In the now-gutted Classic Sci-Fi and Fantasy Films That You Can Watch on YouTube post on the front page of io9, I innocently asked for some thoughts on which of the existing Judge Dredd movies is considered the better of the two with the expectation that a lot of the audience would likely be familiar with the comic. The responses were numerous and passionate. I decided that night to help answer my own question and watched Dredd (2012) on Netflix.
I will preface my opinion with the important factor that I have in fact not read any of the comics, so I didn't have that kind of stake in the outcome of the film.
So how was it? Not bad. Very anti-climactic I suppose, but it was definitely watchable for me and I didn't feel the need to hit the FF button on the remote, which is always a bad sign when I need to self-edit a movie that way. I liked the special effects, particularly the slow-mo drug scenes that seemed like how the action sequences would be framed within the original comic's printed pages.
As for the characters, none of them really required much backstory to figure out what they were about and how their personality arcs would develop throughout the movie; I believe this is because we've all seen this kind of movie already many times, in slightly different forms (some of the replies to my original question suggested as much). The laughable, roll-your-eyes moments were mostly due to Dredd's cliche action-hero one-liners:
Paramedic TJ: You know how often we get a judge up in Peach Trees?
Judge Dredd: Well you got one now.
Ok, Judge Batman.
Overall, the movie was well-done for what it is, but nothing ground breaking or particularly memorable in it for me. I can't see myself wanting to see this a second time in the future, but I would recommend that others give it a shot if they like action movies. I also have to admit that I'm curious to see what the earlier Stallone version is like... if I have the patience to sit through it.