Karl Urban Talks Judge Dredd, And Why Most Video Game Movies Aren’t Up To Scratch

Karl Urban Talks Judge Dredd, And Why Most Video Game Movies Aren’t Up To Scratch

Karl Urban knows a thing or two about movies based on video games. He’s been in one. He’s also been in Star Trek, The Bourne Supremacy and now Judge Dredd.

Given that Karl Urban starred in the not-quite-as-bad-as-other-game-to-movie-conversions-but-still-quite-bad Doom, we figured he might have a rough idea why filmmakers have struggled to translate video game stories to the big screen.

“Well I mean, it’s a good question,” he says. “I think that the key to making a good film is doing more than creating action sequence after action sequence, which is fundamentally what video games are.

“Character development — the human aspect — is one of the most important elements of the film because it speaks to the audience, and there aren’t that many video game adaptations that get the story right. You need a fully 3-dimensional character with an arc — if you don’t have that then movies will just descend into one set piece after the next.”

Karl’s latest project is a film based on a comic book property and, comic books have somehow managed to translate successfully across to the big screen. Is it possible for video games to make a similar transition?

“I wouldn’t have a clue mate,” he admits. “It’s a leap of faith. Again it depends on the creatives involved and what they come up with. I certainly always hope for the best. I’m acutely aware of the time energy and money that goes into making films, so you certainly hope that it works.”

Karl Urban is in Australia for the release of Judge Dredd, and has just wrapped up the sequel to Star Trek. He won’t tell us anything about that movie besides the fact it’s “multicoloured and epic”! But would he ever consider acting in another game to film conversion?

“It would entirely depend on the script,” he says.


  • It’s actually not a terrible movie in terms of character development – I wouldn’t say it’s deep, but there was something there. Particularly listening to Karl Urban speak about getting into the character and his development of the character, the Popcorn Taxi event was fantastic.

  • I have no problem with Karl Urban portraying Flynn “Doom Guy” Taggart, I think he did a decent job and even has a similar look to the avatar. It was EVERYTHING else about the Doom movie that left me infuriated. The story wasn’t even remotely in line with the videogame, it was an absolute joke. Need’s a careful rehash by an actual fan of the game, stat!

  • We have plenty of games that have great character development and arcs that in some cases are even better then most movies, tv shows or novels.

    Max Payne was probably the worst transition as they could have gotten a much better reception if they just showed an abridged walkthrough from Youtube rather then the actual movie.

    • Or if mark whalberg had even a remote interest in max Payne the games that might of helped a lot too as he publicly admitted to not playing either or being interested due to his “addictive personality” which I think is Hollywood for I don’t actually give a fuck

    • Yeah Max Payne is one of the weirder ones to screw up. It’s a angry cop revenge action movie. There’s nothing in it that hasn’t been done in another 100 movies already on the shelves, both high budget and cheap schlock. The characters are fairly well defined but loose enough that they could be tweaked a bit to better suit a movie’s need for character detail and development. The only special effect they need is a slow motion effect with maybe a few cg bullet trails and blood splatters for good measure.

      It should have been easy.

      On a related note, the Slow-mo sequences in Dredd look exactly like what should have popped up in Max Payne, albeit considerably more gory than probably would have been called for.

      • I’ve always had this unshakable feeling that the Max Payne movie was originally supposed to feature narration from Max, but it was taken out… the movie flows OK, but feels like somethings missing. I watched it recently and I honestly feel that it had narration that for some goddamned reason, was excised.

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