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You need to watch the best dystopian sci-fi movie on Amazon Prime ASAP

“Negotiation’s over. Sentence is death.”

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Like their source material, comic book movies usually focus on long, multi-part arcs, building stories through interconnected continuity and returning characters.

That makes one-off movies and those based on lesser-known characters oddities, and often worth checking out just for their different approach.

In 2012’s Dredd, that standalone mentality pays off with a movie that’s lean and fast-paced, leaving major parts of its world to the imagination.

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U.S. audiences may be most familiar with Judge Dredd from the so-bad-it’s-good 1995 Sylvester Stallone movie, but the character has a decades-long history in British comics.

Dredd, however, leaves most of that long history untold, instead focusing on a typical day for the judge, jury, and executioner that is Judge Dredd.

Dredd sets up the basics in its opening scene (in the future, people live in cramped “Mega-Cities” policed by “Judges” empowered to kill criminals on sight) and lets the rest play out naturally.

While investigating a triple homicide, Dredd and his new rookie partner Anderson are trapped in the Peach Trees apartment tower by Ma-Ma, a drug lord and the tower’s de facto leader.

In place of a complex plot, Dredd doles out incredible action scenes one after the other. The best are aided by the movie’s ingenious visual signature: “Slo-mo.”

In the world of Dredd, Slo-mo is a drug that slows down the perception of time. It’s used for recreation, performance enhancement, and — in some of Dredd’s most memorable scenes — punishment.

Slo-mo is represented on screen by a burst of bright color and light as the action slows to a crawl. Writer Alex Garland called the Slo-mo scenes his “favorite stuff of the film” and “the hardest to get right.”

Along with its visual flair, Dredd is elevated by its excellent leads, including Karl Urban (Star Trek, The Boys) as Judge Dredd and Lena Headey (Game of Thrones) as Ma-ma.

Dredd depicts a grim world where neither its villains nor antiheroes have any hope for a better life, lending even its bombastic action scenes an air of desperation and melancholy.

It might be going too far to praise a movie with this much over-the-top violence for its restraint, but Dredd’s subdued performances and subtle worldbuilding make it a markedly different kind of comic book movie.

You can check out the gorgeous, unfettered action of Dredd streaming on Hulu and Amazon Prime.

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