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As far as mindless Sylvester Stallone action movies go, JUDGE DREDD ($30) is better than some, but not quite as good as others. JUDGE DREDD is based upon the cult comic book of the same name, with Stallone portraying the title character. When Stallone's Judge Dredd utters the film's tag line "I am The Law" he isn't kidding. In the future, justice is swift thanks to an elite police force known as "Judges" that have absolute authority, serving as judge, jury and when required- executioner. Amongst Judges, Judge Dredd has become legendary for the rapid, dispassionate manner in which he dispenses justice.

The plot of JUDGE DREDD centers on the political aspiration of Judge Griffin (Jürgen Prochnow), who frames Dredd for murder in an effort to unseat Judge Fargo (Max von Sydow) from his leadership of the Council of Judges. Judge Griffin utilizes the services of an imprisoned madman named Rico (Armand Assante), to eliminate Dredd. Rico is a former Judge who is more than happy to destroy the man who placed him behind bars. The cast of JUDGE DREDD also includes Rob Schneider as Herman Ferguson, a small time crook who helps Dredd in his hour of need, and Diane Lane as Judge Hershey.

Hollywood Pictures Home Video has made JUDGE DREDD available on DVD in a Letterboxed presentation that does not contain the anamorphic enhancement for 16:9 aspect ratio televisions. Despite the lack of the anamorphic enhancement, JUDGE DREDD sports a good-looking image that is sharp and detailed. Colors are vivid, but don't belie a trace of chroma noise in their richly saturated hues. Digital compression artifacts were tamed by competent DVD authoring.

The Dolby Digital 5.1 channel soundtrack is an absolute blast. Bass reproduction could blow one into next week, while the mix aggressively utilizes the discrete capabilities of the Dolby Digital system to assault the viewer on all sides with pinpoint precision. Explosions and gunfire emanate from everywhere, yet the track manages natural sounding dialogue. Even Alan Silvestri's music sounds good in the mix. A French language soundtrack has been provided, as has English captioning.

The DVD's interactive menus are simplistic and offer access to a theatrical trailer as well as the standard scene and language selection features.




DVD reviews are Copyright © 1999 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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