Judge Dredd (1995)
Dolby Digital Trailer-Canyon
Theatrical Trailer-2.35:1, 16x9 Enhanced, Dolby Digital 2.0
Trailer-Mortal Kombat: Annihilation; Spawn
|Year Of Production||1995|
|Running Time||92:04 (Case: 96)|
|RSDL / Flipper||No/No||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||Danny Cannon|
Roadshow Home Entertainment
Max Von Sydow
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||2.35:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||2.35:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||Yes|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
For those of you out there who want a plot, the vague approximation in this film is something like this: in the twenty-first century, the population of the Earth is divided into Mega-Cities. The United States of America consists of three such Mega-Cities, with nothing between them but a massive desert known as the Cursed Earth. Essentially, each of these Mega-Cities contains such a huge population that crime is spiralling out of control, and as a result, a new police force has been created that dispenses justice on the fly. This police force, known simply as the Judges, are basically the police force, court system, and government of Mega-City One, and Judge Dredd (Sylvester Stallone) is the most feared amongst them. As he explains to Judge Hershey (Diane Lane), he has only had one friend in his rather lonely life, and he judged them. Said "friend", Rico (Armand Assante) is like Dredd in that he was the result of a top-secret project in genetic engineering known as the Janus Project. Most of the Judges that were spawned from this project were killed because they were born with serious mental defects that caused them to be the exact opposite of what was intended: harsh, violent super-criminals. Judge Dredd was spared because he was the only exception to this rule, which leaves us wondering why Rico was merely confined to prison. In any case, Rico begins a campaign of revenge against Dredd by framing him for murder and having him cast out into the Cursed Earth.
I've never read the comic book upon which this film is based, so I cannot comment on its authenticity. However, I will say that in literary terms, this film leaves quite a lot to be desired in terms of quality. The concept of Judge Dredd lends itself to so many great ideas that it makes this execution all the more disappointing. If there is a saving grace, it is Armand Assante's performance as Rico. Max Von Sydow makes an appearance as Chief Judge Fargo, and helps to lend some actual acting talent to the film, but his awesome presence is otherwise utterly wasted.
MPEG artefacts are happily absent from the presentation. The only things in this film that come close to constituting MPEG artefacts are deliberate artistic shots involving computer generated binocular's-eye-view shots. Film-to-video artefacts were also more or less completely absent, although there were occasions when opportunities for aliasing were almost, but not quite taken. Film artefacts were also left out of this transfer, with not a single scratch or hair in sight. There is some flickering of the picture during the credits, but this is so mild that it really doesn't begin to matter. The only visible thing in this film that would begin to qualify as an artefact would be the tell-tale differences in colour saturation between the backgrounds and the actors during the metropolis chase scenes.
(Addendum March 27, 2000: A moderate amount of aliasing can be seen at 79:13, as Rico begins ranting about Dredd's accusations of betraying the law. This is certainly the only noticeable aliasing in the whole picture, and it's a terrible pity to have to deny the transfer reference status for it. Such is life in digital.)
No subtitles are included with this DVD, which is a pity given that a lot of the mumbling and grunting that Sylvester Stallone calls speech could really do with subtitles for purposes of clarity. Granted, this film is nothing like Rocky III, but the combination of Stallone's accent with that of Armand Assante makes for a rather straining sort of listening experience.
The music in the film was comprised of an assortment of songs by contemporary artists and some orchestrations by William Ross, whose name will probably escape my memory once I am finished with this review. Unlike most films of this recent vintage, a lot of the contemporary selections were made by real artists with some substance such as The Cure, The The, and Cocteau Twins. Overall, this is one set of film music that does little to take a place in the listener's memory, although the orchestral music certainly supports the film well. It just doesn't have anything that makes it truly remarkable, much like the rest of the film (as opposed to the transfer).
The surround channels were very aggressively used to bring the feel of the decaying metropolis and its violence into the room. This is a very enveloping soundtrack, with all the effects and ambient sounds coming from the appropriate ends. The rear channels had a moderate tendency to lose their distinction from the rest of the soundtrack, but they helped the sound along in spite of this. The subwoofer was given quite a lot of work to do, particularly in the sequences that involved the use of the giant robots. The floor was constantly vibrating from the subwoofer's rumbles, but it was well integrated into the mix.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
The video quality is so sharp you could perform surgery with it, and, apart from a minor problem with the titles and credits, is of reference quality.
The audio quality is an immersive experience, and is reference quality all the way.
The extras may be somewhat limited, but their quality is not.
|DVD||Toshiba 2109, using S-Video output|
|Display||Samsung CS-823AMF (80cm). Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL).|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.|
|Amplification||Sony STR DE-835|
|Speakers||Panasonic S-J1500D Front Speakers, Sharp CP-303A Back Speakers, Philips FB206WC Centre Speaker, JBL Digital 10 Subwoofer|