By THOMAS BOND
“Dredd 3D” is one of the best sci-fi actioners I’ve seen this side of the millennium. Karl Urban plays Judge Dredd, a ruff n’ tuff cop in a violent future where his employer, The Hall of Justice, dispatches judges to extract justice on the lawbreakers of Mega City One, a sprawling wasteland of concrete and crime from Boston to the Capitol. These judges have been given the power of judge, jury, and executioner, so you don’t cross them. On the day of the film, Dredd takes up a rookie cop (Olivia Thirlby) to train in the ways of 20xx law enforcement. As a bonus, she’s a psychic, which comes in handy in quite a few situations, of course. They answer a homicide call at a 200-story futuristic project, where the crime boss Ma-Ma (Lena Headey) has taken complete control. Afraid that the cops will edge in on her drug business (Slo-Mo, which makes the brain fell as if it’s experiencing life at 1% normal speed – this allows for some absolutely amazing sequences of slow-motion photography and violence), she hacks the building and locks them in, with one ultimatum over the loudspeaker: The doors won’t open til the cops are dead. And that’s the rest of the movie, a wonderfully action-packed wallop of stylistic violence and gore that understands it’s a high-end B-movie and revels in it. The dialogue is so gruff and packed with machismo that you’re guaranteed to grow chest hair by the film’s end. What pulls this film up to a higher notch is the care given to the look and gadgets of the players. The judges’ armor is incredibly intimidating, and their guns are a marvel that never stops surprising. The violence is intense and in-your-face (literally, if you see it in 3D, which I fully recommend, surprisingly), and the final result is a film that is so much fun you’ll forget that it doesn’t mean much when it’s over.