The Weekend Rent: Unmasking Karl Urban, the Man Behind 'Dredd'

The Weekend Rent: Unmasking Karl Urban, the Man Behind 'Dredd'

Sep 21, 2012

"The Weekend Rent" offers quick-hit suggestions of what to watch at home to get psyched for new releases in theaters, on Fridays. Click on any of the links below to find out how you can watch each movie right now.

Karl Urban isn't a household name just yet, but he has a chiseled face with intense eyes that you'll remember from many blockbuster movies over the past decade even if you can't put a face with his name. Although you won't recognize the New Zealand actor in Dredd—now playing in theaters—because he is always wearing Judge Dredd's helmet that obscures the top half of his face, it's to Urban's credit that he is able to inject so much personality into the kick-ass police enforcer who finds himself under lockdown with a psychic rookie in a huge skyscraper lorded over by a maniacal underworld queen (Lena Headey). The critically praised movie features numerous fetishistic slo-mo shots of extreme violence that are near poetic… in their own splattery way.

American audiences first got a peek at the man under Dredd's helmet in 2002's soggy supernatural thriller Ghost Ship, in which he is part of a salvage crew that boards an Italian ocean liner that has been missing for decades. Urban's career would have sank faster than the Titanic if he didn't pick a stronger follow-up flick.

His next movie found him back in New Zealand—and in a project of exponentially higher quality—in The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. Urban plays Éomer, an exiled warrior who leads riders loyal to Théoden northward out of Rohan. He proves to be a powerful ally to Gandalf in the fight at Helm's Deep. Urban reprises his role in The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, which, of course, won Best Picture and a slew of other "precious" Oscars.

After starring in a billion-dollar franchise as a fantasy action hero, Urban kept the momentum going by continuing to kick ass on-screen. In the underappreciated The Chronicles of Riddick, Urban plays the Necromonger Vaako assigned with taking out the titular one-man army played by Vin Diesel. Urban will reprise his role in the upcoming sequel, Riddick. Along the same vein of his creepy Riddick character, Urban played a vampire-human hybrid with superhuman abilities that has a fantastic final-reel battle atop a train with Paul Bettany in the also underappreciated Priest.

Urban got grittier and moved away from fantasy-flavored action in The Bourne Supremacy, in which he plays the key role of Russian FSB agent Kirill—the baddie who tries to assassinate Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) and ends up killing Bourne's girlfriend, Marie (Franka Portente). In the ensemble action favorite RED, Urban plays CIA agent William Cooper tasked with taking out Frank Moses, played by Bruce Willis.

Urban went back to space as Sgt. John "Reaper" Grimm in Doom, the sci-fi action picture based on the popular video game. Although it didn't really connect with fans or critics, Urban's career hit warp speed by portraying Dr. Leonard "Bones" McCoy in 2009's Star Trek, a role he'll be reprising again in Star Trek Into Darkness.

Urban seems right at home in roles that require a lot of action, whether they are in space, Middle Earth or more grounded in reality. You might not see his face in Dredd, but if you familiarize yourself with his other work outlined here, you won't need to for him to leave a lasting impression.

 

 

 

 

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