Meanest of the Mean…Ma-Ma

Njaahahahahaaaaa she cackles, rubbing her hands in glee. Another chance to shine some light on those dark characters. This year Ma-Ma gets a go. She’s got to be one of the most ruthless female villains I’ve come across. Just thinking of her gives me the shivers. Time to get all dark (hope you won’t think bad of me after this but it is The Great Villain Blogathon after all with more baddies found here). Let me introduce…Madeline Madrigal a.k.a. Ma-Ma.

Dredd9Madeline…sounds harmless. She doesn’t look too nasty above either…right? Wrong. Oh how very, very wrong.

We’ll call her Ma-Ma going forward (not Mama but slightly drawn out…Maa-Maa). I’d hate for her to be confused with a mother. Here are a few more that might help set the mood (not that we should judge by appearance):

Paint a better picture for you? I was kind enough to omit the screenshot of when the scar-producing injury is being inflicted. In fact, you may want to stop reading this post soon.

Peach Trees, a 200-storey high-rise in Mega City One, “the cursed city, stretching from Boston to Washington DC”. The building houses 75 000 registered residents of which 96% are unemployed. It has one of the highest crime rates in a city that records 17000 incidents a day. Ruling from the top floor down, Ma-Ma and her gang, the Ma-Ma Clan.

Played by Lena Headey, this is someone you’d hate to come face to face with in an alleyway (or anywhere for that matter). She is so brutal that when 3 small-time drug-dealers encroach on her turf they get…(stop reading if you are squeamish)….skinned alive, thrown off the top floor of Peach Trees…all while under the influence of SloMo…the latest drug she is punting which…yes…slows your perceptions down (substantially). Might be great if it is recreational but not so great when you see the atrium floor rapidly approaching slowly (contradiction intended).

Sent in to investigate this incident, Judge Dredd (Karl Urban) and rookie Anderson (Olivia Thirlby). They capture Kay (Wood Harris), who Anderson, through her psychic abilities, identifies as the guy who carried out the skinning. Desperate to prevent Kay from talking (I won’t reveal why) Ma-Ma gives orders to lock down the entire building until Dredd and Anderson are dead. Dredd, ever the just, loyal and fearless judge, assisted by Anderson, works his way up floor by floor, body by body, dealing justice with one goal…Ma-Ma. Easier said than done.

Dredd15

Formerly a prostitute, she got cut up by her pimp. Her revenge…”Feminised the guy with her teeth”. Apparently this is when she became the woman who has no problem casually dealing out the most gruesome punishment to anyone she pleases. The poor techie (played by Domhnall Gleeson whom I barely recognised), who hacks any system for her, even had his eyes redecorated – her doing.

I honestly don’t know what could possibly justify her actions. Yes, maybe her pimp doing what he did may just have pushed her over the edge. However, watching her do what she does, there must have been some mean streak in her before then. Deep down, some darkness that was waiting to be triggered. I’d say she is one of the most vile villains I’ve come across.

Gruesome and violent, Dredd (2012) is still an excellent movie enhanced with a brilliant soundtrack. The SloMo scenes are fantastically presented with everything slowing down for added effect:

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While this is a post about Ma-Ma, I must mention that Karl Urban is perfect for the no-nonsense Judge Dredd (delivering some great deadpan lines). If you have been avoiding this one thinking “oh no! Judge Dredd” with the 1995 version in mind…don’t. With a current IMDB rating of 7.1 and 78% on the Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer (72% Audience Likes), it really isn’t bad. Written by Alex Garland and directed by Pete Travis, you’ll be on the edge of your seat, wondering how this one could possible end. You have been warned though – definitely not for the faint-hearted.

Whew, so now I need a good, light movie to watch. Something with a “kinder” villain. Or a nice good Prince Charming.

For last year’s entry into this Blogathon have a look at Villain, villain on the Wall.

*Quote taken from watching the movie

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17 comments

  1. Judge Dredd is new to me – both versions. I never even gave them a second thought before toda. But now that I’ve read your post, I think I ought to give the later version a try. Lena Headey as the villain sounds intriguing. Thanks for the introduction! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Dredd is a great looking film. It almost feels like they’d actually built a giant mega-city-skyscraper-block to shoot in. I don’t necessarily dislike the Stallone version, it did have some merit, but this movie captured the spirit of a straightforward Dredd story. It looked gritty and realistic, and not cartoony… and as for Ma-Ma with her wicked facial scar and punkish hair, she looks like she’s just woken up from the world’s nastiest and most violent nightmare. One of the scariest villains of recent years.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Here’s the thing with Dredd…it was filmed largely in Johannesburg. So, other than the high-rise mega blocks that have been superimposed and some buildings to achieve mega-city status, it is all Joburg when you see. That opening scene chasing the druggies – it is a bridge I drive on regularly. The inside of Peach Trees is also a building here in JHB (with some modifications). It feels weird for me to watch an “American” city knowing it is Johannesburg and even knowing some of the locations.
      Like the one Avengers – filmed in downtown Johannesburg.

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  3. Cool feature! Dredd is fantastic, and yet again, proof that Alex Garland can do no wrong. Also, Lena Headey looks badass in this get-up. 😎 Now, when are we going to get that Dredd sequel?

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I love Dredd and one of the main reasons is that he has such a great opposite number in Ma-Ma. She is really ruthless and didn’t mind getting her hands dirty. Great stuff and wonderful choice!

    Liked by 1 person

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