Written by Kirk BairdJust as a revamped Judge Dredd appears in theaters this weekend, the 1995 version starring Sylvester Stallone makes its debut on Blu-ray. The timing, of course, is not a coincidence.
Stallone plays Judge Dredd, a humorless law enforcement agent in post-apocalyptic future Earth who is police, judge, jury, and executioner in one. This new style of quick justice is the only way an overcrowded society can function and keep lawbreakers off the streets.
But one judge abused his powers and was arrested and convicted by Dredd. This former judge, Rico, played by Armand Assante, escapes prison and goes after Dredd, implicating him in the murder of a journalist and his wife. Diane Lane plays the young judge who tries unsuccessfully to clear Dredd of the charges. With the roles reversed and Dredd now a convicted murderer and outcast, he must work to clear his name and save the city from the hell that Rico plans to unleash.
Stallone does his worst Stallone impersonation, and Rob Schneider is along as a petty criminal and comic relief. Assante chews scenery like it’s his last supper.
A making-of featurette makes very clear the studio thought it had something special with Judge Dredd. The truth, however, is that Judge Dredd was a major bomb and may have hurt Stallone’s career more than any other flop he's been in. But in a strange, unexplainable way the movie has aged well as a cult film. The film is based on a popular British comic strip character from 1977.