I know, you guys probably saw this coming if you saw my profile picture.
Ever since I was a little kid I had had a fascination with the Dredd movie and comics that my dad picked up. I think it also stems from the idea of one man and his unwavering idea of justice versus thousands of gangs that just want to see that one man dead!
After watching the Karl Urban Dredd movie that was released in 2012, I took a glance over a my movie shelf and saw the Sylvester Stallone's Judge Dredd DVD, and realized that I never sat sat down and compared the two movies. I also though it would be fun to actually compare the two movie to the original comics that was released in Great Britain in 1977, and see which Dredd movie took the most from its' elder roots.
From here on out, the different Dredd movies will be referred to as: Sylvester Stallone's Judge Dredd as S.Dredd, and Karl Urban's Dredd as K.Dredd. Just so you don't have to keep reading those two's names over and over again.
The Law Himself
Judge Dredd's whole name is Joseph Dredd. This was stated in the comics several times and also in S.Dredd when he was brought to court for "murder". In K.Dredd it was never revealed that Dredd's First name was Joesph. Who cares about that though! What I want to know is if Dredd acts the same way.
In the early comics Dredd's helmet was removed once, but they never showed an actual face. The descriptions from the characters around him were explaining that his face looked hideous and deformed. Likely from the many years on the street.
In K.Dredd we never get to see Judge Dredd's face, but if we watch S.Dredd we get to see this guy's beautiful mug almost throughout the entire movie.
As you can see, S.Dredd does not show any scars or deformities on Dredd's face. The idea of not wearing the helmet was probably Stallone's own idea. The Director stated that Stallone made a lot of changes to the script, and most of them was to add some Comedy to the movie. The helmet could have been removed for the stunts that Stallone would be doing in the movie or just because Stallone wanted the audience to see his face and expressions for the character. One of Life's mysteries that we may never find out.
Speaking of humor that Stallone wanted, Dredd in the comics was actually full one liners. Sure he was serious, but he knew how to dish out a serious burn on a perp!
Sure in the newer comics he is more of the serious quite type, but the old Dredd talked a bunch. Which is never a bad thing. You just get more smiles from the cheesiness than you thought.
From just how Dredd acted, I feel like S.Dredd captured more of the comics. I still enjoy K.Dredd and how Urban portrayed the character, but it just doesn't feel like the same Dredd in the comics in 77.
Dredd in each media form stuck with almost the same type of equipment, just a few modifications here and there.
Weapon of Choice
In both movies and comic, Dredd used a variation pf the Law-Giver.
They look really different, but they all acted the same way. The hand gun is voice activated and after calling out the ammunition type, the handgun would switch to what ever was said. These could be from regular bullets, high explosive, armor piercing, and so on. In the comics, Dredd's Lawgiver was voice activated and lit up when commanded. It did not talk back or confirm the switch.
S.Dredd's version lit up and talked back when it switched out, which was fun. A clip below explains better than I ever could, just jump to 00:32.
K.Dredd's handgun felt more like the comic's. Sure it doesn't light up like the other two Lawgivers but it has a LED display screen that told the Judge what ammo he was using. Below is the video showing how K.Dredd's Lawgiver worked. WARNING: BAD LANGUAGE is in this following clip.
While both of the movie's Lawgiver worked the same way, the difference came to what different ammo the different Judges yelled out. S.Dredd used a really unique one that was not used in the comics such as double whammy. This is where he could shoot to perps at one time!.
The Judge Dredd Comics kept it simple, the one that they used that was different was Heat-Seeker. This type of ammunition made the bullet whizz around trying to find the next target. Kind of like a heat seeking missile.
In the comic and in K.Dredd, The lawgiver had a safety feature that would blow off the user's hand if the user was not a Judge. In S.Dredd the Lawgiver would shock the user to death. Nice and Crispy!
Out of the Lawgivers I am going to have to give it to K.Dredd because it acts similar to the Comics. With just a tad bit of differences the ammunition used in the movie is almost the exact same in the comics.
The Lawmaster is Dredd's trustworthy motorcycle. It has machine guns on it and there is a computer on it to talk to Control. In the comics, Dredd is able to use the computer to look up information and also use it for many other things, such as a voice recognition scanner. In S.Dredd, the bike is able to turn into a hover craft and fly, so it can chase hover cars and such. The Lawmaster was not given much time to shine in the movies, but it is used frequently in the comics.
If we are also judging on looks as well, S.Dredd's bike looks really similar. I think the Eagle adds so much to it!
The helmet from K.Dredd mostly resembled the comic versions. As you can tell from the header, the helmets on the right make an "X" where the nose is, but S.Dredd's helmet comes to a point right after the eyebrows! Also in the S.Dredd movie there is a micorphone that comes out that he can use to turn his helmet into a megaphone. None of this happened in the other two.
K.Dredd carries a bunch of first Aid equipment and ammunition with him throughout the movie and you actually get to see it used. K.Dredd reloads throughout the movie and near the end he is going through all the ammo in his Lawgiver because everything was spent. In the comic and S.Dredd, Dredd uses so much ammo and never seems reloads. It is just a non-stop shoot 'em up mayhem! The other two also don't carry much of anything on them. Just Spandex and the little armor they tote around with. The Comic and S.Dredd had at least a tiny "Batman" like utility belt. He just never seems to grab anything out from there.
The Book of Law
In the comic, the Book of Law is referenced quite a bit since it is Dredd's favorite pastime, if he is not sleeping for 10 minutes or less. The only movie that references this book is the S.Dredd edition. Crazy enough it is not just referenced once, but actually referenced multiple times. If we watch K.Dredd the movie doesn't mention the book at all.
Rookies are mentioned in all three movies, but S.Dredd falls short on how they grade them in the field. The only rookies you see in S.Dredd is the one that gets blown away in the beginning and the ones that he is teaching in the Hall of Justice. In the other two however, Dredd actually gets paired with a rookie and has to see them through till the end.
This is where K.Dredd shines way above S.Dredd. I loved watching K.Dredd walking Anderson through calls to Control and how they were similar to the ones in the comics. Though the rookie in the comics messed way more, with worse outcomes.
I thought having Rob Schneider in the S.Dredd was such a bad idea at the time. I wanted a super serious Dredd movie that kicked butt, but then came along Mr. Schneider with his craziness. That's when it dawned on me though. Dredd in the comics had an annoying buddy as well, and if you read the old comics you would remember this guy!
Walter the Wobot! no I did not misspell the name, Walter had a lisp.... it is more painful to read than you think. These two guys in the movie and comics actually play important roles in Dredd's story. They both come around and save Dredd's life even though he doesn't appreciate them. They both were actually saved also by Dredd! These two sidekicks will never be though of as the same character, but they have enough similarities that you could defend why the Director placed Rob Schneider in the movie with Stallone.
Sheesh, I didn't realize how much there was to talk about! I might have to choose just one more topic to talk about to keep this somewhat short.
One of the biggest things about Dredd is that he is actually a clone. Genetically created to be the perfect Judge for Mega-City 1. This was brought up in all three. The only problem with K.Dredd was that it slightly implied at. Anderson, when she used her psychic abilities to look through the mirror, she sees Dredd but something else that was driving him. Before she could finish what she was going to say she get cut off. This could mean that she was about to spill the beans about poor Dredd's past.
The other two actually bring it up, and introduces Dredd's Brother Rico, also a clone. Rico becomes a big role in the story. Rico was raised with Dredd and even went through the Law Academy together, but Rico lost sight of the Law and started to take his own version of it and put it into use. After killing innocent people, only Dredd was the only one that could stop and Judge him. Dredd did and his brother was then sent to prison never to be seen again. In the Comic and S.Dredd, Ricoh comes back to avenge himself and tries to kill Dredd. Both Rico's fail in their mission to do so at the hands of Dredd!
I know that the K.Dredd is a way more dark and grittier Mega-City that is more believable, but after looking at all that I discussed I feel that S.Dredd is a lot closer to the comics. I think it still has the same heart of the comics even though it might have added some more stuff, like a talking Lawgiver and floating Lawmaster. S.Dredd also referernced way more of the old comics and those are the things that make Dredd Dredd.
I know I skipped over a few things, and if you want me to add them in or feel like I should do another one of these describing the differences of the Mega Cities, go ahead and leave those thoughts in the comments below. If you were able to read this whole thing then Holy Drokk, you are amazing! Thanks for reading!