Judge Minty is the long awaited ‘fan film’ from director Steven Sterlacchini, co-written with Michael Carroll. (edit: there is a link to the film at the end of this article – as well as links to Interviews with many of the cast and crew)
The story follows Judge William Minty, a Street Judge that has found his long years on the hard streets of Mega City One has made him more lenient rather than bitter and twisted. The character was created by John Wagner and Mike McMahon and in panel we saw Judge Minty take the long Walk in to the Cursed Earth.
The film picks up pretty much where the comic took us, with a short introduction to keep the story complete and easily understood. Though short the beginning does not feel like an intro just to get to the main action. Indeed it builds the character of Minty well, we are shown that there was respect between Dredd and Minty and the script slowly reveals the issues at hand.
When we see Minty’s passage to his Long Walk, keep an eye out for well known Judges, the words spoken were very familiar and may well be the words used in the comic. We also get to see the West Wall in full glory, having already seen views of the city including the Grand Hall of Justice.
The Cursed Earth is tastefully presented with a lack of colour, the palette is ochre-brown to grey. Minty soon comes in contact with less than friendly locals. A gang of crazies, sporting the kind of look we would expect from the comic. They are a mix of human radlanders and mutants.
Simply put Minty and the band, led wonderfully by the enigmatic Aquila, don’t quite see eye to eye. There are a few fight scenes that suggest passing of time greater than the time elapsed on screen. Here I need to be sketchy as it would be too easily to slip in a spoiler or two. Keep an eye out for round selections and a vehicle cameo.
Again there is a plot twist that I want to say a lot about. This aspect deserves a lot of praise and when the film has done a wider tour of the convention circuit I may do a spolier riddled review. But the characters we meet next were expertly introduced, though I do have a couple of questions I’d like to put to Steve about them.
The ending of the film is poetic, we see a full circle that connects us to the beginning and it all works well together.
The special effects and CGI in the city are marvelous and very much what some people wanted to see from the recent Dredd movie. This is obviously a creative choice that was made by the makers of each film. Steven discusses the choice of uniform himself on the Judge Minty site – where he says that as this film is aimed directly at fans of the comic he went for a look more like that in the comic. And boy did he achieve it, from this film sprang Planet Replicas uniform and weapons.
Casting is excellent, Edmund Dehn’s voice works wonderfully with the images. Greg Staples, 2000AD artist, guests as Dredd. The ever popular Lauren (Planet Replica’s Anderson) is among the Cursed Earth gang and apparently also as Anderson but I didn’t spot Anderson… how did I miss her?
Direction is solid and the script clean.
All in all I must say this lived up to my hopes. I’d definitely recommend it to anyone who likes 2000AD and Dredd. I’d also love to see a sequel.
Judge Minty film on Vimeo or YouTube
Steve Sterlacchini – Writer & Director
Michael Carroll – Writer
Steve Green – Director of Photography
Daniel Carey-George – Costume & Prop Creator
Edmund Dehn – Judge Minty
Jared Butler – Voice of Dredd & others
Integera Fairbrook – Aquila’s Daughter & Judge Anderson