The Raid: Redemption was one of the best action movies I watched last year. It’s an amazing action movie with lots of incredible stunts performed by actors that look like they took very little in the way of precautions. The story is a bare-bones action set piece premise: Bad guy has taken control of an entire apartment high rise, and a group of SWAT police need to go in and take him down. Floor by floor they fight their way though different thugs who are determined to take them down at any price. It’s got unique action sequences and enough of a story for you to care about the protagonist. It’s got some great suspense in a few scenes where the hero is trapped and you can’t believe how he escapes. Also, the fight scenes are incredible.
Dredd is a comic book adaptation that’s been tried before, but needed to reboot the franchise in a serious way after the atrocious 1995 Stallone vehicle “Judge Dredd“. That movie, which was the initial introduction of this character to mainstream audiences, established a cool setting and wasted it on pitiful one liners and really cheesy action. Dredd is a “judge” in an future city that exists in an otherwise abandoned wasteland. The tropes about serving justice in a brutal manner and an DNA registered ID gun are retained.
In the Dredd reboot, he’s in charge of training a new judge recruit, a mutant with some very handy powers for someone that is becoming a judge: She can read minds. The movie takes it’s time developing this rookie, and her unique ability is vital to keeping the story moving along. There is no “detective” work when one of the characters can simply read the mind of a criminal to get to information they require.
Dredd is extremely similar to The Raid: Redemption in that it also takes place in an apartment block. Because it is the future, the apartment is more like an Arcology, which can be readied for “war” mode, which the bad guys can use to their advantage. In this movie however, the entire block has been taken over by a gang selling Slow-mo, a drug that changes its users perception to make everything pass slowly. There are numerous scenes where “slow-mo” is taken that changes the speed of the movie and gives the action a very artistic, graphic twist. The bad guys also use “slow-mo” to torture people barbarically, then toss them down 200 flights of apartments in a frightening display of their cruelty.
While The Raid: Redemption is a better pure action movie, I liked the sidekick from Dredd and her ability to read minds as a device. There is a dispute as to which movie ripped off the other, but both of them were entertaining, and I’ve recommended them to people in the past. If you are looking for a set of action movies to entertain during a rainy day, you could do worse than these two movies.