In the post-apocalyptic future, the United States has been divided into large chunks called Megacities. Largely overrun by crime and filth, the megacities are patrolled by Judges - lawmen and women who are appointed judge, jury and executioner.
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One of the best is Judge Dredd (Karl urban), who is appointed to take a rookie, Anderson (Olivia Thirlby) out into the field for testing. The two of them end up responding to a call in a building called Peach Trees - a 200-story slum where several bodies have been skinned alive and tossed in the middle of an atrium.
Once there it becomes clear that the killings were over a turf war. A prostitute-turned-drug-lord named "Ma Ma" controls the entire building - using it to manufacture "slo mo," a drug that makes time pass at 1% its normal speed.
After raiding one of the drug dens and capturing one of Ma Ma's top men, she orders the Judges killed - unable to take the risk of having one of her men talk.
Residents of Peach Trees on all floors mobilize for Ma Ma, eager to collect the bounty on the judges' heads, leaving Dredd, Anderson and their captive to fight their way up 200 individual stories and kill Ma Ma once and for all.