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We’ve been hearing about the possibility of a new Judge Dredd movie for some time. Now the project has taken a big step closer to being real: in a deal made just prior to Cannes, where the film will be shopped around for distribution, Andrew Macdonald‘s company DNA Film has made a deal to finance Judge Dredd as a 3D feature with a budget around $50m. And there’s a director: Vantage Point‘s Pete Travis.

But here’s the catch, and the part that could, somehow, be reason to hope this version won’t suck: this is not a studio financing deal. The money comes from Indian outfit Reliance Big Entertainment. Without a studio calling some of the bone-headed shots that made the Sylvester Stallone version miss the mark, could this be…good?

Deadline says that Alex Garland (The Beach, Sunshine) has written the script to bring it “back to its origins.”

That’s well and good, and hopefully it means a lot of things: no Dredd who appears out of uniform for most of the movie. No lousy buddy movie aspect. No Judge uniforms designed by Versace, that don’t look as if they could ever be functional for a second. Maybe the list of Blade Runner references won’t run to six or seven pages. And having theme by someone other than The Cure wouldn’t be bad. (Don’t get me wrong; love the band. But not for Dredd.)

The $50m budget means a lot — the original was a $100m extravaganza that made very little money. Some of the movie looks great, but the tone underlying idea is so off that it doesn’t matter. Lets have a less opulent film that gets the tone right. And while Dredd was very much a product of the ’80s in Britain, there’s a lot to be done with a hero/antihero (depending upon the spin) who represents the extreme, unwavering end of the law.

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