Judge Dredd (film)
Independent Films, Film Profiles
Judge Dredd is a 1995 action film directed by Danny Cannon, and starring Sylvester Stallone, Diane Lane, Rob Schneider, Armand Assante and Max von Sydow. The film is based on the Judge Dredd strip in the British comic 2000 AD. Certain elements of the film were altered from the comic series, but it still did not find wide mainstream appeal.In a future world where people live in a single city, Mega City, ruled by The Council, crime is dealt with by a special police force, Street Judges, who have the power to act as judge, jury, and, executioner of criminals. Judge Joseph Dredd (Sylvester Stallone) goes to the scene of a block war, where two other Judges, Judge Hershey (Diane Lane) and a rookie, are pinned down. Dredd leads them into the building where the main perpetrators are. After he "pacifies" one room by killing the men in it, the rookie runs ahead against orders to clear the next and is killed. Dredd summarily executes the rest. He also arrests Herman Ferguson (Rob Schneider), a hacker just released from jail who was caught in the conflict.A psychopathic killer and former Judge, Rico (Armand Assante) escapes from prison and goes to retrieve his former Judge's uniform, "lawgiver" gun. He kills the man holding this equipment, and salvages a decommissioned combat killing robot. Dredd's commander and mentor, Chief Judge Fargo (Max von Sydow), assigns him to teach a class in ethics at the academy where he tells the recruits that they must be prepared to live in isolation until they take the Long Walk, a time when a retired Judge leaves the city and goes into the "cursed earth" to take the "law to the lawless", those who live outside the city.A news reporter who has been heavily critical of Dredd and the Council is then murdered. Dredd is arrested for murder, and asks Hershey to defend him. A tribunal is ordered, during which a video is played showing the murder where the killer is seen wearing a judge's uniform and the reporter calling out Dredd's name. Hershey successfully gets the video thrown out, but the prosecutor then shows that the bullet came from a Lawgiver 2, a gun whose ammunition is encoded with the DNA of its user. The bullet matches Dredd's DNA. Dredd continues to maintain his innocence.To avoid the media learning about Fargo's involvement in something called the "Janus" project, the existence of Rico, and to save Dredd's life, Fargo agrees to step down as Chief Justice and take the long walk. Dredd is sentenced to life. Going through Dredd's locker, Hershey finds a picture of Dredd with Rico, and a family photo. Judge Griffin (Jürgen Prochnow) becomes the new Chief Justice and it is revealed that he is the one who freed Rico and had the reporter killed. He has Rico begin creating "chaos" to try to force the council to reactivate Janus.Dredd is sentenced to the Aspen Penal Colony, along with the hacker Ferguson. The transport plane is shot down by a family of Cursed Earth hunters, the Angel family. Dredd and Ferguson are taken by the hunters, while the surviving pilot is killed by the Judges coming to check on it, on Griffin's orders. Dredd escapes his bonds, but the Judges find them there. They kill the Angel family, but Dredd kills them when they come after him. Fargo appears and saves Dredd from the last Judge, but is then fatally wounded by the final surviving Angel, Mean Machine Angel (Christopher Adamson). Then Dredd kills Mean Machine by electrocution with a broken cable by sticking it into him.Meanwhile Hershey tries to learn the identity of the man in the picture with Dredd, but her access rights are terminated. She has a cadet analyze the pictures, and he discovers the family photo is a fake. As Fargo lays dying, he tells Dredd about the Janus project - an experiment to make a perfect judge by taking DNA from the council, enhancing it, and using it to create two clones: Dredd and Rico. Both were given fake memories of families that didn't exist, and later became best friends in the academy. Rico broke the law and Dredd judged him. He was supposed to have been executed, but they realize Rico must have been the one to kill the reporter, which would explain the DNA matching. Fargo also realizes Griffin must have been behind it all and begs Dredd to stop them.Rico assassinates 108 judges within the span of two days using bombs and his robot. Griffin uses this to get the Council to unlock the Janus files, but they refuse to reactivate the program so he has Rico kill them. Dredd and Ferguson, having made their way back into the city and the headquarters, go to the council room at the sound of the shots. Rico escapes and Griffin claims Dredd killed them, sending judges after them. After shaking off the pursuers, the pair go to Hershey's home to find the place ripped apart. She finds them there and is initially unsure of Dredd and believes he's responsible for murders, but he tells her everything about the Janus project. The trio head to the Statue of Liberty, having deduced it is where the Janus computer is located.Rico replaces the original DNA for the clones with his own and has the robot torture and kill Griffin when he tries to stop him. Outside the lab, the robot captures Hershey and shoots Ferguson. Rico emerges from the room and orders Dredd to surrender or he will have the robot kill Hershey. Dredd is taken inside where Rico shows off his clones and tries to convince Dredd to join him as his brother. Dredd refuses and Rico calls in the robot, first telling it to kill Hershey, then stopping it to order it to kill Dredd. Ferguson jumps on it and manages to rip out its wires to destroy it. Rico orders the clones to be hatched, but they are incomplete and unable to do anything.Dredd chases Rico to the top of the statue and after an ensuing fight, throws him off the building, killing him. Hershey, in turn, saves him from Ilsa Hayden (Joan Chen), the scientist who was helping Rico. When they emerge from the building, they learn that Central, the city's controlling computer, has broadcast information about everything that happened, clearing Dredd's name. The remaining judges ask him to become the new Chief Justice in the reconstituted council, but he declines, saying he is a street judge. He puts on his uniform, kisses Hershey, and smiles before going back to work as the crowd of remaining Judges and citizens cheer.
Year of Production: 1995
Length: 96 min.
Country: United States
- Danny Cannon
- Charles Lippincott, Beau Marks
- Sylvester Stallone, Diane Lane, Armand Assante, Max von Sydow, Rob Schneider