Tag Archives: Lena Headey

Dredd (2012) Review

Time: 95 Minutes
Age Rating: 79a0443c-3460-4500-922d-308b655c1350[1] Graphic violence and offensive language
Cast
Karl Urban as Judge Dredd
Olivia Thirlby as Judge Cassandra Anderson
Lena Headey as Ma-Ma (Madeline Madrigal)
Wood Harris as Kay
Director: Pete Travis

Mega City One is a vast, violent metropolis where felons rule the streets. The only law lies with cops called “judges,” who act as judge, jury and executioner, and Dredd (Karl Urban) is one of the city’s most feared. One day, Dredd is partnered with Cassandra (Olivia Thirlby), a rookie with powerful psychic abilities. A report of a terrible crime sends Dredd and Cassandra to a dangerous area controlled by Ma-Ma (Lena Headey), a drug lord who will stop at nothing to protect her empire.

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Dredd had a lot of potential to fail. There had been a Judge Dredd movie with Sylvester Stallone in the mid 90s, which while enjoyable as a guilty pleasure, isn’t very good. Dredd was a surprise to many including myself, it had all the elements of a very solid action flick fun time, and from what I can tell its an accurate representation of Judge Dredd. One of the most underrated action movies in recent years.

This movie is very straightforward, it’s just our main characters going from room to room while hoards of enemies hunt for them. Now I’m not a Judge Dredd comics fan but I could tell that the original Judge Dredd was more of a Sylvester Stallone action flick than an actual Judge Dredd movie. Dredd is truly a Judge Dredd film. The world is really nicely realised, it is a grim and dark world, the R rating really helped the movie go deeper into it. I was entertained throughout, from the set up at the beginning to when the film actually kicks off, which is when our protagonists are actually facing endless amounts of people trying to kill them and it doesn’t let up. There isn’t anything wrong about the film that I could pinpoint, it has great protagonists, a threatening antagonist and an interesting world, everything that Dredd needed.

Karl Urban is Judge Dredd, that’s all I can really say. He is ruthless, badass and unrelenting, and no, at no point do you see him without his mask. This movie really isn’t a character study or anything like that, so don’t expect a lot of character depth with his version of Judge Dredd, but it worked very well for the movie as it was a straightforward action movie. Olivia Thirlby is also really good as a rookie judge with Dredd, who does have psychic powers, those two worked together well as our main characters. Lena Headey makes for a great villain, ruthless, sinister and brutal, she stole every scene she was in. Also the way she plays the role and reacted to certain situations made her have such a strong screen presence.

Dredd surprisingly only has a 30-45 million dollar budget, making it a much smaller film than you’d expect. However that budget was used well because this film is directly greatly. The action is great, it is very violent and pretty much how I would imagine a Judge Dredd film would be. This film also involves slow-mo, and they find a way to make slow-mo actually make sense, as there is a drug literally called slow-mo that slows down the brain of whoever takes it and it was portrayed so well on screen. The R-rating is not always necessary but sometimes it is really needed to fully make the movie they want. This is one of those cases. The film is brutal and dark, definitely far from the Stallone cheesefest from the 90s, and I loved it.

I thoroughly enjoyed Dredd, the actors were great in their roles, the action is good. This film isn’t revolutionary, I don’t think I’d consider it one of the best action films of the 2010s, but for what it was trying to be it succeeded very well. I have no idea if they are making a Dredd sequel but I’d love to see one, I wanna see more of the world that they portrayed.

The Purge (2013) Review

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The Purge

Time: 85 Minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1] Violence and Offensive Language
Cast:
Ethan Hawke as James Sandin
Lena Headey as Mary Sandin
Adelaide Kane as Zoe Sandin
Max Burkholder as Charlie Sandin
Edwin Hodge as The Stranger
Tony Oller as Henry
Director: James DeMonaco

In 2022, the United States of America celebrates once a year “The Purge”, a 12-hour period when any crime is allowed including murder. The result is an economical growth and society free of homeless, sick and unproductive persons. James Sandin (Ethan Hawke) is a successful salesman that sells security systems for the houses. He lives with his wife Mary (Lena Headey) and his teenage son Charlie (Max Burkholder) and daughter Zoey (Adelaide Kane) in a house in the suburb. During the purge, James seals his house, however, Charlie sees a stranger (Edwin Hodge) fleeing from a group that is hunting him down and he disarms the security device and lets the man in. But the leader of the group (Rhys Wakefield) gives an ultimatum to James: if he does not deliver the man to the group, they would kill the whole family.

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At first glance, The Purge seems interesting, with the purge aspect potentially leading to an interesting plot if it’s handled right, however in this case it isn’t. These two elements are a bad mix which end up with an absurd and at times stupid movie with a badly written plot.

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The biggest flaw I feel is the actual idea behind the purge everyone says that the purge works but I just don’t get it. The way that many people on some news screens talk about, they seem to say that the reason crime exists is that we have to ‘release the beast’ that’s inside of us. I also can’t get how having a 12 hour crime free time works and everyone is going by the honours system and not committing any crimes. Another big flaw is that you can tell that this film could be a home invasion movie without this purge aspect, in fact it would’ve been better. They also take this thing seriously, if it was satire I could see how it would work but that’s not the case. Even the pacing isn’t that good. The first act isn’t interesting at all and the second act of the movie is the family looking for this one homeless guy with no tension. The characters make very stupid decisions, like when the daughter runs off further into the house when the lights go out (when the family should stay together). The villains are also just over the top goofy, they are just dancing and mucking around in front of the camera for about half of the movie and are apparently supposed to be ‘creepy’. I do wonder why they are focussing on getting this one guy, they have 12 hours to do pretty much do what they want but this guy is apparently so worth their attention. When they finally get into the house they become quite possibly the dumbest house invaders ever by just messing around. This film’s plot really does deconstruct itself and is one of the worst attempts at being smart.

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Ethan Hawke and Lena Headey do the best with what they have in this movie, however the kids weren’t that great. There is one redeeming aspect of this movie which is Rhys Wakefield as the leader of the gang. He tries so hard to act evil and his hammy performance is at least entertaining to watch.

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On the technical side, The Purge doesn’t really have any problems. The shots are well set up, the lighting is effective, and soundtrack is fine, but it isn’t enough to take away the flaws of the story.

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The Purge is a failed attempt at a cross between a smart film and a home invasion movie. The film is well shot and the soundtrack is fine but besides that, this movie didn’t work at all. The characters are poorly written and its very premise is flawed. I’ve heard that its sequel is better so at some point I’ll give it a chance but I can’t imagine it being that much better this film.