Not since football pundit Jimmy Hill was a staple on Match of the Day have so many eyes been transfixed by a single chin.
The decision to keep Judge Dredd's helmet on throughout the latest cinematic rendering of the 2000AD icon means more than just an opportunity to stare at Karl Urban's impressively expressive lower face. It epitomises the faithfulness to the character's comic book roots, which governs the dark and brooding tone of the piece - a huge departure from the 1995 Sylvester Stallone misfire. That's not to say Dredd 3D is a successful venture - it isn't - just an honorable one.
The threadbare story revolves around a dilapidated 200-storey tower block in Mega City One, where 'Judges' are the law enforcement equivalent of those '3 in 1' remote controls - as they function as judge, jury and executioner when they encounter any perpetrators.
The gloomy Judge Dredd (Urban) has to assess the merits of a rookie operative Anderson (Olivia Thirlby) for a day of duty, which sees them trapped within the tower block as psychotic drugs baron Ma-Ma (an underused Lena Headey) tries to smoke them out. Their survival depends on Dredd crunching some criminal bones and Anderson deploying her psychic abilities.
Despite admirable intentions and assured performances, Dredd 3D suffers from a structurally flawed script that fails to engage and repetitive fight sequences that fail to excite - particularly for anyone who has seen similarly-themed action flick The Raid. The minimalism of the plot, character and dialogue force a greater emphasis to be placed on the visceral aspects of the movie, and director Pete Travis's camera lens just doesn't do enough to make the environment menacing, the action dynamic or engender the story with the sense of urgency required.
On the plus side, body parts and blood are frequently splattered all over the frame, lending a graphic comic book feel to proceedings that refreshingly eschews any commercial imperatives to target the widest possible audience. Whereas the 1995 Judge Dredd movie tried to tick the blockbuster boxes, this version certainly sticks to its guns.
The violence perpetrated also feels oppressive, rather than glamourised, which serves to exacerbate the choking effect of the claustrophobic environment. However, the drab interior of the tower block and endless trudging around occasionally makes you feel like you're watching an 18-rated version of the 1987 Doctor Who story 'Paradise Towers'.
An interesting narrative comparison can also be made with the Doctor Who episode 'Rose', which successfully relaunched the show in 2005. The Russell T Davies-penned adventure crucially used a young female 'companion' as our entry into the story and universe.
Alex Garland appears to attempt a similar strategy, but with much less success. The identification figure Anderson is only introduced after a lengthy and dismal chase sequence involving Judge Dredd chasing some drug dealers on a motorbike, as if the movie has bowed to generic conventions by awkwardly shoehorning this sequence in at the beginning.
When we finally meet Anderson it is from the perspective of Judge Dredd, as we observe her through a one-way mirror sat in an assessment room. It's baffling, as surely the story dictates that we should be aligning our gaze with her, not him? It's even more inexplicable, as Garland is responsible for writing the near-masterpiece Sunshine and 28 Days Later.
Anderson needs to be our way into both the story and Judge Dredd himself - a character whose eyes we don't see and whose conversation is as limited as Father Ted's sozzled priest Father Jack. In many ways, Judge Dredd is defined against what we witness - whether it be the lawless environment, the villains, or, in this instance, his sidekick. Consequently the narrative strategy feels lacking, despite Urban's commanding chin-based theatrics and Thirlby effortlessly instilling Anderson with empathy and sincerity.
It's perhaps best to judge this movie as a 'pilot' for more expansive future adventures. While not succeeding as a standalone movie, the performances of Urban and Thirlby and the sense at the finale that their characters can go on to greater things together, leaves one yearning for more. So despite the reservations of this reviewer, by all means support the British film industry and see this movie in the hope that box office success leads to similarly ambitious - and hopefully better executed - future projects.