By the 2080s, much of Earth has become an uninhabitable wasteland. The majority of humanity resides in huge Mega-Cities with populations of over 500 million, where the traditional justice system has been replaced by a corps of Judges whose role combines those of police officer, judge, jury, and executioner.
The most dedicated "Street Judge" in Mega-City One is Joseph Dredd (Sylvester Stallone), who assists Judge Hershey (Diane Lane) in ending a block war. Herman Ferguson (Rob Schneider), a hacker recently released from prison, is caught in the firefight and hides inside a food dispensing robot, only to be arrested by Dredd and again sentenced to five years' imprisonment.
Rico (Armand Assante), a former Judge, escapes from prison and reclaims his Judge's uniform and "Lawgiver" gun as well as a decommissioned combat robot. A news reporter (Mitch Ryan) critical of Dredd is soon murdered, and Dredd is the chief suspect.
Hershey acts as Dredd's defense lawyer in a trial before a tribunal of Council Judges including Dredd's mentor Chief Justice Fargo (Max von Sydow) and Judge Griffin (Jürgen Prochnow). Dredd is found guilty based on DNA evidence: The Lawgiver encodes the DNA of the wielder onto each round fired, and the DNA from the murder weapon matches Dredd's.
Shocked by the possibility of Dredd being a murderer, Fargo steps down as Chief Justice, asking as his last request that the Council spare Dredd's life. Dredd is sentenced to life imprisonment while Fargo embarks on his "long walk", in which a retiring Judge ventures into the "Cursed Earth" (wasteland) "to bring law to the lawless".
Griffin, who freed Rico and had him frame Dredd for the murder, succeeds Fargo as Chief Justice and instructs Rico to sow chaos throughout the city. Dredd finds himself seated next to Herman on a transport ship to the Aspen penal colony, who mocks Dredd. While passing over the Cursed Earth, the ship is shot down by the Angel Gang, a family of cannibalistic scavengers who capture Dredd and Herman.
A squad of Judges track Dredd to the Angels' camp and a battle ensues. Fargo arrives just in time to save Dredd's life, but is mortally wounded by Mean Machine Angel (Chris Adamson). While dying, Fargo reveals that Dredd is the result of the Janus project, an experiment in genetic engineering intended to create the perfect Judge, wherein DNA from the Council Judges was combined to create two clones: Dredd and Rico.
Both were given artificial memories of childhood, and they became close friends. Dredd was forced to judge Rico for murdering civilians, but Rico was sent to Aspen by Griffin. Because he and Rico share DNA, Dredd deduces that Rico framed him for the reporter's murder. Fargo concludes that Griffin is trying to reactivate the Janus project, and begs Dredd to stop him.
In Mega-City One, Rico creates panic by assassinating 108 Judges in two days. Griffin uses this to convince the Council Judges to unlock the Janus files, hoping to create an army of perfect Judges to take control of Mega City-One; but when they refuse to reactivate the program, he has Rico kill them.
Arriving immediately after this, Dredd and Herman are accused by Griffin of murdering the Council. They evade the Judges and seek help from Hershey, who has been investigating Dredd's past. Dredd tells her about the Janus project, and the trio head to the Janus laboratory at the Statue of Liberty.
Rico betrays Griffin and replaces the DNA for the Janus clones with his own. Herman uses his hacking skills to save Dredd and Hershey from the robot. Rico orders his clones activated prematurely, but they fail to stop Dredd. Dredd pursues Rico to the top of the statue, and a final struggle sends Rico falling to his death.
Central, the city's controlling supercomputer, has recorded the entire event and broadcasts the information, clearing Dredd's name. The remaining Judges ask him to become the new Chief Justice, but Dredd passes the title to Hershey.
The score is full of power and orchestral might, Wagnerian style, courtesy of The Sinfonia of London's awesome brass section which delivers on every cue. The theme is a 5 note brass motif that is present throughout almost every track of score.
The two best tracks are "Block War" and "Council Chaos" which contain bombastic fanfares and pulsating action music, with driving sixteenth note rhythms from the trumpet section on "Council Chaos". A powerful chorus helps deliver the mighty theme in "Judgment Day".
The only cue that doesn't quite stand out like the others is "Angel Family" which contains eerie synth lines that refrain from the orchestral tour-de-force present in the other tracks. The percussion work is also something to mention as it is a great support to the brass and it is never overdone. -- Brandon Cutro