Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Judge Dredd to get reboot (and how the 1995 version helped destroy the R-rating)

Chud reports that Judge Dredd will be going back to the drawing board. The original film, starring Sylvester Stallone and Diane Lane, was a critical and box office disappointment, and one of the films that helped kill mainstream R-rated films in general. Whaa, you say? Well, when Joe Lieberman and his ilk used the aftershock of the Columbine school massacre to push for more overt regulation of marketing R-rated films (IE - no marketing R-rated films before 9:00pm and on kid-friendly TV stations), one of the examples they used was the practice of test screening Judge Dredd to thirteen-year-olds. Ironically, when the film came out, Stallone had (if I recall) claimed on The Tonight Show that he always believed that the film was destined for a PG-13.

That's humorous for two reasons. First of all, it would seem that the studios ended up getting in trouble for test-screening an R-rated film for kid audiences because they thought the film was going to be PG-13. Second of all, only an absolutely blind man could honestly say that Judge Dredd had any chance of being PG-13 in its theatrical form (same goes for Harrison Ford complaining that Air Force One didn't deserve its R). Not only is the picture filled with blood and gore, but it has the rare distinction of having an onscreen death for pretty much 99% of all speaking characters in the picture. With the exception of the three heroic leads (Stallone, Lane, and Rob Schneider) and a few one-line walk-ons after the action climaxes, pretty much every major speaking character is killed during the course of the picture. I cannot in my memory recall an equal to this otherwise underrated and surprisingly ahead-of-its time B-movie comic adaptation in terms of sheer pervasive onscreen body counts. If for no other reason than that, as well as the fact that it helped kill the R-rating as a profitable rating for big-budget tent-pole pictures, Judge Dredd is a milestone motion picture.

Scott Mendelson

1 comment:

Byron the afro-filmviewer said...

Not entirely sure about that one but interesting musings all the same.

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