We got our first look at Karl Urban as the well known comic book character Judge Dredd last November, and now Bleeding Cool have the first official image released for the upcoming film, titled simply Dredd, coming out on 1st December this year.

Just taking a look at the picture, you can tell Judge Dredd is not someone you want to be on the opposite side of the law from, and it gives us a feel for the darkness we can expect in Dredd.

Urban, best known for his roles as Bones in JJ Abrams’ Star Trek and Eomer in the second and third The Lord of the Rings films, is a great actor who can bring a brilliant level of intensity to his roles, which is exactly the kind of thing Judge Dredd’s going to need. Reading the film’s synopsis and seeing this first official image of Urban as Dredd is definitely getting me excited for that December release date:

“DREDD takes us to the wild streets of Mega City One, the lone oasis of quasi-civilization on Cursed Earth. Judge Dredd (Karl Urban) is the most feared of elite Street Judges, with the power to enforce the law, sentence offenders and execute them on the spot – if necessary. The endlessly inventive mind of writer Alex Garland and the frenetic vision of director Peter Travis bring DREDD to life as a futuristic neo-noir action film that returns the celebrated character to the dark, visceral incarnation from John Wagner and Carlos Ezquerra’s revered comic strip.”

As a character from the British comic anthology, 2000 AD, it’s nice to see that both writer and director for this remake are British too. Pete Travis’ main experience as a director has been for British TV, and he made his feature debut with Vantage Point back in 2008, which went to number one at the US box office and took $150m. worldwide. Dredd is set to be a really different style to what Travis has worked on before, so it will be interesting to see him take on the challenge.

Writer Alex Garland is well known for the horror film, 28 Days Later, and more recently wrote the screenplay for the film adaptation of Kazuo Ishiguro’s novel, Never Let Me Go; clearly a writer of many talents. His impressive work writing 28 Days Later and executive producing the sequel, 28 Weeks Later, definitely suggest he’s the perfect man for the job to bring Dredd to life as both writer and producer on the project.

Starring alongside Urban will be Olivia Thirlby and Lena Headey. Thirlby is best known for playing Ellen Page’s best friend in Juno, and she also starred opposite Josh Peck and Sir Ben Kingsley in one of my favourite indie films, The Wackness, in which she was absolutely brilliant, so I’m really looking forward to seeing her in this. Headey is most recognisable for starring as Gerard Butler’s wife, Queen Gorgo, in Zack Snyder’s 300, as well as starring in TV series Game of Thrones this year as Cersei Lannister and as Sarah Connor in Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles.

Having a recognisable, but perhaps lesser known, cast has allowed the budget to be kept down to $45m., which I think means we can look forward to having an epic vision of Mega City One without being an enormous and risky budget for the studio, countering films like this year’s Green Lantern. As one of a few English-created comic book characters popular on both sides of the Atlantic as well as elsewhere across the globe, hopefully Dredd will have a fan-base already in place waiting to receive this film well, and all signs so far look to me as though it will do and be much better than 1995 film with Sylvester Stallone in the titular role. Without further ado, here is the great new image of Judge Dredd. As usual, click to enlarge.