Rated: R for violence. Reviewed by: Frank Release date: June 30, 1995 Released by: Hollywood Pictures
Sylvester Stallone's new vehicle looks plain and tattered. We've seen it all before. This time he is a stoic, genetically engineered cop who enforces and carries out the letter of the law. As he accomplishes his mission, the city goes to rack and ruin and many humans die violent, graphic deaths.
In Dredd's Mega-City One, the system of JUDGES has been penetrated by corruption. Civilization as it is known in the Third Millennium is charged with violence. Populations have grouped behind protective walls of the cities. The British comic book hero must save the society and deal with the most menacing villain of all - his brother Rico (Armand Assante).
The comic book, which was created 18 years ago, represents a totalitarian response to crime and burgeoning population. It is a very dark vision of the future and Stallone plays it with few words and many menacing facial expressions. He looks and acts like a comic book character and at time appears silly.
The use of miniatures and computer enhancement don't produce the effect they produced just a short time ago. Everything used in this film looks like something that as been tried before. There is little imagination in the presentation and pitifully little in the script. It's a comic book but when brother Rico clones himself and produces males and females, something is wrong with the definition of cloning.
Th one bright light is the performance of Rob Schneider who plays Fergie Ferguson, a frightened little man who constantly cracks jokes about the danger he and Dredd find themselves in. Schneider, who is best known for his characters of Richard "The Richmeister" Laymar and The Sensitive Naked Man on Saturday Night Live, brightens each scene he is in. His character's actions mock the serious Dredd and almost make the film respectable.
Joan Chen and Diane Lane never seem to get a break. Chen's role in the Last Emperor was the last one for which she is remembered. Golden Gate was a good vehicle for her but no one saw it. Lane on the other hand was a delight as a child in A Little Romance but has never lived up to the potential that film showed. Assante could do far better than this mediocre villain part. Even Max Von Sydow, who has numerous distinguished performances, is silly in this "dread".