Best as simply an example of how a comic book adaptation (or simply a movie in general) can go very, very wrong, "Judge Dredd" served only as an embarassment for all involved, as well as major money loss for the studio. The film opens in the future, where there are some pretty nice areas to live, but there seems to be the occasional neighborhood where a war is going on. In steps the "judges", who serve, protect and disperse the law. As Stallone's Dredd character states, "I am da law!".
Dredd is given a love partner in Diane Lane, who plays Judge Hershey. Rob Schneider is thrown in as well to add a weak bit of comic relief to the proceedings. Eventually, Dredd is framed for the murder that his brother(Armand Assante) commited. Shipped off to a prison colony, he has to fight his way back to civilization, or at least what's left of it.
Or, well, what's left of the screenplay. Much of the film's dialogue is unintentionally hilarious, especially some of Dredd's phrases, such as the previously mentioned, "I Am The Law". A phrase that, when Stallone yells it, doesn't come through as anything but very silly. None of the supporting cast gets much of a chance, and Schneider's supporting role wears thin quickly.
The effects aren't too bad for a 5 year old film, and although the film is pretty lame, it's over quickly. I suppose it's never really a good thing when your biggest compliment for a film is that it's over fast, but that's the case here.
VIDEO: I was pretty shocked by how good this looked; definitely above-average in comparison with some of Disney's other early work, this non-anamorphic transfer is lacking in some aspects, but generally boasts a very pleasing looking image for the majority of the movie. Sharpness is not quite consistent, lacking slightly in a couple of scenes, but otherwise, fares excellently. Detail is good, as well. Colors are excellent, offering vibrant and bright colors throughout the movie that are nicely saturated and never offering any problems. Flesh tones are accurate and natural, and black level is strong, as well.
There are some slight problems, but they don't distract from the overall viewing experience. Pixelation is apparent in a couple of very minor instances; there are also a couple of times when shimmering is slightly visible. Other than that, the print used is in good condition with only a few very minor marks. This isn't a flawless transfer, but compared to some of the studio's other early non-anamorphic transfers, it's definitely enjoyable.
SOUND: I'd expected an agressive experience from the film, but I didn't expect anything like this. "Judge Dredd" offers a stunning Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track that is incredibly intense from the opening frames. Gunfire, airships, whatever - there seems to always be something going on from all sides in this film, which offers a particularly busy audio track. Explosions (of which there are plenty) offer some serious impact and solid bass.
Alan Silvestri's loud, booming score sounds very strong, if overpowering at times. Dialogue is clear and easily understood, even Stallone's mumbling. There are some slow moments, but when the film gets more intense, the audio has the energy to match it.
MENUS:: Pleasant and easily navigated menus that offer film-themed images, but no animation or other additional touches beyond the basic options.
EXTRAS:: Just the trailer.
Final Thoughts: The movie stinks pretty badly; the DVD offers good audio and video quality, if nothing else. Still, I'd recommend skipping it..
The Film D
Video 88/B = (336/400 possible points)
Audio: 91/A = (336/400 possible points)
Extras: 70/C- = (225/300 possible points)
Menus: 65/D = (150/200 possible points)
Value: 80/B = (243/300 possible points)
FILM GRADE: B+
DVD GRADE: B-