I bought this videocassette at the Friends of the Library Book sale this spring, and it was only after I’d spent my quarter on it and I popped it into the videocassette player that I wondered if it was part of the four-movie Stallone set that I bought that has Demolition Man on it. I was pleased to learn it is not. Before I watched the film, I was not sure if I’d seen it before, but I think I had. To be honest, over the years, Stallone actioners and post-apocalyptic films didn’t stick with me after my younger years.
This film, based on a comic book, has Stallone as the title character, a sort of super-policeman in a crowded Mega-City One who serves not only as the person who arrests people, but can sentence and even execute them on the spot. A super-villain escapes prison and returns to the city, aided by powerful politicians who want to use the chaos to bring about a better world–wait a minute, am I watching Demolition Man? Apparently not, as this film also has Rob Schneider as comic relief in a hacker freshly released from prison. Dredd is framed for the murder of an investigative reporter and sent to a penal colony along with the hacker, and their transport is ambushed by marauders of the wasteland outside the city. They are rescued by Dredd’s old mentor, banished himself when he spared Dredd’s life on his conviction. The mentor reveals that Dredd and his friend, whom Dredd put into prison, are actually brothers, experiments in building the perfect judges. So Dredd and Rob Schneider return to Mega-City One to stop the chaos and to bring his brother to justice.
So you can see a lot of thematic material that was probably better presented in other films mashed up into this one. But it’s not a bad film–it’s just one that does not stand out. And when I watch it again–it’s the kind of thing I’m likely to watch again (and probably remember that I’ve seen it before next time)–I will enjoy it for what it is. A mid-1990s actioner that was already a bit of a throwback to the 1980s when it was released.
The film also featured Diane Lane, who played Judge Hershey, a trainee who becomes Dredd’s ally.
She has had a long career, starting very young in the 1970s and continuing onto today, especially in the D.C. films and properties. But this is the first thing I’ve seen her in.
What a pretty smile.
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