In the not too distant future, the United States of America has been ravaged by nuclear war. A vast megalopolis known as Mega-City One now encompasses the entire east coast. Due to its immense size and population density, the massive city-stat is a veritable cesspool of crime. Instead of sitting on bench with a gavel, Judges are given heavy artillery and charged with policing city streets. The most notorious of these is Judge Joseph Dredd (Karl Urban), as relentless a lawman as has ever existed.