Before seeing Blade Runner 2049, why not start where it all began? There have been many versions of the original Blade Runner so for those who are wondering, this review will be based on the Final Cut.
Synopsis: A blade runner must pursue and try to terminate four replicants who stole a ship in space and have returned to Earth to find their creator. (IMDB)
Starring: Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, and Sean Young
Writers: Hampton Fancher and David Webb Peoples
Director: Ridley Scott
Rating: 14A (Canada)/R (United States)
Running Time: 117mins
For showtimes and more, check out on Blade Runner on movietimes.com.
This film was definitely ahead of its time when it was originally released back in 1982 (and 2 other re-releases). It’s production values, from its cinematography, set design, costumes, and its memorable score, still hold up after 35 years and are still better than a lot of films today. For many, it is considered a sci-fi classic and it is easy to see why in its depiction of a futuristic 2019 Los Angeles (it’s still weird to say that especially because of where we are today) and its story, both serving as inspiration for countless future sci-fi films.
For the few who still don’t know the story, the Tyrell Corporation have created a race of advanced robots, virtually indistinguishable from humans, called Replicants. Their purpose was mostly as slave labor in the colonization of other planets. Once they began to mutiny, they were declared illegal on Earth with people known as Blade Runners tasked to kill, or retire as the film calls it, any trespassing Replicants. When a group of rogue Replicants find their way onto Earth, ex Blade Runner Rick Deckard (Ford) is tasked to find them and retire them.
Deckard’s investigation played out like a standard film noir which works extremely well when set against the film’s dark backdrop. He was compelling to watch as he navigated the dangerous Los Angeles underbelly. Some may find it too slow at times, especially in the middle, but this is just a minor complaint. Over the same time, Deckard became closer to another Replicant named Rachel (Young) who wasn’t like the others. She appeared to possess more abilities than the other Replicants without knowing that she was a Replicant herself.
Replicants are stronger, human-looking robots but they weren’t indestructible with a lifespan of only 4 years. Cue the rogue Replicants. Roy Batty (Hauer), Pris (Daryl Hannah), Leon Kowalski (Brion James), and Zhora (Joanna Cassidy) wanted to live and were willing to go to any length to do so. They each were sinister in their own ways, however, there wasn’t much to them besides that, other than the obligatory final showdown between Deckard and Batty.
The film would not have worked if not for Ford’s performance as Deckard. He was great as the gruff detective and was fun to watch. There perhaps was some foreshadowing to more about him in other cuts of this film (I haven’t seen the other versions so I am in no position to speculate) so this simply added another layer to his performance. Hauer was good as Batty but he never really got to show it until near the end where he stole the show during one of the best sequences ever. Young was great, adding some humanity to the non-human Rachel while having chemistry with Ford.
Overall, this was an excellent sci-fi film that earns its distinction as one of the best sci-fi films of all time with excellent production values that still hold up today while even rival films of today and an equally excellent performance by Harrison Ford.