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Following a nuclear war in the late 21st Century, those who survived flocked to the Mega-Cities, large urban landscapes covering hundreds of square miles. The Mega-Cities become overcrowded, giving way to wide-scale, uncontrollable crime and violence. Law and Justice, as we know them, become something of the past. To combat the rampant criminal activity, a new kind of police force is created, one with the power to dispense both justice and punishment, acting as Judge, Jury, and Executioner. They are The Judges.
The most dangerous of the Mega-Cities is Mega-City One, and to combat those dangers is toughest of the Judges. His name is Judge Dredd.
Accused of a crime he didn't commit, Judge Dredd is out to bring justice to the situation which has befallen him as he uncovers the nasty conspiracy surrounding the perfect criminal, Rico.
The film combines characters and major plot points from about five completely separate story arcs in the comics along with other minor elements from the comic's history and tries to blend it all together in a single 96-minute narrative. It's still considered to be an example of So Bad It's Good, if only for the relentlessly fun action sequences and occasional moments of very over-the-top acting.
And the game for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System had events based on the film, plus extra missions during and after the film arc.
Judge Dredd: The Movie Provides examples of:
- 108: "108 judges in 48 hours! What the hell is going on?!"
- A God Am I: Rico
- Action Girl: Judge Hershey
- Alas, Poor Villain: If it were anyone, you'd think it'd be Rico, but... Griffin's terror as Rico betrays him and orders "Fido" to tear him apart is palpable.
- The Alleged Car: The Lawmaster bike Dredd demonstrates to a class of cadets.
- Almost-Dead Guy: former Chief Justice Fargo after being wounded.
- Armor-Piercing Question: Granted, Dredd's metaphorical "armor" was in bad shape already as he stammers that the law... never makes mistakes, but then Fergie asks him, if that's true, how he, Dredd, was framed and sentenced for murder. To Dredd, at this point in his life, this is a Logic Bomb.
- Badass Boast: "You want fear? I'm fear. You want chaos? I'm the chaos! You want a 'new beginning'? Here! I AM THE NEW BEGINNING!"
- Bait and Switch Gunshot: Former Chief Justice Fargo to a Capture Team member who was about to shoot Dredd.
- Ballistic Discount: Rico. To be fair, the gun only works in the hands of a Judge, meaning that it's normally impossible to steal. Unfortunately, the shopkeeper didn't anticipate a Judge would invoke this trope.
- BFG: For part of the second half of the film, Dredd ends up using Fargo's really huge shotgun.
- Big Damn Heroes
- Big No: Twice. Dredd does this when former Chief Justice Fargo is mortally wounded, and Judge Griffin does it just before the ABC robot rips his arms and legs off.
- Bond One-Liner: Dredd to a criminal just after he kills him.
- Born as an Adult: The Janus Project clones.
- Briefcase Blaster: The gun Rico uses to shoot the prison warden in the throat.
- Cain and Abel: Rico and Joseph Dredd.
- Catch Phrase:
- "I knew you'd say that."
- "I am da law!"
- Cavalry Betrayal: The Aspen Penal Colony transport pilot thinks the Capture Team will save him.
- Chekhovs Gun: Multiple examples
- Chekhov's Gunman: Olmeyer.
- Clear My Name
- Cloning Blues: Rico and Dredd in the Backstory. It makes up a major portion of the plot.
- Dark Action Girl: Dr. Hayden.
- Designated Girl Fight: Hayden vs Hershey
- Disney Villain Death: Rico, courtesy of Dredd.
- Dramatic Slip
- Dressing as the Enemy: While Dredd is on the run from the law, he knocks out a Judge and steals his uniform.
- Enemy Rising Behind: Rico in a body bag and a technician.
- The Faceless: Averted, although Stallone does have the helmet on for a significant portion of the movie his comic counterpart's face was never seen.
- The Family That Slays Together: The Angel Family. As part of this adaptation, they're also a Cannibal Clan.
- Five-Bad Band:
- Future Food Is Artificial: Perhaps the one thing that best reflects the original tone of the comics: "Eat recycled food. It's good for the environment and okay for you!"
- Future Spandex: Judges wear a lycra/spandex bodysuit undergarment under their body armor.
- Ham-to-Ham Combat: Dredd vs. Rico
- Hand Blast: The ABC Warrior robot was armed with machine guns built into its hands.
- Hand Cannon: The Lawgiver II gun used by the Judges.
- Hollywood Law: Dredd is convicted on the strength of evidence that his defense was not informed of, which is implied to be illegal. Additionally he's convicted on the basis of only DNA evidence despite the fact that there's a psychotic Judge who happens to share Dredd's DNA and the judges (who are fully aware of this) never make an effort to check Rico's location.
- Hook Hand: The Angel Family member Mean.
- Hurricane of Puns: All of them having to do with law/police terms.
- Hypocritical Humor: Fergie's and Dredd's discussion while on the transport to the Aspen Penal Colony.
- I'm a Humanitarian
- Cannibal Clan: The Angel Family.
- I Will Tear Your Arms Off: What Rico threatens to have the ABC robot do to Judge Hershey if Judge Dredd won't join him.
- Intrepid Reporter: Vartis Hammond.
- Lantern Jaw of Justice: Love him or hate him, but Sly had the perfect chin for this.
- Large Ham: Armand Assante as Rico is king, and Sylvester Stallone as Dredd during their final confrontation.
- Leave No Witnesses: Judge Griffin is quite insistent that Dredd's shuttle crash killed everyone aboard. Quite insistent.
- Lightning Bruiser: Rico's quick.
- Monumental Battle: Inside the Statue of Liberty.
- Motive Rant: Touched off by Dredd's "You betrayed the law!", Rico's cool, smirking composure in regards to the whole affair slips for a minute. He immediately follows that mocking "Lawwww!" by gesturing to the incubation room around them and yelling, "I betrayed this!..."
- Mugged for Disguise: How Dredd accomplishes Dressing as the Enemy.
- Mythology Gag: The smiley face graffiti seen on the Statue of Liberty is a reference to the original comic's story "Un-American Graffiti", in which this was a signature part of a character's graffiti tag.
- Neck Lift: The ABC robot does it to Judge Hershey.
- Not So Stoic: When Dredd hears seemingly conclusive proof that he committed murder.
- The Obi-Wan: Chief Justice Fargo
- Offhand Backhand: Dredd to another Judge who was trying to arrest him.
- Offered the Crown: Dredd is asked to become the new Chief Judge, but turns this down because he prefers paroling the city streets.
- Outrun the Fireball: Dredd and Fergie must do this when they infiltrate the city via an incinerator vent which spews out a fireball every thirty seconds.
- Outscare the Enemy: The way Block Warlord deals with one of his underlings considering surrendering to Dredd.
"You want to be afraid of somebody, be afraid of ME!"
- Percussive Maintenance: When the flying rocket motorcycle isn't starting, Dredd gives it a solid thump and it comes online.
- Pre-Ass-Kicking One-Liner: During Dredd and Rico's Final Battle.
- Pre-Mortem One-Liner: "Court's adjourned."
- The Purge: Rico and Ilsa manage to massacre more than a hundred street Judges due to Griffin's knowledge of Judge procedures, security measures and scrambled radio frequencies.
- Put Down Your Gun and Step Away: Rico to Dredd after the ABC robot grabs Judge Hershey.
- Red Eyes, Take Warning: The ABC robot.
- Sentry Gun: Rico's prison cell in the Aspen Penal Colony.
- The Starscream: Rico ultimately turns on Griffin when he no longer needs him.
- Suddenly Always Knew That: Dr. Ilsa Hayden's martial arts ability.
- Tailor-Made Prison: Rico's prison in the movie, and it's worse in the comic.
- Take My Hand: Judge Hershey to Dredd while he's hanging from the top of the Statue of Liberty.
- Take the Wheel: Dredd to Fergie during the aerial chase as he's about to jump to another vehicle.
- Tap on the Head: Dredd to another Judge in the Judges' locker room.
- There Should Be A LAAAAAAWW:
Dredd: Emotions, there oughta be a law against them.
- Too Dumb to Live: The rookie street Judge who recklessly charges in and gets killed at the beginning.
- Wretched Hive: The setting.