cares. It’s a great idea, and if Dredd pulls this set up off half as well as The Raid, then we’re in for a damn fine time come September.
If you had any doubts that the two films in question share parallel stories, a new clip should convince you. An almost identical scene happens in The Raid (which, if you haven’t seen, stop whatever you’re doing, and watch it, that film is bananas).
Slo-mo is a new designer drug infesting the streets of Mega City One, home to 800 million people. It makes the user experience reality at 1/100 the normal speed. Ma-Ma (Lena Headey) controls all of the slo-mo trade, which is centered in a 200-story housing project called the Peachtree. When a terrible crime leads Judge Dredd (Karl Urban) and his rookie partner, Cassandra Anderson (Olivia Thirlby), into the building, Ma-Ma puts the place on lockdown until the Judges are dead.
Ma-Ma’s tone is calm, almost matriarchal, which makes her that much more terrifying. That sets up the slum as a sort of extended family, and who are you going to fight harder for, your boss, or your stand-in mother figure? Dredd and Anderson are definitely in deep. You also get a glimpse at Wood Harris (The Wire) as a prisoner of the Judges. He has popped up in a few of the still photos, and it will be interesting to see what role he plays in the film.
Dredd opens in 3D on September 21st.