He is the most famous judge in a futuristic dystopian world wherein neighborhoods in "mega-cities" are at war. A world where the likes of Rob Schneider -- cargo shorts 'n all -- holds the key to saving the city from a widespread conspiracy.
In the 1995 flop "Judge Dredd," Sylvester Stallone stars as the character -- from the British comic -- after which the film is named. Sporting an outlandishly decorative, futuristic costume -- designed by none other than the late Gianni Versace himself -- with seemingly unnecessarily large crotch armor, Stallone's film version took many liberties. For one, in the comic, Dredd never under any circumstances takes off his helmet. Stallone removes his in the first scene. And somehow when Stallone recites the comic's famous line "I am the law," it just inspires giggles.
That version, also starring *cough* Diane Lane, cost $70 million to make and only recouped half of that at the U.S. box office. It was panned by critics and earned Stallone a Golden Raspberry Award nomination for Worst Actor.
Comedian-actor Paul Sheer recently picked "Judge Dredd" apart in his podcast calling it "a lame french 'Blade Runner,'" adding that the costumes were "ridiculous," comparing them something out of "Toy Story," saying they looked like "they were reject costumes from 'Back to the Future II'." One film critic went as far as to call the Stallone version "the most absurd of studio undertakings of all the films we've heretofore examined," criticizing it for not only its overall cheesiness but also the very decision to do the film in the first place. "It's not every day that an American studio pulls the trigger on a British comic hero whose popularity never found adaquate purchase in the states (hence the hilariously incorrect spelling of the word dread)," wrote self-proclaimed film geek, writer Brian Salisbury.
The new "Dredd" in 3D aims to right the wrongs of its rather embarassing past cinematic depiction. Starring Karl Urban as Judge Dredd ("Star Trek" and "The Bourne Supremacy"), we're told he keeps his helmet on throughout the film.
Fans of the comic have already given their stamp of approval: "['Dredd' in 3D] manages to successfully wash away the residual effects of the 1995 schlockfest and delivers the film that Judge Dredd fans have been waiting almost 18 years for," says one reviewer on Dread Central.
Also, the new Dredd costume is much less laugh-inspiring. (Though it does look an awful lot like RoboCop's new frock, don't you think?)
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