Matt Watches Bad Movies: Judge Dredd (1995)

Judge Dredd
Judge Dredd

While it’s true that nothing is for everyone, Hollywood has certainly recently figured out that if they make movies based on existing properties –particularly comics– there’s a lot of people who will come out to see their favourite hero on screen. This generally only really works if it’s done well because while we nerds will lead everyone else to the theatre, everyone else will only go if the movie is good.

Hollywood understands this now however in 1995 they clearly didn’t.

In some far flung future made entirely of spandex and the cheapest plastic you can imagine the world is destroyed except for one huge city which is located on the eastern seaboard of north america (presumably). It’s crazy over populated and everyone hates everyone because there are so many of everyone. The police force called themselves judges and they sentence and execute people on site instead of having a normal judicial system because violence solves everything in the future.

Judge Chocolate and Judge Redshirt show up to stop a gang war but end up cowering behind their massively oversized Honda Goldwings. After a few minutes Judge Hero shows up and walks right up to them through the middle of the battle zone, his oversized gold painted plastic eagle shoulder pads gleaming in the midday sun.

“Take cover!” they say.

“No need!” He replies, “I’m the protagonist and this is literally the first scene.” He then points at Judge Redshirt and continues “you’re probably not gonna make it though.”

They storm a building, Redshirt goes in first, Redshirt dies and everyone else grieves for about 0.5 seconds. Then Rob Schneider is there for some reason. Oh, wait, 1995. Riiiiight.

Meanwhile, Armande Assante breaks out of jail and makes it back to plastic city one where he finds his old costume, gun, and a massive fucking robot. Yup, everything is coming up Millhouse for the bad guy!

Our hero is then framed for murder and judge chocolate is his lawyer. Why he has a trial in a world where a cop can legally execute you on the spot for committing murder I have no idea.

They find him guilty and send him to jail with Rob Schneider, his punishment presumably to be in the same building as Rob Schneider making jokes for the rest of his life. Death was apparently too lenient, so much so that the Hero’s grandfather quits his job and requests that they don’t kill him. Then he walks out into the desert with only a gun and a stillsuit because he thought he was in Dune.

On the way to prison desert hillbillies crash the ship and everyone dies except for Judge Hero and Rob Schneider. I think that everyone else on the plane was related to Judge Redshirt. Bad week for the Redshirt family.

Turns out the hillbillies are cannibals so they start eating dead people but Judge Hero is able to kill them all pretty quick, except the terrible cyborg one. He has a dial on his head that does…. something. I’m not sure what since he’s clearly a bad guy. It makes him more bad? I guess? Anyway, Dial Head survives long enough to killJudge Hero’s Grandfather who has just inexplicably shown up.

Our Hero kills dial head and Granddad tells him that he’s a clone and so is the bad guy. Cloned from the same DNA but turned out polar opposites. Nature vs. Nurture, I guess?

Judge Hero makes it back to the city with Rob Schneider, they make it into the Judges HQ, steal some outfits and walk down the runway in them, then proceed to the big showdown with Armande Assante who is trying to clone himself to take over ze vorld. Yes, my brain always translates “take over ze vorld” into a terrible German accent for some reason.

They realize that they are brothers, Rob Schneider defeats the giant fucking robot, and in the end Judge Hero goes back to work immediately. Doesn’t even take a day off after confronting his arch nemesis brother, just hops on a bike, puts the shoulder pads back on an drives off into what would be a sunset if there weren’t in the middle of the giant plastic city.

This is the worst kind of comic book movie. This is Hollywood making a movie that looks like something people like, but changing nearly everything about it where it counts because they don’t actually understand why people like it.

Judge Dredd is a dark, weird comic and this is a light hearted 90s action movie. Judge Dredd never takes his helmet off, Sylveester Stallone never wears his. Judge Dredd wears body armour, in this movie the judges wear fucking spandex and massive, incredibly plalstic looking should pad things with a thin gold chain attached to their badge. I’m sure at the time Hollywood would have said “Judge Dredd is unfilmable, no one would watch it” but we got a movie that was much, much closer to the comics this past year and it was kind of great.

The only thing that’s even kind of cool here is the Robot, because they basically built a massive animatronic robot. These days they would just do it in CGI and maybe it would move a little more fluidly and maybe it would be easier but in the end when anyone had to interact with it they wouldn’t be looking at it when they did and it would look out of place.

All in all there’s no real reason to ever watch this movie, ever. It’s not even worth watching because it’s a train wreck. Yes, it’s funny to hear Sylvester belt out “I AM THE LAW!” but it gets old fast.

Plus, Rob Schneider. Just saying. Ugh.

Rating: 1/10 (for the giant robot)

Matt Watches Bad Movies is a weekly feature in which Matt watches a bad film so you don’t have to. If you have suggestions of something terrible you’ve seen, or haven’t seen but are morbidly curious about, feel free to make suggestions in the comments or via twitter @posterboy81

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