Auckland actor Karl Urban is dressed to kill as ultra-violent, futuristic lawman Judge Dredd in the upcoming sci-fi blockbuster.

The first pictures have been released of the former Shortland Street star as the gun-toting Mega-City One enforcer in the $60m Hollywood flick, which was shot in South Africa and is due for release this year.

Urban - presently filming Star Trek 2 in Los Angeles - said he had to undergo gruelling physical preparations to become a "beast of a man" and stay true to the famous comic book character the Dredd film is based on.

He revealed he first started reading Judge Dredd comics as a teenager while working at a Wellington pizza parlour.


"It's an uncompromising, gritty and action-fuelled film," Urban told US-based ReelzChannel TV.

He also insisted the new film bore little resemblance to previous Judge Dredd productions. A 1995 version, starring Sylvester Stallone in the lead role, was panned by critics and was a disappointment at the box office.

"This will be the movie that Judge Dredd fans have so richly deserved for the past 40 years," Urban said.

He added: "There are no gold codpieces and I keep my helmet on throughout.

"If I was to go see a movie called Dredd, and the actor who played him was to take his helmet off and full-on reveal his face and identity, I would puke in my popcorn."