Fringe – the finale and final thoughts

A couple of weeks ago the two hour finale of the J. J. Abrams produced TV series Fringe aired.  It has taken a little while for me to get to it, but I finally had some free time to give the show’s conclusion a whirl.

Going into the show’s concluding two hours, my expectations were modest.  This season of Fringe, already reduced to a mere 13 episodes and touted before it aired as the final one, offered the hope of a good wrap up.  However, the final season’s overarching story line hadn’t grabbed me as much as I hoped.

But allow me to backtrack just a little.  I’ve enjoyed the series through most of its five year run, even though there were things about it that bothered me.  Fringe’s first season, for example, made note that the Fringe division’s overall focus was on checking up on and stopping instances of high tech “terrorism”.  Yet the show quickly became a thin variation (those less charitable might call it a rip-off) of The X-Files.

By the start of the second season, the show morphed.  Future seasons presented more than a little comic book influenced story lines, including alternate universes and strange Observers, as well as added mythology around Peter and Walter Bishop and the later’s relationship with/to Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv), the show’s protagonist.  As entertaining as it often was, it quickly dawned on me that the writers had no real overall plan for this show and the shifts in themes and tone suggested very strongly they were making things up as they went along.  How else to explain our protagonist Olivia Dunham having a sister with a daughter and a dangerous/abusive ex-husband…a plot point that was dropped on us as something we would see more of and then promptly forgotten and never mentioned again after a while?  If memory serves, we never saw the dangerous ex-husband and I believe there might have been some dialogue at one point saying she and her daughter had moved away and that was that.

And what about Nina Sharp’s (Blair Brown) robotic arm, something also presented early on in the series and then, essentially, not dealt with again?  When this revelation was first made, I wondered if the show’s writers would ultimately reveal that the character was ALL robot, some kind of strange experiment Walter might (or might not) have been privy to.  Alas, it amounted to nothing.

Still, despite all this, I hung around and watched.  Why?  Because the show’s five main characters, Olivia Dunham, Peter and Walter Bishop (Joshua Jackson and John Noble), Astrid (Jasika Nicole) and Agent Broyles (Lance Reddick) formed a fascinating dynamic.  They were compelling characters that smoothed over whatever doubts I had about the stories and their inconsistencies.

Besides, can you really complain about a show that features, perhaps, the last acting work of Leonard Nimoy (following his work on the show, he stated he was retiring from acting)?

Unfortunately, when the fifth and final season arrived and the episodes began airing, the show had once again shifted into a new, more radical direction.  We were in a near future Earth where the Observers were in control and humanity was being subjugated.  The Fringe division was history and our heroes (now down to essentially Olivia, Peter and Walter Bishop, and Astrid) embarked on a search for mysterious items that would end the Observer’s reign.

While there was certainly potential in this, I found the season surprisingly lifeless.  Early on we’re introduced to a young adult Henrietta Bishop (Georgina Haig), the daughter of Olivia Dunham and Peter Bishop, but her character is dispatched so quickly that I had no chance to form any sort of relationship with her as a viewer and therefore felt no terrible sadness when she was gone.

Even worse, the character of Olivia Dunham, THE main character of the show, was presented throughout the season in a surprisingly muted way.  For the most part she seemed to be on the (ahem) fringes of the main stories, often contributing very little in terms of dialogue and action, following the crowd but never really leading them.

But…would all those sins be wiped away with the show’s two hour finale?  Would we get a good resolution?

Unfortunately, to me it was a little more of the same.

Yes, Olivia Dunham did get to do more this time around.  However, the story as presented didn’t really get my blood pumping.  As I suspected months ago, the show would ultimately “reset” time in some way and render everything we’ve witnessed in this season moot.  Don’t believe me?  This is what I wrote back in October 31st, 2012 after the fourth episode of the season aired, the one featuring Henrietta Bishop’s death (you can read the full post here):

Worse, I suspect her (Henrietta Bishop’s) death will only be temporary and lead to the show’s ultimate conclusion/happy ending:  Somehow, Walter Bishop will undo the damage wrought by the Observers and “reset” time.  Thus, that day in the park that Peter, Olivia, and the infant Henrietta will play out once again in the closing minutes of the show’s final episode, only without the Observers’ invasion.

And we’ll see Henrietta grown once again, thinking back to that childhood, perhaps along with the older Peter and Olivia as they bury Walter and think back to the beautiful life they had together.

Pretty prescient, eh?  Well, other than that little bit at the very end about seeing the grown Henrietta again.  Naturally, I prefer my prediction to what actually aired, ie the picture of the orchid.

I guess if anything my observation/guesswork revealed that the show’s eventual conclusion had become something obvious to me and, therefore, I was just waiting for everything to wrap up.  Thirteen episodes, thus, were perhaps seven to nine too many.

Looking back, perhaps Fringe’s final season should have been a mini-series consisting of four or five hours worth of material.  Instead of an adult Henrietta, we could have witnessed the death of the young Henrietta in the park, and the subsequent reactions of the protagonists to this tragic loss and their determination to defeat the Observers.  A streamlined plot and a sharper story might have made for a better conclusion, especially with those closing scenes as presented.

Ah well, despite its flaws, there was fun to be had along the way.  While I’m bothered by its flaws, I don’t regret the time spent following Fringe from start to end.  It may not have been my favorite sci-fi show, but it was far, far from the worse.

The Bourne Legacy (2012) a (mildly) belated review

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before:  Operatives within a top secret government agency are suddenly being killed off.  The heads of the secret government agency, it turns out, are destroying all evidence (human included) of the existence of said operation.  But one (or more) of the agents in that secret agency survive the initial massacre and take on their bosses, all the while watching out for more assassins coming after them…

Despite much to recommend the movie and partly because of the above, The Bourne Legacy falls short of what one hoped it would achieve.  The original Bourne movie legacy featured Matt Damon as Jason Bourne, an (initially) amnesiac agent who has to figure out his role in a cloudy government conspiracy.  The films were high energy and featured intriguing twists and turns and, while Matt Damon himself noted (If memory serves!) after the third movie that each film was essentially remaking the first film again and again, these films nonetheless delivered.

When I first heard of The Bourne Legacy, I wasn’t put off by the fact that Matt Damon wasn’t returning to the franchise.  I like Jeremy Renner and Rachel Weisz, the protagonists of this film and hoped for the best.  I did my best to stay away from all spoilers and, over the weekend, finally had a chance to catch the film on DVD.

As mentioned before, there is much to recommend the film.  For the most part it is entertaining enough to keep you going and never does get dull.  The action sequences were clearly designed to emulate those found in the previous Bourne films and, for the most part, delivered.


As I mentioned in the opening paragraph, this film sure had a very familiar plot.  Even worse, despite a long run time (the movie clocks in at two hours and fifteen minutes in length!), we finish off roughly where we started, with no serious closure and, most astonishingly of all, without the hero and villain ever having confronted each other.

To put things bluntly:  By the film’s conclusion The Bourne Legacy didn’t so much feel like a complete piece of entertainment so much as the opening chapter of a new series.  We’re left with so much unresolved that you can’t help but wonder what the point of this exercise was.

Look, I know that if successful, films inevitably get sequels, and the entire Bourne film series has been nothing if not successful.  However, even if you’re already thinking about a new franchise with a new star (or, perhaps, a future Bourne film featuring both Mr. Renner and Mr. Damon), the least you can do with the product in hand is deliver something that stands on its own.  In the case of The Bourne Legacy, once the film was over you realized that despite all the gobblygook concerning enhanced abilities via meds and shady government departments, it was all window dressing meant to kill time before getting to the next action sequence.  And by the time all that was over, we still have the villains in place and the hero on the run.  Pretty much the way the film started.

Despite this, I was entertained enough with The Bourne Legacy to give it a mild recommendation.  If you can shift your brain to neutral and ignore the lazy plot/story, you’ll have a decent enough time.  Otherwise, beware.

12 Actors Who Almost Had That Part

Another fascinating article, this one from Huffington Post and written by Treye Green, focusing on one of the more intriguing things about well-known films:  Actors who were almost given a very famous role that went to someone else:

One of the more famous ones mentioned in this article is Tom Selleck for the role of Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark.  According to the article, George Lucas wanted Selleck and Steven Spielberg wanted Harrison Ford.  I’ve heard that there was a little more involved than just that.  At the time, Tom Selleck was under contract for his hit TV series Magnum P.I. and the show’s schedule and his inability to take time off from filming it was ultimately the reason Mr. Selleck couldn’t do Raiders.  I suspect the only thing that remains of Mr. Selleck’s involvement in the role is this screen test for the role along with Sean Young in the Marion role:

My all time favorite “could have been” (and which was not listed in this article) has to be the role of Dirty Harry.  Originally, the role was intended to be for Frank Sinatra but he apparently turned it down because, among other things, an old hand injury made it difficult for him to wield the large handgun the character used.  The role then was offered to, among others, John Wayne, Robert Mitchum, and Burt Lancaster before settling on Clint Eastwood.

The rest, as they say, is history.  Ah, but what might have been!


This and that…

A couple of fascinating articles I ran across, one from (not to be confused with and the other from (not to be confused with

The first article is by Andrew Leonard and can be found on  It concerns the new 3D printing technology and the fact that it might render any gun control legislation moot:

Absolutely loved the article and, moving past the implications of 3D printing regarding gun control, one begins to wonder about what other things the future of 3D printing might impact as well.  Will there come a time, for example, when 3D printing technology will become so advanced (ie able to make items made of metal) that one might be able, for example, to create a new sink for one’s house?  A hose?  A TV set?  If all we need are the raw materials and a program/schematic to print what we want, what effect will this have on industry?  Like MP3s, will there be websites containing downloadable schematics for just about everything we need?  And, returning to the weapon debate, will we be able to “make” our own rocket launcher?

Or perhaps there will come a time when there will be 3D printer “stores” with really big 3D printers within and one could show up with a schematic for your favorite car and, within the day, they might be able to “print” you all the parts to assemble the car on your own at home.

Again, where does this technology leave industry?  And employment?

The second article can be found on and is by Mark O’Connell.  It concerns the writing of one Amanda McKittrick Ros, whom many peers (and, apparently, modern readers as well) consider one of the worst writers ever.  A very amusing article:

Reading about Ms. Ros made me think of what is possibly her counterpart in the movie business, the notorious Ed Wood.  I loved this line by Mr. O’Connell which describes the level of “badness” of Ms. Ros’ work:

Ros’ writing is not just bad, in other words; its badness is so potent that it seems to undermine the very idea of literature, to expose the whole endeavor of making art out of language as essentially and irredeemably fraudulent—and, even worse, silly.

Oh my…

Script reveals lost ending of The Shining

Check out the absolutely fascinating article by Forrest Wickman on Slate Magazine:

One of the first times I realized that classic movies may have “lost” or “alternate” scenes (my younger -more naive!- mind, I suppose, probably thought classic films were created “as is”!) was back in 1984 while watching, for the first time, Giorgio Moroder’s take/restoration of Metropolis.  The opening credits, in fact, noted that the full film was some forty minutes longer when it premiered, and that those scenes were likely lost forever (it turned out they weren’t, but that’s another story for another time).

Regardless, my imagination -and interest- in what may still exist out there regarding “classic” films was piqued.  I learned of about many films that featured alternate ideas discarded in the editing or, perhaps, were “toned down” for images that were too sexual or violent.  One of the more fascinating “lost” sequences, to my mind, was giant spider pit from the original King Kong.

Fast forward to…yesterday, when found this article concerning the “lost” or rather “alternate” ending of Stanley Kubrick’s magnificent 1980 film The Shining.  I had heard about this previously (the changes to the ending were done by Mr. Kubrick after press screenings of the film but just before general release) yet was fascinated by the article nonetheless.  The link above gives you the full article and I highly recommend you check it out.  However, in the interests of brevity, let me cut and paste what was written regarding the film’s “original” ending:

After we leave Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) frozen in the hedge maze, we cut to a hospital where Overlook manager Stuart Ullman (Barry Nelson) is visiting a recovering Wendy Torrance (Shelley Duvall) along with her son Danny (Danny Lloyd). After some pleasantries that are oddly casual for those recovering from an axe murder, Ullman tells Wendy that investigators searching the hotel “didn’t find the slightest evidence of anything at all out of the ordinary,” and that, amid the trauma, she must have simply been hallucinating. After inviting Wendy and Danny to leave to come stay with him in Los Angeles, he begins to leave, but remembers that he forgot to give something to Danny, and throws him a yellow ball.

Basically, what this ending suggests is that the Hotel Manager was a part of the events experienced by Torrances.  I think its an interesting element to add to the film but by grounding it that way it somehow, to my mind, diminishes the conclusion.  Why?  Because what we have in The Shining now is a film that can be interpreted in many ways.

For example, one could posit than the obvious ghost story presented in the film is mere symbolism, and that what the various characters witness/experience is them succumbing to a nervous breakdown.  Clearly Jack is the one who goes completely over the edge, but there is the possibility that his son and, later, Wendy may be reaching their mental breaking points as well versus seeing “ghosts”.

The “cut” ending, however, throws that possibility out completely and ties us down to the certainty that the Torrances were indeed haunted by the ghosts of the Hotel and that, further, the manager knows about them.  He set the Torrances up.  He knew what they would go through.  He’s…evil.

While I think that’s all good and well and I can understand people preferring such an ending, I happen to like the more ambiguous ending as presented in the theatrical release.

Regardless of all that, I’d absolutely love to see the alternative/cut ending.  Perhaps one day…

Who will save the Roman ruins?

Fascinating article from Time magazine regarding the effects of austerity on the preservation of ancient Roman ruins:

While it seems obvious that one would want to preserve ancient historical ruins to the best of one’s (or one’s nation’s) ability, the fact of the matter is that preserving ancient historical items requires money and, in these times of austerity and economic slow down, using government funds to preserve ancient ruins becomes a tricky issue.  Particularly if your country, Italy, happens to be filled with ancient -and who knows how many yet to be discovered!- ancient ruins.

Here in South Florida, the closest we have to “ancient” material worth preserving are homes and buildings from the early 20th Century.  Hardly “old” considering the material discussed in Italy.  However, what little we have here does have its charm and specific architectural characteristics.  But most of the buildings deemed “historic” are still in use and most often taken care of by the buildings’ owners.  Over time, many others have been bulldozed away and exist only in old photographs and memories.

So I feel for Italy.  This is a country that is rich in history and marvelous ancient structures. It’s a pity that the reality of modern economic times forces tough decisions regarding the proper care of said items.

Tower Heist (2011) a (mildly) belated review

Many years ago there appeared an interesting sub-genre of the crime film that focused on “heists”.  The idea was to show a group of people plan and then execute some kind of large scale robbery and then follow those individuals after the robbery.  In the more “grim” films of the genre, we inevitably see how things unwind and how the criminals eventually get caught and/or killed.  Examples of those films include The Asphalt Jungle, The Killing, and The Anderson Tapes.  However, “lighter” takes on the heist film also started to appear, most notably the original Ocean’s 11 and the recent George Clooney/Brad Pitt remakes.

The lighter side of a heist film is again presented in 2011’s Tower Heist, a film starring, among others, Ben Stiller, Eddie Murphy, Casey Affleck, Matthew Broderick, and Alan Alda.  Directed by Brett Ratner, the film is light and breezy and if you think about certain things too hard it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense (just how much weight can those elevators carry and just how far up do they go?).  Nonetheless, Tower Heist is entertaining although, perhaps, ultimately forgettable.

The best thing about the film, in my opinion, is Alan Alda’s Arthur Shaw, the villain of the piece.  As presented at the start of the film, Mr. Shaw’s a nice guy who our actual protagonist, Ben Stiller’s Josh Kovaks, likes and is very friendly with, to the point of playing chess with him over the internet.  In the course time, however, Shaw’s arrogance and villainy are revealed, and while the movie never gets too “dark” in that respect, I found this slow reveal the best part of the film.

Now, for the elephant in the room:  I know there are those who despise director Brett Ratner and, given some of the comments he’s made in interviews, I can’t entirely blame them.  For what its worth, for about a nano-second back when he was in high school I knew, via my sister, Mr. Ratner.  He came over to our house once or twice to hang out and seemed like a nice enough guy.  Back then.  Whether this makes my opinion of his work suspect is for you to decide when I say:  His direction in Tower Heist is quite good.  He keeps things moving and gets the most from his stars.  The movie’s greatest flaw, as mentioned above, relates to some of the more…unbelievable…things that happen toward the movie’s climax.

Regardless, Tower Heist is an entertaining enough way to spend a couple of hours, should you be in the mood for a comic heist film.

Batmobile sells for $4.6 million…

…and the price doesn’t surprise me all that much:

Just thinking about the most famous (and recognizable) movie and TV automobiles ever created, is it possible that the 1960’s Batmobile lies atop that list?  To my mind, it most certainly does…

What others might be “up there” in terms of fame?  Off the top of my head, I can think of only one vehicle that approaches the level of recognition of the Batmobile:  James Bond’s Aston Martin from Goldfinger and, more recently, Skyfall

For "Skyfall," Daniel Craig's Bond dusts off the DB5 once again. "We've used different cars from time to time but we always do come back to the Aston Martin," producer Michael G. Wilson says.

…and after those two cars, what else do we have?  Doing a simple Google search of “famous movie cars images” reveals a plethora of other cars.  Here are some of my favorites:

The 1968 Ford Mustang from Bullitt.  In my humble opinion Bullitt is actor Steve McQueen’s all time best film and the car chase he has against a pair of hitmen remains one of the best car chases ever committed to film.  Love, love, love his Mustang…

The 1977 Trans Am from Smokey and the Bandit.  Always loved this 70’s era muscle car.

Back to the Future’s time traveling Delorean.  Another really cool vehicle!

I loved the Mad Max “Interceptor”, a 1973 Ford XB Falcon Coupe, from both Mad Max and The Road Warrior (aka Mad Max 2)…

Finally, a bit of whimsy.  Who isn’t familiar with Scooby Doo and the Mystery Machine?

Of course, there are a ton of other vehicles out there that people could mention, from the General Lee to the Ghostbuster’s ambulance to the Herbie bug to you name it.  I still maintain, however, that the Batmobile from the 1960’s TV show is the most famous of the lot.  Your opinions, of course, may vary.

Now, a personal anecdote…Years ago, most likely in the late 1980’s or very early 1990’s and while driving along a highway, I happened to notice a very beautiful black Trans Am in front of and on the lane to the right of me.  The car, from the rear, looked like an exact duplicate of what appeared to be the K.I.T.T. vehicle from the recently (at that time) defunct TV show The Knight Rider.

Something about seeing the car from the rear raised my curiosity and I sped up a little and was soon alongside it.  There was only one person in the car and he (not David Hasselhoff) was a fairly young guy, perhaps in his thirties, who sported shockingly white spiked bleached blond hair.  Astonishingly, he lay very, very relaxed in the driver’s chair with both arms behind his head!

Yes, the man was making it look like the car alone was doing the driving!

Needless to say, I was stunned by this and simply had to see what lay in the front of the car.  So I sped up a little more and, once in front of the Trans Am, gazed into the rear view mirror and, lo and behold, the Trans Am had the same red scanner lights rigged up on its front as the K.I.T.T. car had in the TV show.

I drove on, never figuring out what exactly that was about, but guessed that perhaps the owner of the car was either leaving from or going to a car show (again, The Knight Rider had been cancelled a few years before so even if this vehicle was one of the originals from it they most certainly weren’t doing any filming) and had rigged the vehicle to operate solely with the use of his feet/legs.

Regardless, it was a weird, weird experience!

It was only a matter of time…

A “bookless” library is about to open in San Antonio, the first such library of its kind:

When the first e-readers and tablets appeared, like many I wasn’t certain they could take over for “real” books and magazines.  In the time since then, that thought has been turned around completely in my mind.

The first obvious sign of the changing of the times was seeing my own decreased interest in a) reading a newspaper (I could get most of the information I desired either from TV or from the internet) and b) losing interest in going to bookstores, something that I would religiously do every few days in the pre-tablet/e-book era.

The rise of the tablets and e-books (and is a classic case of building a better mousetrap.  Before you drove out to a bookstore and maybe found something that interested you to read.  Now, you just go online from the comfort of your own home and in seconds you could buy and download something that interests you and be reading it.  All in the time it would normally take you to just drive to your local bookstore.

In a related note, this semester my kids are being given laptops to use in class and the actual (very heavy) textbooks appear to be on their way out.  I suspect the next generations of students will increasingly use less and less of these heavy textbooks and instead will rely more and more on laptops/tablets to disseminate knowledge.  Again, I view this as a positive.


There is something undeniably sad about the fact that we may be slowly moving into an era where physical books may be relegated to memory.  Reality, however, is reality.

My own personal ratio of “physical” novels sold versus “e-books” points out that the sale of e-books vastly outnumbers the sale of actual books.  In part, its price:  A “physical” book costs more to make and, hence, sell.  You’re getting a far better bargain downloading the e-book version.  Plus there is that advantage I pointed to above regarding how quickly you can get your hands on it.

So we move along, slowly discarding old technologies for (hopefully) better new ones.  I still love physical books, but let’s face it…their time may have finally come.

Dredd (2012) a (mildly) belated review

While there have likely been thousands upon thousands of comic book characters created since approximately 1980 and thereabouts, it is my belief that only two of them have thus far stood the test of time.  Sure, there are many creations that have achieved a great deal of fame and public notice.  At one point The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, The Crow, Tank Girl, Barb Wire, and Spawn were incredibly popular characters.  So popular that they all had subsequent movie adaptations, though the success of said films varied wildly.

As the years passed, however, so too did these characters’ popularity.  While it certainly can be argued that The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles remain well known, I suspect the other characters may not be as familiar to the general public as they used to be.  So…of the thousands of characters created in the comic book format, which two do I personally feel have thus far stood the test of time?  One would be Hellboy.  The other is Judge Dredd.

To me, Judge Dredd remains an incredible creation:  A fascistic cop in a post-apocalyptic world whose face is always hidden behind his bullet shaped helmet.  He patrols the enormous streets of Mega City 1, almost all that is left of civilization and which takes up most of what’s left of the east coast of the United States.  The densely populated city overflows with criminal activity, and it is Judge Dredd who, along with the other Judges, patrols this city and serves as the proverbial “judge, jury, and executioner” to any crimes he may witness and/or investigate.  While the above description may suggest a grim tone to the comic book, the early stories (ie the ones I’m most familiar with) featured a hilariously tongue in cheek attitude.  While there was plenty of violence and action, what the series from the many other “grim and gritty” books out there was the fact that there was such a very healthy dose of humor present in almost every story.

In fact, one of my favorite bits from all the Judge Dredd comic books I’ve read involves a relatively small sequence wherein the good Judge saves a man who is has jumped from a building in an attempt to commit suicide.  As the man is falling, Dredd yells at him that “Public Littering” is a crime.  Once safely in Dredd’s hands and then on the ground, Judge Dredd sentences the distraught man to 90 days in prison for being a “Public Nuisance”!

In 1995 Sylvester Stallone starred in the first film version of Judge Dredd.  While the movie captured the visual “look” of Judge Dredd quite well, the movie itself was a huge disappointment.  Comic book fans were incensed that within ten minutes of screen time Judge Dredd takes off his helmet and remains helmet-less throughout the bulk of the film.  A very ill advised comic sidekick and a lack of a focused (or interesting) story line didn’t help matters either.  The film was a flop.  The years passed and the comic continued appearing.

And then, this past year and some seventeen years later, audiences were treated to a second film version of the good Judge, this one simply titled Dredd.  This time around, the makers of the film treated the character with more reverence and appeared to be more keen on following the comic book.  Karl Urban, who takes on the role of Judge Dredd, manages to keep his helmet on throughout most of the proceedings (you do catch a very shadowy view of the helmet-less Dredd at the start of the film but never see his actual face).

And while the Judges’ costumes are simplified a bit, the movie does use characters and situations from the comic in the telling of this new story.  Sounded pretty good, right?  Well, it is…for the most part.  Unfortunately, that sense of humor I found so unique in the Dredd stories I was familiar with is almost no where to be found in this film.

In fact Dredd is a “grim and gritty” action film, period.  Yes, there are some humorous bits littered here and there, but this film was primarily crafted as a “R” rated violent affair.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

The plot of the film is quite simple:  Judge Dredd is asked to watch over a potential Judge by the name of Anderson (Olivia Thirlby, who is quite terrific) for a day and see if despite failing the initiation test -by a whole 3 points- she might still be Judge material.  Why?  Because like the comic book character, Anderson is a psychic and the head Judges are intrigued with having someone on the force with genuine psychic ability.

The movie then moves to the main plot:  In one of Mega City 1’s massive high rises, the drug dealing Ma-Ma (Lena Headey) has ordered the deaths of three rival drug dealers as a message to her rivals.  Judge Dredd and the rookie Anderson come to the high rise to investigate and manage to capture the man who actually killed the three rivals to Ma-Ma.  The fact that he’s captured alive and can thus become an informant against Ma-Ma’s drug empire forces her to act.  She seals off the building before the Judges and their prisoner can get out and sets her men after them.

From there, all hell breaks loose.

Yes, the plot is similar to 2011;s The Raid: Redemption.  But I believe both films owe a large debt to John Carpenter’s terrific 1976 film Assault on Precinct 13.

So, bottom line:  Is this film worth watching?  Yes, I would certainly recommend it.  However, if you’re like me and were looking to see crazy humor mixed in with the action, tone that particular expectation down.  Otherwise, sit back and enjoy the ride.