Judge Dredd: The Sylvester Stallone Years

05 March 2023
"Judge Dredd" is a 1995 science-fiction action film directed by Danny Cannon and starring Sylvester Stallone in the lead role as Judge Dredd. The film is an adaptation of the comic book series of the same name, created by John Wagner and Carlos Ezquerra.

The movie is set in a post-apocalyptic future where the United States has been devastated by a nuclear war, and the remaining population is crammed into the "Mega-Cities," massive urban centers that are surrounded by radioactive wastelands. 

These Mega-Cities are ruled by the Judges, who act as judge, jury, and executioner. Judge Dredd is the most feared and respected of all the Judges, and the film follows his quest to clear his name after he is framed for murder.

stallone judge dredd

The film's plot revolves around Judge Dredd's (Sylvester Stallone) conflict with his former mentor, Judge Fargo (Max von Sydow), who has been murdered. Dredd is framed for the crime by his corrupt clone brother, Rico Dredd (Armand Assante). The film follows Dredd's efforts to clear his name, fight the corrupt Judge Hershey (Diane Lane), and stop Rico from taking over Mega-City One.

One of the plot lines in the movie is Rico Dredd's quest for power. Rico was created as a clone of Judge Dredd, but he was deemed a failure and imprisoned. He later escapes and seeks revenge against Dredd, using his knowledge of the Judge system to try and take over Mega-City One.

The Angel gang / family is a prominent plotline in the "Judge Dredd" movie, and they serve as one of the primary antagonists that Judge Dredd must face. The Angel family is a group of cannibalistic hillbillies who reside in the "Cursed Earth," the radioactive wasteland outside of Mega-City One. Led by the ruthless and sadistic Ma-Ma Angel (played by Leslie Stefanson), the family is feared and hated by many due to their violent and gruesome actions.

The Angel family's plotline is introduced early in the film when Judge Dredd and his partner, Judge Hershey (played by Diane Lane), are dispatched to the Cursed Earth to bring in the notorious criminal, Fergie (played by Rob Schneider). While there, they encounter the Angel family and witness their brutality firsthand. Ma-Ma Angel is shown to be especially cruel, as she orders her sons to kill anyone who crosses their path and takes pleasure in tormenting her victims.

Later in the film, the Angel family resurfaces when Judge Dredd is on the run after being framed for murder. He seeks refuge in the Cursed Earth and unwittingly comes across the Angel family's lair. Ma-Ma Angel captures Dredd and plans to use him as a meal for her family, but Dredd manages to escape and engage in a brutal fight with the Angel sons.

Did anyone like this movie?

The critical and fan reception of "Judge Dredd" was mixed. Many critics praised Stallone's performance and the film's special effects, but criticized the movie's lack of depth and character development. The film holds a 20% rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 55 reviews, with an average rating of 3.9/10. However, the film has developed a cult following over the years, and is often cited as a guilty pleasure by fans of the comic book series and action movies.

At the box office, "Judge Dredd" grossed $113.5 million worldwide against a budget of $90 million. The film was considered a disappointment, as it did not perform as well as expected given the popularity of the comic book series and Stallone's star power.

In conclusion, "Judge Dredd" is a flawed but entertaining action movie that features Stallone in the lead role and a supporting cast of talented actors. While it received mixed reviews upon its release, the film has since developed a cult following and remains a memorable entry in Stallone's filmography.

Trivia about the movie

  1. The film was originally set to be directed by Walter Hill, but he dropped out due to creative differences. Danny Cannon ended up with the gig.
  2. The role of Judge Dredd was initially offered to Arnold Schwarzenegger, but he turned it down.
  3. Sylvester Stallone had never read the "Judge Dredd" comics before being cast in the lead role.
  4. The film was shot on location in the United States, England, and Italy.
  5. The script underwent multiple rewrites during production, with numerous writers being brought in to work on the script.
  6. The film's budget ballooned to $90 million, making it one of the most expensive films of its time.
  7. The special effects in the film were created by over 100 different companies.
  8. The filmmakers used over 500 different sets for the film, ranging from miniature models to full-scale constructions.
  9. Stallone underwent extensive physical training for the role, working out six days a week to get in shape.
  10. The film features a cameo appearance by the comic book's co-creator, John Wagner, as a Judge.
  11. The film's score was composed by Alan Silvestri, who had previously worked on films such as "Back to the Future" and "Forrest Gump."
  12. The film's costume designer, Emma Porteous, drew inspiration from military uniforms and armor for the Judges' costumes.
  13. The film's climactic scene, in which Judge Dredd battles Rico Dredd on top of a skyscraper, was shot on a soundstage in Italy.
  14. The film's marketing campaign heavily promoted the film's use of cutting-edge special effects and state-of-the-art technology.
  15. Despite its mixed critical reception and box office performance, the film has since developed a cult following among fans of the comic book series and action movies.


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About the author Jimmy Jangles

My name is Jimmy Jangles, the founder of The Astromech. I have always been fascinated by the world of science fiction, especially the Star Wars universe, and I created this website to share my love for it with fellow fans.

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