Judge Minty

***1/2

Reviewed by: Jennie Kermode

Somewhere in Mega City One, an ageing judge is about to quit.

The first thing that needs to be said about Judge Minty is that it looks stunning. Based on its panoramic opening shots and gritty urban action scenes, nobody would guess that this is a fan film made on a miniscule budget by an amateur team. Its confident, no-fuss use of CGI puts many recent blockbusters to shame and, perhaps more importantly, it has captured the look and feel of the comics in a way the likes of 1995's Judge Dredd could only dream of. The sets are full of tiny references that strengthen the backstory rather than just providing throwaway jokes for fans.

That backstory is important - this is very much a film for fans and newcomers will find parts of it confusing. It doesn't have a particularly strong or innovative central story but it's better than many of the comics and it hangs together well enough. Mood is the important thing here. Though the acting is occasionally shaky and the voice-over could do with some work, the direction and cinematography are strong enough to make this an immersive experience nonetheless. The costuming is particularly effective and manages to give renewed potency to some familiar horror tropes.

No longer up to shooting young people on a daily basis, with something bothering him that he can't quite place, Judge Minty is reluctant to resign himself to a desk job so chooses instead to take the long walk out into the radioactive wasteland beyond the city, there to deliver summary justice to outsiders. The outsiders aren't too happy about this, but stray judges are not the only danger they have to contend with and Minty will need more than a fast gun to see him through. Along the way he'll experience things that might prompt him to rethink the way people treat each other, but that's a line that can only be pursued so far - ultimately, like the comics, this is a western, and there's little in the way of hope. It seems appropriate that the title of the film should be a name, the first thing this man will lose in the process of reaffirming his identity.

Despite these interesting ideas, this isn't a film with great depth or emotional resonance. It may look like a blockbuster but it won't grip the average filmgoer as easily. It is, however, an excellent adaptation, and fans of the comics will love it.

Reviewed on: 07 May 2013
Share this with others on...
Judge Minty packshot
A Judge prepares for retirement in Mega City One - and for a new, still more dangerous life beyond it.

Director: Steven Sterlacchini

Writer: Michael Carroll, Steven Sterlacchini

Starring: Edmund Dehn, Greg Staples, Mark Watson, Peter Seddon, Domino Barbeau, Jared Butler, Fryda Wolff, Mark Engelhardt, Rocco Rosanio, Michael Mohrhardt, Jim Dorsey, Ben Woods, Matthew Banwell, Darren Beddows, Matt Beddows

Year: 2011

Runtime: 25 minutes

Country: UK

Festivals:

bootleg 2013

Search database:


If you like this, try:

Dredd