1 October 2014

Why Dredd deserves a sequel

Dredd deserves a sequel. Released in 2012, it achieved a cult following nearly overnight despite performing poorly at the box office thanks to just how good it actually was, and how refreshing it was to see an 18 rated action film amongst the terminally 12A landscape. Shortly after the announcement that Dredd hadn't made enough money to fund a sequel, the imaginatively titled "Make A Dredd Sequel" campaign was started, with the intention of proving that there was an audience for a second Dredd film.

Today marks the second Dredd Day of Action, a day organised by the Make A Dredd Sequel campaign where anyone who wants to see a Dredd 2 is meant to do everything they can to promote the film, such as buying new copies, watching the film through streaming services and introducing the film to new people. I'm going to be telling you why Dredd deserves a sequel.

For a start (and this is a pretty broad start), Dredd was straight up awesomeness. It's a real action film - fast paced, interesting characters, knowingly serious and violently action packed. The story served the purpose of putting the characters into a situation that they had to deal with, and then just allowed events to unfold as they would in this situation with these characters. At it's base level, Dredd is about a good guy fighting a bad guy on the bad guys terms and with the odds stacked against him. That, right there, is every great action movie ever made, ever.

In fact, Dredd can almost be seen as a character study with amazing action scenes thanks to the character based plot progression and lack of any real outside interference or Deus Ex Machina from when the plot begins to when it ends, which works so well thanks to the film getting the character of Dredd spot on. Both the script and Karl Urban portray Dredd exactly as he is meant to be - tough, unforgiving and basically a fascist. There is only one line in the entire film that hints there may be more to him than his surface level, and that's it - the film allows his actions to speak for him, rather than words. And the actions are uniformly awesome.

The creators clearly had a vision about what they wanted to achieve with this film, and it really paid off  - the sci-fi/grunge setting, although not overly original, matched the source material perfectly while also allowing for the more out there plot elements and sci-fi devices to fit right in to the general aesthetic. And the use of slow motion (often not seen in action films these days thanks to the perceived cheesiness) worked amazingly well while also making sense within the context of the story being told. The soundtrack meshed incredibly well with the film, constantly thumping away in the background, making everything seem that little bit more tense, that little but more fun and that little bit more awesome and it all adds up to this retro yet modern tone that perfectly encapsulates everything that Dredd is about. And on top of that, it was a hard 18, which allowed the makers of the film to match the levels of violence and adult themes that are shown in the comics.

Listen for a second. The world needs more 18 rated action films. The 80's have such a vast wealth of awesome action films that were aimed squarely at adults, including Die Hard, Predator, Aliens, The Terminator, Demolition Man, Robocop, Total Recall, Die Hard 2: Die Harder, The Terminator 2: Judgement Day... the list goes on and on. And what do we have now? The Expendables films, theoretically the best films ever, starring the cream of the crop of the 80's action films - the latest of which was rated 12A.

A 5 year old child can go see it, as long as they have parental permission.

The censorship of action films in order to secure a lower rating and a larger audience is, literally, a curse on humanity, the biggest stumbling block to get over before we can advance as a species and leave our physical bodies behind, becoming corporeal beings before our inevitable ascent to godhood. (I may be over exaggerating). It's an understandable reaction to the evolving cinema landscape - film budgets are ballooning, and as such they need to make more money on release - but it's a frustrating trend never the less. And Dredd was brave enough to release itself as a hard 18 in a world of 12A's, and although that cost it money in the long run, it remains one of the most memorable action films of recent years, for good reason.

I could wax lyrically about Dredd for hours, but at the end of the day it may be one of the best action films ever made. It's certainly the best in recent years, and is absolutely ripe for a sequel or a trilogy that expands on the world built in the first film while staying true to the characters. No, it didn't make a lot of money at the box office - but take a look at streaming and home sale figures. Take a look at the huge support for the Make a Dredd Sequel campaign - there is clearly a much bigger audience for this film now than there was on release. Dredd was smart without being pretentious, fun without being light hearted and dark without taking itself too seriously - and has made a lasting impression on it's audience thanks to that. A sequel has so many avenues that it could explore, and given the same cast and crew and little studio interference, Dredd 2 could be another amazing action film for adults. The world needs more Dredd.

Here is a link to the petition for a Dredd 2 - Dredd 2 Petition

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