I’ll be honest; I had zero interest in watching Dredd. It was my husband who really wanted to go this thing. Having never read the comics, my only knowledge into the world of Mega-City One was from the spectacularly awful 1995 film Judge Dredd, which, despite being unintentionally hilarious, was not what I would call a “must-watch” film.
Add that to a trailer that was lack-luster at best, and I just wasn’t feeling it. However, I have a hard time telling my husband no, because his face is cute, and he really wanted to see this movie and wanted me to go with. So, off we went to see Dredd.
Internet, I was wrong. So wrong.
Dredd is a really good movie, and I’m not even saying that in a good-for-an-action-movie way. It is just straight-up enjoyable. Good music, truly bitchin’ effects, and in this age of bloated, messy storylines, a solid script that is refreshingly tight.
The most surprising thing for me, though, was how great it was viewed from a lady perspective. For those of you who are skeptical, allow me to break it down.
5. Lena Heady Is Strong, Scary, And Not That Sexy For Once
A female villain is not a rare character to see. One who doesn’t rely a good deal of sex appeal to throw the hero off guard, that one is a little harder to find.
Ma-Ma is a lot of things: strong, calculated, crazy as two squirrels stuck in a sock full of bees, but not sexy. Like, so not sexy that even soaking wet Lena Heady in a slow-motion glittery bathtub was not titillating in the slightest.
It is refreshing to see a woman be just as brutal and intimidating as dudes typically are in these types of roles. She pistol whips people twice her size, indiscriminately kills to prove a point, and does not give two shits about how she looks while doing it.
4. The Uniform Is Actually Not Stupid
As we all know, bikini armor, though striking and distracting, doesn’t necessarily protect essential things, like organs. Dredd is a film that appreciates their characters wanting to live, and this is showcased in the uniform. In addition, there really is not a “male” versus “female” uniform.
These uniforms are utilitarian. No boob plates nor any unnecessarily exposed skin. Not that Urban and Thirlby look bad in these outfits. They are pretty people whatever you put them in. The point is, however, that the Judge uniforms were not built to be titillating, for either gender, but to keep bullets from killing you, which is pretty great when you consider a Judge’s line of work.
3. The Lady Actress Does Not Have The Hots For The Dude Actor And Vice Versa
Despite the matching leather outfits, Dredd and Anderson have absolutely zero romantic interest or chemistry. They are professionals on a mission and that’s it. No tension, no lingering passion. The drama comes strictly from trying very hard to not get shot in the face.
As a professional myself (not the shooty kind, more like the cubical kind) it is good to see a normal working relationship between team members. The majority of the population is completely capable of getting their job done without also wanting to get the naked with their attractive co worker. This actually makes the two of them much more relatable than other films with opposite sex team-ups, despite the fact that they are working in a post-apocalyptic urban wasteland tracking down a drug lord and one is also a psychic. One a side note, this seems to be a trend that is catching on. Pacific Rim and the new Mad Max are excellent examples of platonic, bad ass team-ups of collective lady and dude awesomeness. Keep going, Hollywood, I would like to continue giving you money for more movies just like these.
2. Dredd’s Boss Is This Woman And It’s Not A Big Deal
In addition to Rakie Ayola playing the Chief Judge, in the world of Mega-City One, the word “sir” has changed to a title, rather than a gender-specific term.
I actually hadn’t thought of it until I started writing this piece, but both of the leader figures in Dredd are women. At no point is it an issue that either one of these women are, in fact, women. They are simply respected and listened to, without anyone bringing up any gender-fueled tensions. Of course, one of them is a homicidal psychopath, but still, you can’t deny that she’s an effective leader.
1. Anderson Has A Character Arc
Dredd is an immovable force. He is essentially a plot device in of himself; the paradigm of unchanging lawful good. He is not capable of having character development. Anderson, however, is.
She begins the film nervous and unsure, timid and afraid of action. This is not how she ends. Anderson proves that although Dredd knows the law, she knows what is right, and she is strong enough and smart enough to know what to do and how to do it. This film is essentially a character study of her becoming a Judge, arguably a better one than Dredd could ever be.
As a feminist, Dredd was a joy to watch. All too often, I think we focus on the bad examples that exist in film, and although there is a lot to pick on as far as that goes, there is a growing number of films that are breaking out and showcasing women as powerful. I am one of those who would love to see a sequel to see more of Olivia Thirlby and Karl Urban kicking butt, but if this film is just the beginning of others like it and not necessarily a continuation of this story, as it seems to be, I’m still a happy camper.
Agree or disagree, Dredd fans? Let us know in the comment section below!