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Comic-Con 2012 – DREDD Preview Earns Raves From Attendees
Lionsgate hopes reboot will make audiences forget about 1995 Stallone stinker.
This whole Dredd reboot is probably the project that mystifies me the most of anything on the slate of upcoming films. The original Judge Dredd comic was a British cult item within the ’70s and ’80s comic book market, when nerds were still nerds and the biggest celebrity at a given comic book convention was likely to be somebody along the lines of John Buscema, or maybe Steve Ditko.
Somehow, in the mid-’90s, Judge Dredd got traction in Hollywood and a positively horrid film adaptation was cranked out with Sylvester Stallone playing the lead. This wasn’t the Sylvester Stallone of Rocky or Rambo or even Demolition Man. This was the Sylvester Stallone of Jesus Christ What The Hell Do We Have To Do To Get Rid Of This Guy Already?
Judge Dredd (1995), like virtually every other comic book movie of the era without the word “Man” appearing in the title, was a disaster at the box office. This is not why the movie failed, though. Sylvester Stallone wasn’t even the reason Judge Dredd failed. Judge Dredd failed because nobody in the U.S. knew anything about Judge Dredd. That nobody was willing to sit through two hours of a glowering Stallone to find out was incidental.
So here comes the reboot Dredd, seventeen years later, with a much larger budget, updated effects, and what seems like a much improved, more movie-friendly plotline. If only the original had never been made. What was the disadvantage of the original film would certainly play to the advantage of the 2012 iteration. If only Judge Dredd were an anonymous property to the American moviegoing public, that would be one thing. But now everybody knows exactly what Judge Dredd is: That’s that shitty Sylvester Stallone movie from the mid-’90s that I wasn’t no way gonna sit through. I’d know the costume anywhere.
And that’s a shame, because the word out of San Diego this week, courtesy of THR, is that the new Dredd has some real balls, and that the Comic Con crowds are digging the previews. Bigtime body counts and a pressure-packed storyline seem to have everyone on the edges of their seats. Observers of the preview are noting the vast difference between the new film and the old, but how does Lionsgate convince a national audience that Dredd is way better than a really shitty movie that nobody bothered to see in the first place?
The answer to that question will decide the fate of Dredd as it rolls into theaters this September.