I went to see Dredd 3D way back in July but it has been unofficially embargoed until around its UK release. It has been out in the UK since last Friday and it hits the US this week. It has taken a long tome to bring Dredd back to the big screen since the Sly Stallone Judge Dredd, which was  released way back in 1995. Dredd 3D is a very different beast though: apparently it is the most expensive British independent film made to date with an estimated budget of $45m and guided by comics aficionado novelist Alex Garland (The Beach, 28 Days Later), it couldn’t be further away from a bloated Hollywood studio picture if it tried. Karl Urban plays the eponymous hero/ anti-hero, who is given a new rookie partner female Judge Anderson (Olivia Thirlby) to pass a final test on the mean streets of Mega City One, to see if she’s up to scratch. So Dredd and Anderson get embroiled in the shenanigans that are taking place in the drug-fuelled tower block controlled by former prostitute Ma-Ma (Lena (Game of Thrones) Headey). Dredd 3D is one of the most violent films released to a nominal mainstream audience and it certainly warrants its 18 certificate over here, as the viewer is unlikely to see this much viscera in any other wide release movie. It is refreshing that the take here is so different to Stallone’s Dredd, as the production team have utilised the South Africa settings, where it was shot, to fantastic effect, creating a Mega City One that has the feel of a contemporary metropolis taken to its ultimate conclusion and its brief running time means that you are introduced to Dredd’s world, he goes in and does his thing and they wrap up proceedings. Urban does look good as Dredd and the filmmakers have done a great job bringing the world of the Judges to life. But it is unremittingly nihilistic, the 3D doesn’t always work and Thirlby’s Anderson doesn’t have enough to do to gain the empathy of the audience, as Dredd is simply a force of nature and so impossible to empathise with. For all of its flaws, and its similarities to The Raid, it is heartening to see that Dredd 3D has hit the very top of the UK box office and there are positive noises that there will be a sequel. Garland and his fellow filmmakers have certainly wiped the bad taste of Sylvester Stallone from the mouths and minds of filmgoers and hopefully they will have their opportunity to correct some of the problems in a followup. If you’re a comics fan or a Dredd and 2000AD fan, then you need to see Dredd 3D.