The year is AD 2139. Planet Earth has been transformed into a poisonous, scorched desert known as "The Cursed Earth" with the world's population crowded into "Mega Cities". Crime becomes so violent and powerful that the justice system could not control nor contain it. Law as we knew it, collapsed. From the decay, rose a new order, a new style of justice enforcers. They were the police, jury and executioner all in one. They were "The Judges".
The movie did not do well. Three major "crimes" were committed in the making of this movie: ONE - Dredd's face was shown. In the comic, he very rarely removes his helmet and even then, his real face is never revealed; TWO - the writers largely omitted the ironic humour of the comic strip; and THREE - important aspects of the 'Dredd mythology' was ignored; for example Dredd and Judge Hershey (played by the young and hot Diane Lane) developed a relationship which is strictly forbidden between Judges (or Judges and anyone else for that matter). You have been judged and the sentence is ... Forgettable!!
Medicom released this 1/6 scale 12-inch RAH (Real Action Hero) movie version Judge Dredd way back in 1995 (covered in an earlier post here). This was my very FIRST Medicom figure and I still like it today as much as I did when I picked him up some 14 years ago. This time I think it deserves more attention.
The helmet is covering Sylvester Stallone's face but you can still tell it's him from the lips and chin. The movie makes people wait for the moment when Judge Dredd appears on screen. When he arrives in the middle of the riot, he not only deals with the situation, he overshadows the ordinary Judges Hershey and Brisco.
Judge Dredd's badge. Every strap and buckle on Dredd's costume was endlessly discussed and revised as it was not possible to physically represent nor render the 2D character's costume into 3D realization. The huge front zipper and chain were omitted in the first draft design.
The Judge's belt with pouches. The belt in the comic is just a series of pouches, very much like Batman's utility belt so that was changed as well.
Knee pads and boots. In the comic the holster for his gun is actually on the side of his boot. That would mean that if Judge Dredd ever had to run, he could lose his gun with the first step he took; plus he would have to reach down real low to retrieve his gun in any hostile situation. Not very practical. Ankle holsters are usually for hiding pistols which are small to begin with, not for holding the big a$$ guns the Judges carry.
A tight angle shot showing the redesigned costume/uniform of the Judges. In the comic his gauntlets and boots were drab olive green. This was fine as a comic character but wouldn't have translated well on screen, just as Wolverine doesn't go around in his bright yellow and blue spandex costume in the X-Men movies.
Another angle of Judge Dredd's helmet showing Sylvester Stallone's distinct lips and chin. The helmet is the most striking feature of the Dredd costume in the comic and Danny Cannon wanted the visor to come down just as far as Dredd's nose, so that his mouth and chin were visible and instantly recognizable as Sylvester Stallone. The brief was to make it aloof and menacing.
As Costume Designer Emma Porteous said,"You can't physically balance an eagle on one shoulder and a football pad on the other without any visible means of support at all. You can do anything in a drawing but you can't actually physically do it in the real world."
Unfortunately, Medicom didn't design a body similar to Stallone's bulky built which looked imposing in the costume/uniform. This side view shows how scrawny the figure looks.
The costume was structured onto a piece of armor to make it look tough and like it has a purpose. It also retained the eagle on the shoulder, which became the motif for the Law in the movie.
The movie prop version of the Lawgiver, a Judge's gun which allowed him to act as police, jury and executioner in the name of the Law. The gun in the comic looks a lot like a 1950s ray-gun which was replaced with a more realistic looking weapon. In the end, they settled for the 9mm Beretta pistol which was then modified to look futuristic.
Medicom's 1/6 scale version of the Lawgiver, which was able to fire different types of ammunition and operate through voice control. That and the DNA coding which allows only Judges to use the weapons and registers which Judge had fired it.
The eagle on the right shoulder posed a few design problems. If it was unwieldly, it would knock a person's head off every time he lifted his arm so they had to articulate the feathers so when the arm was raised or moved, the feathers would spread out to allow free movement.
The moment Judge Dredd removed his helmet and revealed his face, the movie went downhill from there - SIGH!
Medicom's head sculpt of Sylvester Stallone as Judge Joseph Dredd, probably the first 1/6 realization of Stallone
Not as accurate as some of the head sculpts that have since appeared but the resemblance is still there. I've posted entries of Stallone as John James Rambo in "First Blood (1982)" (link here) and "First Blood Part 2 (1985)" (link here)
Judge Dredd is missing his ride, the Lawmaster and another cool 1/6 figure from the movie would have been the ABC robot (Hammerstein of the ABC Warriors, also from the 2000 AD comic)
Judge Dredd was upstaged by "RoboCop" (see link here for Hot Toys 1/6 version of RoboCop) which was released in 1987 and had many similarities with Judge Dredd such as a helmet that covers the face, exposing only the lips, a big a$$ed gun and a cop that takes the law into his own hands in a very bleak future where lawlessness reigns.