Thursday 9 June 2016


From 1995: the US bookshelf edition of the JUDGE DREDD MOVIE ADAPTATION, published by DC Comics.

I've posted the UK edition on STARLOGGED in the past. This is the classier package but the downside is that the page dimensions are standard American size which gives the art less room to breath compared with the more generously proportioned British edition.

Why both DC and Fleetway editions? Different markets obviously (although Fleetway had been publishing the Quality Comics line in the States) but also part of the licensing deal between the two companies that allowed DC to publish two ongoing DREDD books with all new material.

I rewatched the film at the weekend, and although it is a flawed beast in many ways, I don't think it deserves its reputation as a Dredd disaster. The combination of the plot and the casting dictated several changes to the lore (it would have been dumb to keep Stallone's face obscured throughout when the plot demands that he's stripped of his uniform and helmet. Plus, of course, he was a considerable international star which it would be nuts not to exploit) but - all told - it felt a lot more faithful to the franchise than the more recent, stripped back, version. I don't agree with the armchair critics who advocated bring in the Dark Judges as the first villains... I think its too much to ask a mainstream audience to accept the future of Mega City One AND supernatural villains from another dimension.

Stallone probably wasn't the best casting for the role (and some of his delivery is suspect for an actor who clearly can deliver the goods when he puts his mind to it) but its hard to imagine which of his contemporaries would have been a better choice in terms of star power and suitability. And, to his credit, he did apparently immerse himself into Dredd's world when he took the part.

The whole comedy sidekick routine, our way into Dredd's impenetrable world, was much beloved of Hollywood and clearly some computer somewhere decreed Fergie (not that one... or that one) was essential to opening up the film for a mainstream audience.

Sadly it was all for naught as it failed to catch fire at the US box office and actually raked in less cash (partly because of its kids and teens unfriendly rating) than minor Disney effort THE GOOFY MOVIE. Oh dear. But it did fare better overseas where the Stallone brand of action was still capable of pulling in the punters. But this was still a time when US BO and merchandising (which also took a hit because of the film's older viewers
rating) were the only true measure of success as far as Hollywood was concerned... overseas grosses helped the bottom line but weren't valued as much as domestic success.


  1. Its still massively under-rated to this day. In many ways, I still prefer it to the more recent ( and admittedly excellent ) reboot with karl urban.

    whatever you may think of stallone, there's no faulting the supporting actors ,especially armand assante and jurgen prochnow.

  2. Despite this film's flaws, it captures the feel of Dredd's world, including the humour. It's not a great film, but Stallone removing the helmet isn't unpalatable, any more than having Tobey Maguire's face showing during a huge proportion of Spider-Man 2 thanks to the excuse of a ripped or removed mask--actors act with their faces, it makes sense to let them.

    The more recent Karl Urban film felt underwhelming. There's nothing wrong with it as a film, it's just very simple and lacks the dark satire of the older Dredd comics (although that satire has been downplayed in more recent years, I think). To me it felt like a TV pilot, rather than a movie.

    Both films tone down the costume, which hampers their sense of conviction to the material. More crucially, neither has an especially memorable villain, and that may be partly due to the (Dredd writer) John Wagner method of not really using recurring bad guys, by and large.

  3. krusty, as you pointed out before , there was also a newspaper strip adaptation which you can see here :


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