Judge Dredd (Blu-ray Review German Import)

It’s been over fifteen years since Judge Dredd graced the big screen and brought Sylvester Stallone’s career to a screeching halt.  Up to that point, Judge Dredd was Stallone’s biggest film in terms of scope and budget and it bombed hard in the U.S.  Was it really that bad?  It all depends on who you ask.  There’s currently a remake-reboot in the works starring Karl Urban and written by Alex Garland (Sunshine and Never Let Me Go). Dredd is hot property once again.


Earth has become a ravaged and mostly uninhabited wasteland.  The parts that remain untouched by Cursed Earth soil are controlled and monitored by “The Judges.”  They are judge, jury, and executioner all rolled into one.  The most feared judge is Judge Dredd (Sylvester Stallone).  He’s plays it by the book and takes his job in Mega City very seriously.  Judge Hershey (Diane Lane) is his fellow judge and comrade.  They’re not officially partners.  Fergee (Rob Schnieder) is a paroled hacker who gets caught up with the wrong people and is sent pack to prison by Dredd.  Rico (Armand Assante) is a criminal  with a secret who has escaped from the Aspen penal colony and brings violence and chaos to the already violent and chaotic Mega City.  You still with us so far?

Judge Dredd has so many characters and so many things going on within that it’s almost like digging into a large meal.  It can get dense.  Yes, it’s a silly mess of a film all the way around, but it’s a good looking, bloody, loud, special effects fiasco that I can get into.  Some may call me a hypocrite for liking Judge Dredd while hating on films like Transformers and Transformers 2, because those are also awful films in their own right.  I don’t really have an answer.  Judge Dredd hit theaters in the summer of 1995.  I was very young, saw it with my mom and younger siblings.  Maybe it had more of an impact on me, because we made it a family event?  Different variables. 

Judge Dredd is one of the last films of the 90’s to incorporate more practical special effects work than digital effects.  They even built a giant ABC Robot.  In addition to that you have the great special effects make-up design of Mean Machine.  To this day it remains one of my favorite make-up fx creations.  Stallone has even gone on record to say that Judge Dredd was a missed opportunity considering the size and scope of the project.  I’m  not making comments on the comics, because technically, I didn’t start reading them until after the film was released.  It’s a past tense reflection that has no place here.

For those eager to get themselves a copy Judge Dredd on Blu-ray they will have to wait a little longer.  At least in the states.  This review is for the German import version.  It’s region B locked, so in order to play it you will need a region free player.  If you’re a fan of the film I would say it’s worth it.   You’ll be waiting a long time for the domestic release.


Judge Dredd is presented in a 1080p 2.35:1 aspect ratio.  There will be no mistaking this as anything but a 35mm shot production.  There is beautiful grain layered throughout the film with no signs of DNR to be found.  It’s almost a reference quality disc in the picture department, but I did spot a few instances of dirt and speckle.  It’s fine, because the Cursed Earth is nasty, but it’s not inherent to the source.  The picture quality is stunning to say the least.


Judge Dredd is presented in 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio.  The default language is German, but you MUST switch the setting in the main menu.  Be sure to set the subtitles (in the main menu as well) to AUS (off) other wise any text (non-dialogue) will be translated onscreen to German.  Judge Dredd sounds just like I remember it.  Loud and aggressive!  I’ve had the VHS, laserdisc, dvd, and can honestly say that this Blu-ray blows them out of the water and into little pieces.  The bass tightly rumbles while bullets whiz by your head.  Alan Sylvestri’s (one of my favorite scores) music score is great and comes through the front clearly with out drowning out what’s happening.  The surround channels also get an intense workout.  You can clearly hear the chatter in the streets along with MORE bullets whizzing by your head.  Judge Dredd always had great sound design.  The Blu-ray has amplified it.

Special Features

This German Blu-ray import of Judge Dredd has a couple of extras, but nothing special.  It does have the classic making of documentary from Showtime that aired way back when.  It’s a pretty detailed account on the making and behind the scenes of the film.  Watch Rob Schneider eat it face first on the concrete in one scene.  Ouch!  There’s another making of, but it’s in German without subtitles.  A few theatrical and tv spots round out the rest of the special features.

  • Making Of (Duetsch)
  • Making Of (English)
  • Featurette
  • Teaser
  • Trailer
  • US-TV-Spots

Final Thoughts

Judge Dredd will not win awards for excellence in acting or story, but it wins awards (in the mind) for technical achievements and fun factor.  Fifteen years after sitting in that darkened theater hall with my family it feels great to sit with them today to watch this amazing Blu-ray.  Judge Dredd is worth tracking down on Blu-ray.  “I am the law!”


Gerard Iribe is a writer/reviewer for Why So Blu?. He has also reviewed for other sites like DVD Talk, Project-Blu, and CHUD, but Why So Blu? is where the heart is. You can follow his incoherency on Twitter: @giribe

1 Response to “Judge Dredd (Blu-ray Review German Import)”

  1. Brian White

    I will need to revisit this film one day. Huge Stallone fan, here! Great review Gerard!