Monday, December 2, 2013

Big Finish - Judge Dredd: Solo

This is the last in the regular series of Big Finish audio dramas about Judge Dredd. Solo by Jonathan Clements, directed by John Ainsworth.

Dredd is investigating a murder but the body was found on the line between space port immigration and Mega-City One and Dredd is forced to team up with a green skinned alien known as Blarg the Mighty (you can see where this is going already) to track down a shape-shifting alien assassin.

There are two distinctive features about this last story. Firstly it is packed with references to science fiction and comics. Blarg is clearly Tharg himself, with all the usual catch phrases and irritating smugness, but there are also nods to 2001: A Space Odyssey, Robocop, the Stallone movie, and even the Clangers. Secondly all of the speaking parts are played by Toby Longworth in an impressive display of his vocal prowess.

So this is all terribly clever but the story is fairly predictable and the only highlights are some of Longworth's voices incuding a rather impressive HAL 9000 on board an alien spaceship. It's a bit like one of those one man bands where you admire the virtuosity but the music isn't great.

It's a shame that Big Finish weren't able to maintain the standards of their earlier stories such as Death Trap, Get Karter and the first two Strontium Dog releases. As they went along the adventures seem to have become a bit sillier, and although Longworth sounds great in the part Dredd himself seems less imposing than he is in the comics.

That's not to say that this isn't fun because it is and Longworth is good value for money. It's just not a real Judge Dredd story. 3 out of 5 bike cannons. Next up will be four stories in the Crime Chronicles range which I think are more like audio-books then full cast dramas.

If you are interested in the rest of my 2000AD audio reviews you can find them all here.

Big Finish - The Space Race

The second release in the Big Finish 1963 series: The Space Race written by Jonathan Morris and directed by Nicholas Briggs.

While the Fifth Doctor and Nyssa are in England investigating pop music the Sixth incarnation and Peri arrive in Russia and find themselves caught up in a Vostok rocket mission and a mystery surrounding the earliest history of space exploration. The Russians are sending a mission to the moon but they may not be the first to get there and one of their capsules has returned to earth with a very strange occupant.

Actually this one is rather good. Colin Baker is in fine form and his Doctor seems childishly excited to get on board a rocket. Meanwhile Peri is left behind to figure a way through all the different levels of intrigue at the control centre. Someone is a spy but who? There's some great sound design work as well and the rest of the cast are terrific. It's nonsense of course but great fun for all that.

4 out of 5 space dogs and on to The Assassination Games.