It was a dark day for fans of the Judge Dredd character and universe when Sly Stallone’s misguided 1995 action flick of the same name arrived in theaters. Stallone and director Danny Cannon’s interpretation of the character was a massive failure on both a critical and commercial level, receiving terrible reviews, and coming up short of profitability at the box office.
Then, in 2012, director Pete Travis, writer Alex Garland, and star Karl Urban teamed up to deliver fans the exact movie they had wanted the first time around. Simply titled Dredd, this new adaptation stuck much, much closer to the original character and story from the comics, and was just as dark, harsh, and uncompromisingly brutal as the source material called for. Unfortunately, Dredd was a bomb in North American theaters, effectively crushing any hopes fans had for a rejuvenated film franchise.
In the years since Dredd’s release, the film has steadily nurtured a growing cult fanbase, with more and more viewers discovering the film via DVD, Blu-Ray and Netflix streaming. Unfortunately, Lionsgate still seems to have zero interest in making a theatrical Dredd sequel. That’s where producer Adi Shankar comes in. Earlier this month, Shankar made an out of the blue announcement that an animated Dredd sequel/spin-off series was headed to the web, and would serve to tell the tale of the Dark Judges, a marauding group of demented undead lawmen out to rid the world of any “criminals” they saw fit.
True to his word, Shankar has released the entire six-part Judge Dredd: Superfiend miniseries to his Youtube channel as of today. The intro and first three chapters are embedded here for your viewing pleasure, while chapters four, five, and six are linked in this very sentence. The role of primary antagonist in the series is of course filled by Dredd’s arch-nemesis Judge Death, the crazed leader of the Dark Judges.
This mark’s Judge Death’s first appearance in a Judge Dredd screen adaptation, although the character did play a prominent role in the mostly forgettable 2005 PC shooter game Judge Dredd: Dredd vs Death.
This not being a review, the plot of Judge Dredd: Superfiend won’t be spoiled for any Dredd fans that have yet to watch it. That said, this miniseries seems to have been created entirely to reward fans for their devotion, and has been secretly in development for quite some time. It’s hard to imagine that Shankar would go to all this trouble just to create a sub par product.
Of course, this is an adaptation of a popular comic book, and will thus almost certainly fail to please everyone. If nothing else, Dredd fans can hope that the renewed interest in the franchise that this web venture has generated might just lead to the world finally getting a proper sequel film.
Judge Dredd: Superfiend is now available for free on Youtube.