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Ma-Ma's not the law... I'm the law
~ Judge Dredd's most infamous line.
America is an irradiated wasteland. Within it lies a city. Outside the boundary walls, a desert. A cursed earth. Inside the walls, a cursed city, stretching from Boston to Washington D.C. An unbroken concrete landscape. 800 million people living in the ruin of the old world and the mega structures of the new one. Mega blocks. Mega highways. Mega City One. Convulsing. Choking. Breaking under its own weight. Citizens in fear of the street. The gun. The gang. Only one thing fighting for order in the chaos: the men and women of the Hall of Justice. Juries. Executioners. Judges.
~ Judge Dredd in Dredd 3D.

Judge Dredd is a renown, feared Street Judge in Mega-City One with the authority of judge, jury and executioner. He was portrayed by New Zealand actor Karl Urban in the 2012 film Dredd, also known as Dredd 3D, who also portrayed Skurge in Thor: Ragnarok, John "Reaper" Grimm in Doom in the 2005 film adaptation of the video game series Doom and Billy Butcher in Amazon series The Boys.

Character Biography

Judge Dredd is tasked by the Chief Judge with evaluating new rookie recruit Cassandra Anderson who is a powerful psychic. The pair investigate the Peachtree Block, a 200-story high slum tower, where drug lord Madeline Madrigal, also known as "Ma-Ma", had executed three rogue drug dealers by having them skinned, infused with the new drug Slo-Mo and thrown down the atrium from the 39th floor. Dredd and Anderson learn of a drug den, which they raid. They arrest a thug named Kay, whom Anderson's mind probe reveals to be the one who carried out the drug dealers' execution. Dredd decides to take him in for questioning. In response, Ma-Ma's seizes the tower's security control room by force and seal the building, using its blast shields under the pretense of a security test, preventing the Judges from leaving or summoning help.

Ma-Ma orders Dredd and Anderson killed, and the Judges fight their way through dozens of armed thugs. Arriving at the 76th floor, the Judges are assaulted by Ma-Ma and her men with miniguns that rip through the walls, killing numerous residents. By breaching a damaged outer wall, the Judges become able to call for backup. Meanwhile, Ma-Ma sends her henchman Caleb to confirm the Judges' deaths, but when they meet, Dredd throws Caleb off the tower in full view of Ma-Ma.

Dredd suspects Ma-Ma is desperate to keep Kay quiet and beats him for information. Anderson intervenes and uses her psychic abilities to read Kay's mind and learn that Peach Trees is the center of Slo-Mo production and distribution. Anderson suggests they hide while awaiting assistance but Dredd insists they move up the tower and pursue Ma-Ma. Judges Volt and Guthrie respond to Dredd's call, but Ma-Ma's clan techie denies them entry by persuading them the call is part of the security drill. A pair of armed teens confront Dredd and Anderson, allowing Kay to disarm Anderson and escape with her as hostage. He brings her to Ma-Ma's base on the top floor.

While Dredd works his way toward Ma-Ma, she bribes the corrupt Judges Lex, Alvarez, Chan and Kaplan to kill Dredd. Dredd encounters Chan and is suspicious that he does not ask about Anderson's status. Seeing his cover blown, Chan attacks Dredd, who kills him. Meanwhile, Kay tries to execute Anderson with her own weapon, but the pistol's DNA scanner does not recognize him and blows his arm off. Anderson escapes and later encounters Kaplan, whom she promptly kills after reading her mind. Elsewhere, Dredd kills Alvarez but runs out of ammunition, and Lex shoots him in the abdomen. Lex moves in to execute Dredd, but Dredd stalls him long enough for Anderson to arrive and kill Lex.

Karl urban as judge dredd2.jpg

Anderson and Dredd obtain the code to Ma-Ma's apartment from her hacker and confront her. Ma-Ma tells Dredd that in the case of her death, a device on her wrist will detonate explosives on the top floors, destroying the building. Dredd shoots her in the stomach anyway and grabs a dying Ma-Ma, holding her against a glass window where she grins mockingly at him, having accepted her fate. Dredd reasons that the detonator's signal will not reach the explosives from the ground floor and tells her that she is sentenced to death for homicide and narcotics distribution, spraying some Slo-Mo into her mouth.

He then asks her how she pleads and Ma-Ma responds by inhaling the drug, symbolically pleading guilty. He tells her that the defense was noted and throws her through the glass. She plummets down the atrium of the 200-story building and lands headfirst, crushing her head and killing her almost instantly. Dredd looks down at her corpse and says "Yeah...", pleased that the explosive detonator didn't have enough of a range to reach the top floor and that the sentence was carried out in the process.

In the aftermath, Anderson accepts that she has failed her evaluation by getting disarmed, and leaves. The Chief Judge asks Dredd about Anderson's performance; Dredd responds that she had in fact passed.


  • Karl Urban insisted on riding the Lawmaster motorcycle himself.
  • Unlike the previous film incarnation, Dredd never takes off his helmet.
  • Karl Urban's voice for Dredd is comparable to that of Clint Eastwood.