You Can’t Keep A Good Judge Down


For awhile it seemed that the box office did what the Cursed Earth and the Angel Gang couldn’t which is to stop Judge Dredd.

But you can’t keep a good Judge–or Karl Urban–down despite the checkered performance of Dredd in movies.

The character’s first appearance was in 1995’s Judge Dredd, which was such a wasted opportunity to properly introduce the character to American audiences (he first appeared in the British comic 2000 AD).

The first problem was that he was played by Sylvester Stallone, which is less a commentary on Stallone as an actor (though he was never a particularly a good fit for Dredd, physically speaking) more than there was little chance he would go through the entire movie without taking off his helmet (Dredd NEVER showed his entire face and if by chance he removed his helmet–which was rare, but did happen–his face was always obscured somehow).

Despite its issues, Judge Dredd wasn’t a terrible movie and was somewhat faithful to the source material.

2012’s Dredd in contrast was far more faithful to the character and Karl Urban’s look almost perfectly embodied the character (though if I were picking nits I’d say that Urban, like Stallone, was a bit short because Dredd in the comics was always a bit tall and lanky) and the MegaCity One embodied by the movie was not quite as distant from the current day, visually speaking, as the 1995 movie.

Though, despite having a significantly smaller budget, Dredd underperformed as well though unlike Stallone’s portrayal it was army received by fans of the character and built a cult following when it left theaters.

So, as I said earlier, you can’t keep a good Judge down, and Dredd is the absolute best, which is why I’m not surprised that Karl Urban appears to be having active discussions on bringing Judge Dredd to the small screen (likely on either Netflix of Amazon), the episodic nature of which is a perfect vehicle for the further adventures of the best lawman in MegaCity One.

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Triple 9 Official Trailers 1 & 2

Can I say that John Hillcoat’s Triple 9 looks awesome?  Heist/police thriller are a guilty pleasure of mine because when they’re done well, they’re a thing of beauty.

In particular I enjoyed Bruce Malmuth’s Nighthawks (a Sylvester Stallone vehicle about a terrorist on the loose in New York, and the cops in pursuit of said terrorists), Antoine Fuqua’s Training Day (David Ayer’s story is only kept aloft by Fuqua’s direction and Denzel Washington’s acting), Spike Lee’s Inside Man and Frank Oz’s The Score, to name a few.

And I’d be amiss if I didn’t mention the reboot (what?) of John Carpenter’s Assault on Precinct 13, directed by Jean-Francois Richet, which is a really entertaining movie and better in its way than the original.

‘Expendables 3’ Trailer

The ‘Expendables’ films are somewhat of a guilty pleasure for me in the sense that they remind me of an American muscle car, like the Corvette Stingray.  It might not be state of the art in certain ways, such as engine technology, but it’s surprising the problems that copious amounts of horsepower can solve.

This film is chock full of actors that some might consider relics, like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone and Harrison Ford, yet if the earlier films in the series are any indicator, it will probably manage to hum along pretty well too.

Mel Gibson is in this as well, playing a villain.  Which makes me wonder:  Is there some sort of typecasting going on here?  Every since his very public meltdown, it seems that he more often than not plays a villain.  2012’s “Get The Gringo?”  Criminal.  2013’s “Machete Kills?”  Megalomanicial villain.  2014’s “Expendables 3?”  Seemingly a mega-megalomanical villain.

I don’t know who Gibson’s agent is, but if I were he, I would really begin to start to question their judgement.

Then again, he seemed to be playing a decent sort in Jodie Foster’s 2011 film, “The Beaver,” and we saw how well that worked.

Wesley Snipes is thrown into the mix too, which makes me think he’s perhaps one of the luckiest men on Earth, because most people don’t tend to bounce back so quickly from prison sentences.

‘Expendables 3’ Teaser Trailer

While I have never (directly) paid to see any of the ‘Expendables’ films when I happen to catch one I generally have a good time.  There’s a sense that Sylvester Stallone and the rest of his crew aren’t taking themselves quite so seriously, no matter how much violence rains about them.

That’s a refreshing change from many movies where, if this, that or the other isn’t done in such and such a way, the whole world is threatened.

What’s also surprising is the comedic chops, pardon the pun, of some of the actors, particularly Jason Statham.

I have never been a huge fan of Stallone, but there’s no denying that he knows how to produce effective films.  I might see this one in the theaters because he’s enlisted Wesley Snipes., which would be his first role since he was released from prison for tax evasion.

Plus, that whistling in the trailer is really awesome.  The tune, according to the Moviebox is “Bridge on the River Kwai.”

‘Grudge Match’ Trailer

I have never been too fond of boxing films.  Their goal is generally an inspirational one, but truth be told I don’t tend to find two guy pounding each other into incoherence all that inspiring.  Peter Segal’s “Grudge Match” looks to be more geared toward the the comedic than the inspirational, which is good.

Plus, there’s the added bonus of seeing Robert De Niro and Sylvester Stallone – as two rivals preparing to fight not only each other, and the perception of those that think that they’re over-the-hill – hamming it up.

Kevin Hart is always interesting to watch, though here he appears to be less a character than an expansion of his comedy routine.  I also wonder if anyone could have guessed that Stallone would not only be as prolific as he is, but has managed to become an exceptionally talented multihyphenate actor, producer, writer and director.

An Exercise In ‘Dredd’

Pete Travis’ Dredd is currently on Netflix, and after watching it again – I originally saw it in the theater – I can see why it did significantly better via rentals, DVD and Blue ray.

It did so much better that it has resulted in a petition for a sequel, which is pretty impressive considering that it earned $35 million on a $50 million dollar budget.

The story, essentially Dredd takes down a drug dealer and her organization, is at heart a small one, and it’s made even smaller by the fact that it takes place in essentially one place.

It’s an almost intimate story that plays well on television, where the lack of scope and scale works to its benefit.

It’s also significantly gorier than I recall it being.  The ‘Slo-Mo’ effect in the movies appears to be almost an artistic conceit, while in at home you can see all sorts of details become apparent.

For instance, is this Armand Assante?

Is This Armand Assante?

I have seen no evidence to indicate that it is, despite the resemblance, though he would hardly be the first actor to appear in a film uncredited.

Most of all it would be an awfully meta thing for the producers of the film to have done, considering that Assante had a co-starring role in 1995’s “Judge Dredd” with Sylvester Stallone.

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‘Dredd’ Irritatingly Brief Teaser

It’s a relatively slow news day.

On the homefront (does anyone else, when you put the word ‘home’ in front of another, get vaguely Nazi-ish associations?  Homeland Security?  The phrase ‘homeland’ itself?  Doesn’t work with ‘home fries,’ though). Cthulhu summoning still not going too well.  Perhaps I am concentrating on the wrong Great Old One.  Maybe I need to look into Hastur, Nyarlathotep, or even the Hounds of Tindalos (though admittedly I am not too keen on the ‘Hounds.’  It’s mainly the whole relentlessly hunting down their prey, even through time, that bothers me).

Anyway, I found this trailer over at Superherohype.com, and there’s a teaser for “Dredd,” based upon the character from 2000 A.D. and 1995’s “Judge Dredd” (the character that Sylvester Stallone hated so much that he had to go make a movie starring him).

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