Judge Dredd creator, John Wagner, talks about the new film

4 min read

Watching the first Judge Dredd movie was akin to having Sylvester Stallone and Rob Schneider scoop out my eyeballs, and then each taking 90 minute long dumps in my bloody eye sockets. If I ran an S&M Club today, I would just loop this film 24/7 on giant screens erected in the establishment. Saves on the latex cost, but just as effective as the whips and chains.

So when it was announced that a new film was being made, simply titled Dredd, I immediately flashed back to traumatized 14 year old me, and the nightmares began anew. But since then, everything I have seen of the film seems to be indicating that it is actually going to be pretty decent. And now HeroComplex has spoken to the comic character’s creator, John Wagner, and he has given me even more hope.

When asked about his thoughts on the Stallone Judge Dredd *spit*, and how he views the film now, 17 years later, Wagner responded with:

My views haven’t changed, though apart from my initial viewing I haven’t seen the film since it came out. They told the wrong story — it didn’t have that much to do with Dredd the character as we know him. I don’t think Stallone was a bad Dredd, though it would have been better and lent him more cred if he hadn’t revealed his face. He was just Dredd in the wrong story. I envy their budget, though. Some of the CGI was very good, and the re-creations of the Angel Gang and the robot. The robot actually came from a Pat Mills story and didn’t belong in Dredd, but it looked good. If the plot had revolved around characters like them the film would have been more successful.

Yes, he’s a bit more diplomatic than I have been about the film, but the fact that he hasn’t seen the film again since his initial viewing is a telling point. However when it comes to the new movie – which stars Karl Urban (Star Trek, Lord of the Rings), was written by Alex Garland (Sunshine, 28 Days Later) and is being directed by Peter Travis (Vantage Point) –  he seems much more positive:

The plot is about Dredd and his world. It’s impossible to cover every aspect of the character and his city – perhaps that was one of the failings of the first film; they tried to do too much and ended up with not a lot. “Dredd” homes in on the essential job of judging – instant justice in a violent future city. I like the actors, they’re well cast and they handled their parts well. Olivia Thirlby is perfect as Anderson, the young psi judge. She gives the character a touching vulnerability. Karl Urban will not remove his helmet and will not kiss his costar.

That last line especially fills me with hope. The previous film’s biggest problem, besides Rob Schneider, was that it ended up being a (excruciatingly bad) Sylvester Stallone film instead of a Judge Dredd one. The actor overshadowed the character, which doesn’t appear to be the case here. They seem to be giving the classic British comic character his gritty and hard edged due, which is all I ever really wanted. Well that and Rob Schneider being tried for crimes against humanity, which I’m still holding out hope for.

This is film’s official synopsis:

DREDD takes us to the wild streets of Mega City One, the lone oasis of quasi-civilization on Cursed Earth. Judge Dredd (Karl Urban) is the most feared of elite Street Judges, with the power to enforce the law, sentence offenders and execute them on the spot – if necessary. The endlessly inventive mind of writer Alex Garland and the frenetic vision of director Peter Travis bring DREDD to life as a futuristic neo-noir action film that returns the celebrated character to the dark, visceral incarnation from John Wagner and Carlos Ezquerra’s revered comic strip

Local Trivia: Dredd was filmed almost entirely in Cape Town, South Africa.

Last Updated: January 20, 2012

Check Also

The best comic book covers of the week – 14 January 2019

From the streets of Gotham to the far reaches of the Multiverse, here's a look at the very…