Was it really back in 1982 that the classic “Blade Runner” became a cult film that transitioned into a classic?
Ridley Scott’s dystopian science-fiction masterpiece - loosely based on the Philip K. Dick story “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” - is set in 2019. That seemed a long way off to me when I first saw it on the big screen.
Now 2019 is almost here. And “Blade Runner 2049” doesn’t seem so far away, either.
Director Denis Villeneuve, who also helmed the incredible science-fiction film “Arrival” from last year, gives us another bleak, but sometimes hopeful, look at the future.
The setting is Los Angeles, where the sun never shines and rain never stops pouring. Corporations are in charge: The Tyrell corp. now is owned by Wallace. Niander Wallace (Jared Leto) is determined to manufacture slave replicants (genetically engineered or synthetic beings, generally known as androids in other shows) for “off-world” colonists to use.
Replicant KD6.3-7 (Ryan Gosling), who also is known as “K,” is a police officer or “blade runner” who tracks and “retires” the old-style replicants that are left.
When K tracks down replicant Sapper Morton (Dave Bautista, “Guardians of the Galaxy”) he discovers a secret that could upset the commonly held understanding of what it means to be human and what it means to be a replicant.
If you loved “Arrival” – I consider it to be one of the best science-fiction films in the last decade – you must see this, which also will appeal to you if you enjoyed the 1984 movie. Villeneuve’s environments are masterfully wrought, from the sterile surroundings of the upper classes to the dark everyday existence of most people and replicants, who, in their new generation, are more obedient.
The topic of memory is fascinating here, just as the element of time was thought-provoking in “Arrival.”
Gosling is wonderful as K. Just watch while his character wordlessly wrestles with the truth in a couple of scenes. Robin Wright delightful as his superior officer Joshi. Ana de Armas is a delight as Joi, K’s holographic girlfriend who accompanies him as he tries to solve the mystery he has uncovered.
And then, of course, there’s Harrison Ford, who returns as former blade runner Deckard. What a marvelous role this is – truly a continuation of the character from the original movie - and no one but Ford could have given it such a compelling portrayal.
Like all good science-fiction, this actioner will make you think. It’s well worth its lengthy running time and admission to see it on the big screen.