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September 25. 2012 11:57AM

Ian Clark's Pop Culture Club

Will America dread 'Dredd' this time around?


 

NOT EVERY COMIC book character earns a second chance at getting it right on the big screen. On Friday, 'Dredd' hit movies theaters to offer redemption to a character that's been around for 35 years. But for a lot of people, the name Judge Dredd brings to mind the disappointing 1995 Sylvester Stallone movie based on the character.


There's so much wrong with the Stallone movie, but we'll get to that in a minute. First, a little history on the character itself.

Judge Dredd debuted in the British science fiction anthology '2000 AD' in 1977. Set in the 22nd century, Judge Dredd�s world is one of advanced technology - but is far from a utopia.

Special police officers, known as 'judges,' act as judge, jury and executioner in the fight against crime in the massive metropolis known as Mega-City One, which is located on the coast of North America.

Dredd proved to be an incredibly popular character and is one of the best known British comic characters of all time.

He's appeared in many comics over the years (including one from DC Comics here in the United States).

But over here in the States, Dredd is mostly known not for his comic book legacy but for the misfire that was the Stallone version of the movie. So just what went wrong with Sly�s take on the character? Where to start?

The chief complaint among Dredd fans is that the Stallone movie broke the one rule that the comic books have always followed. Under no circumstances have they ever shown Judge Dredd�s face in the comics.

But with the 1995 movie having a Hollywood star driving it, Stallone's Dredd took his helmet off early and often.

That was unforgivable to some fans.

The movie also attempted to add humor by throwing in Rob Schneider as an annoying sidekick for Dredd. Overall, the movie was a mess. It failed to capture the heart of the Dredd character and setting. Even Stallone himself has expressed regret at how the movie turned out.

Enter Karl Urban and the new film, which looks to be a much more faithful adaptation. Urban, who has been seen in the new 'Star Trek' franchise (as Bones McCoy), is a good fit for Dredd - and he even keeps his helmet on for the whole movie.

Already released in the United Kingdom, the reviews have been overwhelmingly positive. It looks like they got it right this time, and I look forward to checking it out.On another movie note, it's worth mentioning that the Indiana Jones movies are being released on Blu-ray this month.

It's a package deal right now, meaning you have to buy all four movies. You can't purchase any individual films on Blu-ray (except 'Kingdom of the Crystal Skull,' which was already available).

While I don't want to get into 'Crystal Skull' (let's just say it's not great but not nearly as bad as it has been made out to be), owning the rest of the collection is a must-have for me.

The extras also make the collection worth the price. Speaking of which, shop around a little before picking it up. Online stores will have it cheaper, but your local big box stores should also have a special low release price, as well.

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Ian Clark's Pop Culture Club appears weekly in the New Hampshire Sunday News. He is the author of two fantasy novels: 'Prophecy of Shadows' and 'Plains of the Past.' Check out his 'Nerdherders' podcast on iTunes and nerdherderspodcast. com. His email address is iclark@unionleader.com.


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