(Rated R) 3 1/2 Replicants (out of 4)
1982 saw the release of “Blade Runner”, one of the most memorable science fictions films in cinema history. Upon its original release the film met with mixed reviews and fair box office results, but the neo-noir style film grew over time to become an all time fan favorite.
The original film was loosely based on the novel “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?”, and gave Harrison Ford another unforgettable role. The world of the movie features synthetic humans known as replicants designed by the Tyrell Corporation to work on off-world colonies. No sooner than you can say “Battlestar Galatica”, a few of the replicants rebel and escape back to Earth where they are hunted by Los Angeles cop Rick Deckard (Ford). During his tracking of the replicants, Deckard meets Rachel (Sean Young), an advanced replicant who causes the cop to rethink his mission to take down escaped replicants. Flash forward thirty years after the original films 2019 setting and we have the new film “Blade Runner 2049.”
The story follows an LAPD replicant blade runner named K (Ryan Gosling), who has discovered the remains of a once-pregnant replicant, something no one thought possible. In order to prevent a possible war between humans and replicants, K is assigned the mission of finding the child and destroying all evidence related to its existence. The only problem is K discovers the child has a link to missing blade runner Deckard. K’s investigation leads to the discovery of the growing replicant freedom movement, which results in problems with the aforementioned Tyrell Corporation and replicant manufacturer Niander Wallace (Jared Leto). K also runs afoul of the LAPD for leaving his designated territories in order to locate Deckard. When Deckard and K finally meet in Las Vegas, the secrets of the past are brought to light, and both blade runners are in danger.
The film has a touching ending, but all does not end well for one of the characters. We are also still left with the question if Deckard is human or replicant. The original film was directed by Ridley Scott, and you can feel his influence in the work of the directer of the sequel, Denis Villeneuve (“Arrival”). The film is a total visual triumph, and is at times almost overwhelming in its beautiful cinematography. You can bet this film will be nominated for best cinematography come Oscar time. For me, the film was a must see in the 3D format, but if that isn’t your preference, 2D will be just as effective. I must say Gosling was perfectly cast in the role of K, and he works extremely well with Ford, who is a big screen icon. Leto is also a great addition to the film, portraying yet another creepy villain to perfection after his turn as The Joker. The only issues I had with the film were the slow pace of the first half, and the extremely loud soundtrack. I’m all for a good film score, but this one all but rattled the theater walls, at least in the theater where I viewed the film. The soundtrack worked perfectly for the film and pays homage to the original film, I just didn’t need to be hit over the head with the bombast. Overall “Blade Runner 2049” is a quality sequel to the original, and provides sci-fi movie fans with an excuse to hit theaters before the new “Star Wars” film in December.