Judge Minty, the Judge Dredd fan film.

Judge Minty Edmund Dehn
Judge Dredd Greg Staples
Director Steven Sterlacchini
Director of Photography and Digital Imagery Stephen Green
Prop and Costume Creator Daniel Carey-George of Custom Creations
Storyboards & Concepts Barry Renshaw
Written By Steven Sterlacchini & Michael Carroll, based on the work of John Wagner

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Why the new Dredd film costume rocks!

As immensely flattering as it is for the Judge costumes used in our fan film to be compared alongside those created for the official new Dredd film, we thought we'd take a moment to say why we think the uniforms created for the Karl Urban film are excellent.

When we were initially deciding the visual style of the Judge costumes for Minty (created by Daniel Carey-George), we also seriously considered contemporising the look of Dredd, by bringing his uniform more inline with current body armour technology and scaling down some of the more extravagant elements. We even bought numerous items of riot gear.

Eventually we decided that as our film was aimed soley at fans, we did not need to contend with the problems that an unusual costume would cause the viewer's 'will to suspend disbelief'. Because our audience were already well versed in the visual language of Dredd, we could try to emulate the comic book look more closely. We are extremely happy with the costumes Dan created.

Needless to say, if we had been trying to appeal to a larger general audience, we would have DEFINITELY chosen the same route as Alex Garland and could have only hoped to have created a costume as cool as Karl Urban's.

Also, although we have tried to make Judge Minty as gritty and dark as possible, it is still very much set in a fantasy world. As opposed to Alex Garland's Dredd which appears to have a much more hard hitting, real world feel, where Dredd's uniform needs to be instantly believable.

We are all very much looking forward to the new Dredd film and the more we see, the better it looks!

To explain in greater detail why we believe the new Dredd costume works, we will hand over to Minty cast member, John Burdis. The extract below is taken from an article published on "Everything comes back to 2000AD" in August of 2011.

Finally, having looked at the pictures in Empire and digested everything that I need from them I have decided to comment and Grud says, ‘it’s all good’.

Before I go any further I should add that I’m a massive Dredd fan, have a few minor parts in the upcoming Judge Minty fan film (also worn ‘that’ uniform) and I’m also ex forces. This will help you understand where I am coming from with the whole uniform. Also a bit of advice for anyone not knowledgeable with the Military and the wearing of uniforms, you get issued two types, work and parade. Many people try and slightly alter the works uniform just to make themselves look a little better and usually are met with the phrase “it’s not a F**KING fashion parade!” on inspection.

Above all these uniforms are NOT bespoke, you get the size or nearest size to your size, that’s life!

First up, the complete package! Helmet, badges, leathers, pads, Lawgiver and colour scheme, it’s all there and it looks like a real uniform that could be worn on the streets, to fight crime! Above all, that is what the uniform is for and so we don’t need to see the extremes of certain artists work up on the big screen.

Having not read the script (why would I want to spoil the surprise) but sadly not being able to escape the gist of the storyline, this uniform seems to be from the early stages of Mega City One (check the first appearance of Dredd in 2000AD). Because of this, it has to be practical, hard wearing, easy to wear and distinctive in a crowd.

Helmet – When issued these you would be issued a stock size for your head, this is taken from the circumference of your head and nothing else. It’s not made individually for your face and therefore some may not look right but they’re not there to be all nice and pretty. It’s there to protect primarily and secondly to help you stand out in a crowd to let the public see you, if they need your help. When that first picture came out, screams of its too big flooded the net. I knew it was mainly down to the angle of the picture and the bespoke point above.

Looking at the pic of four Judges in Empire on page 98, you can see this point. Lex has part of his cheeks in shadow and there is light between the bottom of the helmet and neck protector, so the helmet looks big. Alvarez looks spot on, his dark skin blends with the shadows and his neck protector is higher and goes up behind the back of the helmet, making it look smaller.

The Judge stood at the rear looks absolutely perfect. The smaller Judge, well I take you to my point about being issued your helmet. If the helmet is your size then unlucky that’s the one you will be issued!

One last thing about the helmet, the cross section that covers the nose. I know many people will say it hinders your ability to see properly. Well similar designs have been used through the ages, just look at the Greeks/Normans/Vikings/etc… It’s a tried and tested design!

Let’s compare it to the modern day and the wearing of a respirator, I had to be able to fast rope down from a chinook wearing it, move through corridors/rooms/stairwells, etc… I also had to be able use my primary and secondary weapons, with it’s restrictive view. Now how was I able to do that? Training is how but unlike the Judges I didn’t train for 15 years wearing it!

Leathers/Body Armour – Spot on with the hard wearing, contact parts being reinforced and the areas where you need to breathe being made more accomodating (around the crotch – look at the cover). You can also see tiny holes around the body armour, probably to help keep you cool by wicking moisture away from you. You have to make a stand between protection and comfort and protection will always come out on top!

Shoulder Pads – Perfect for what is needed. As has been said by many a fan, these are as close to the original version of the Judges uniform as we have seen in a long time, close fitting and protective! There are no snag points on these (an eagle, like in the comic would be a massive snag point), so you can shoulder barge your way through bodies and doorways without worrying about being slowed down. The eagle is embossed on the right hand shoulder, which is great and they are functional. They’ve even made them gold in colour, what more do you need! Some have mentioned the sloping shoulders, I take you to the point at the top, again!

Badges – The name badge reminds me of Stallone’s a little and I can live with that. It’s functional, flat (no hero badges here) and sunk into the chest armour (no snag points) so it’s another practical part of the uniform. Okay, there’s no chain but that’s a grab point for a perp in close quarter combat and is a big no-no. Just look at the amount of clip on ties that have to be worn in certain jobs nowadays because it’s a grab point enabling the wearer to be choked, similar stuff!

Elbow/Knee Pads – These look as though they are more than just the pads, with a sleeve protector added, to fit over the leather. They seem to have fastners at the top of the sleeve as well but I can’t be sure from the pictures. These would probably end up being damaged the most through everyday use in Mega City One, so it’s best that they can be slipped off and exchanged easily.

Boots – These look quite flexible for ease of movement while still providing enough protection on the streets. Notice there is no boot holster, do you really think that would work. The Lawgiver Mk I might have just about got away with it but there is no way the MK II would and especially the beast Urban is carrying in this.

Colour Scheme – This is spot on with the helmet, the black/blue of the leathers, gold shoulder pads and green boots, knee and elbow pads

For the complete version of this article, please click here.
Check out the official Dredd film website here.


  1. It's great to see people actually talking sense on the Internet! I'm really excited by everything I've seen and heard about the movie so far, September 7th can't come quick enough!

    Well done lads!

  2. The Dredd 3D film uniform is rather good as a modified version but the footage of the vehicles and streets look rather crap. Compared to what you and your team have done with the Judge Minty team, DNA Films' effort looks a tad embarrassing and lazy.

  3. I think what I'm most looking forward to is seeing a film with someone attempting to get across the unique character of Dredd. For me that was the main thing missing from the 95 film.

    Although I love the highly original 'future crime' settings in the Dredd comics, it is the strengths, weaknesses and contradictions of the character that I find the most intriguing.

    To produce a film that also encompassing the extraordinary futuristic world in which the comic book Dredd exists would no doubt have meant creating a film that was heavily CGI influenced. Although this can be highly effective and often very dramatic, it can't help but effect the realism of a film?

  4. It's often hard for fans to understand why it's deemed necessary for people to -tinker- with the way a character is portrayed when they're transferred to another medium, especially when the character is so successful in their native format. These 'enhancements' are not usually restricted to visual aspects of the character either. While it's true that certain features may seem dated or naive to a wider audience or may be unsuited to a particular medium, mostly changes are unnecessary and trivial.

    Why do people do it? it's about -ownership-, people want to put their stamp on a project. It enhances their prestige and if they can attach their intellectual property to a project it enhances their wallets too.

  5. I personally don't think the character of Dredd is that important. Surely he's a simple pastiche of Dirty Harry. The strength of the comics (well, back in the 1980s when I read them) were the deliberately outlandish plots and characters - Otto Sump, the Angel Gang, etc. The Stallone one tried to make Dredd a character and failed. I don't get too excited by talk of realism either - Dredd's roots are satirical, influenced by Thatcherism and Reaganism and firmly tongue in cheap. If you play Dredd straight then you have the problem that he's a complete bastard.

    I'm sure the film will be good and Urban looks great in the costume but surely if any film should be full of CGI then it should be Dredd. District 9 is a fantastic film but I hope Mega City One doesn't look too much like J-burg. Dredd comes from a kids' comic book and I'd like some of that excess and good old fashioned fun to stay in the mix.

  6. Personally I would disagree regards Dredd's character not being important. I think Stallone's mistake was not giving Dredd a 'character', but perhaps trying to give him a 'personality' that was a problem.

    The films and comics I love are always based around a character, or characters, who draw the audience in and carry them through a story. I agree that the world Dredd lives in is often integral to the story, but it is how Dredd and the other characters react to the world that makes it interesting to me.

    Dredd is a surprisingly subtle and layered character with multiple contradictions. I believe many of these contradictions were initially brought about by John Wagner and Pat Mills differing approaches to writing Dredd. Creating a man who would risk his life to save you from a gang of terrorists, but then happily arrest you at the same time for minor crime.

    His ethic of zero tolerance creates a character who you can get behind when he's taking on a gang blood thirsty murders, but when he takes on a bunch of democracy protestors with the same violent zeal, you have to question your perceptions of him. The most amazing thing about Dredd is that he can go from these extremes of good and bad, without being considered out of character.

    Dredd has come a long way in the decades since the 1980s, with personal doubts about himself and the system he enforces. If he was still the same character he was, with no growth, he would simply be just another posturing tough guy and be of little interest to me.

    Judge Minty's character was a precursor to these facets of the older Dredd. Years on the streets having given Minty reasons to question himself and the system.

    Alex Garland has spoken about his ideas for possible sequels which may introduce some of the more excessive parts of Dredd's world. I hope he gets to bring them to the big screen.

  7. i haven't read Dredd since the early 90s so admit to being hopelessly out of touch with what he's like now. Is there a decent trade paperback you could recommend that would bring me up to speed with this more conflicted JD?

  8. It's difficult for me to give exact 'trades', as it's an underlying theme which is cleverly touched upon and often only subtly.

    However, it's very obvious in stories like 'A Question of Judgement', 'John Cassavetes is Dead' and especially 'Letter to Judge Dredd'.

    There are also stories like 'Democracy' and 'America' where the reader is left in no doubt about the harsh realities of living in a police state.

    Some of my personal favourites are the ones where Dredd does something completely unexpected, but still finds a way to stay in character like 'Bury My Knee At Wounded Heart'.

  9. I hear the comments about the Judge uniform not being bespoke; but we have to be careful not to date ourselves by applying today's standards too rigorously. The tech of Dredd's world, even with its downtrodden urban problems, is easily up to the challenge of cheaply producing bespoke items of equipment. Materials science is such that even now we're able to 'print in 3D'. Fast forward to Dredd's era, and I reckon this tech will have been taken to the nth degree.

    1. If you think the Police or Military will ever produce bespoke uniforms for every individual then you will need to think again.
      These forces across the globe have always and will always go for the cheapest quotes in kit apart from the elite and even then it's gonna be standard issue uniform but better quality.
      You mention 3D printing, it may be dead cheap in the future but that doesn't change the above. When you join the forces they issue you your kit as if you are on a factory conveyor belt. They won't bother with farting about with this 3D stuff and from the look of Dredd's world that printer ain't there!

  10. I think you're right the new film needs a wee touch of reality in terms of design and using modern riot gear as a template makes it look fantastic! :D However the Stallone Cod Piece will always have a place in my heart!! :D

  11. Even if they are going for a more realistic tone, having the main character in a poorly fitting costume is stupid. No one is going to look at his suit and go "well they can't custom fit everything, this sure is adding to the realism of this Judge Dredd comic book movie!" No, they're going to look at it and think the costume was poorly designed, and that the huge helmet takes away from conveying the character's size (big head makes body look smaller).