It might seem odd to do a random movie review out of the blue, since content from this website had been lacking. The Blade Runner series has become something of an ambiguous spectacle. As much as the plot from the first film left unanswered questions, my reactions and feeling of the film were something of uncertainty of whether I really enjoyed it or thought it was remarkably so-so. However, after watching the sequel, Blade Runner 2049, I found a yearning respect for the franchise. When he was alive, the 1982 Ridley Scott film Blade Runner was one of my grandfather’s favorite films and science fiction movies. Blade Runner was similar in that when it came out in 1982, it missed its mark with public opinion, but was not reveled until years later when viewers re-watched the film and coined it a masterpiece in the style of film escapism, thought provoking elements, and special effects that were way beyond its time. Now the sequel borrows the same effects, but blends the style to create something even more beautiful and colorful. Uprising talented director Denis Villenueve who is known for Arrival (2016), Sicario (2015), and Prisoners (2013) found a way to make a worthwhile sequel while keeping the same tone, pace, and style as the first installment. Villenueve like Scott transports us to a dystopian yet futuristic city in Los Angeles, CA when the population of humanoid androids called “replicants” are becoming the majority of inhabitants alongside humans. Blade Runner begs the question of what makes us human? If an android acts, looks, feels, and has a similar technological makeup as humans, does that make them human or will they always have the stigma of being fake? Based on how replicants act in the second film, it seems that as though these replicants are more humane than the humans who begin showcasing a more cold exterior due to their hatred of these human impostors. Will replicants replace us?
Blade Runner 2049 begins 30 years after Blade Runner which took place in 2019. The company responsible for making the original Nexas 6 replicants have been succeeded by a new entrepreneur Niander Wallace (Jared Leto), a blind replicant who wants to create more advanced and more human-like replicants (Nexas 8) with the same lifespan as humans. Note: the replicants in Blade Runner only had a lifespan of about 4 years and were illegal on Earth. Wallace also wants to have the ability to control them. 30 years later, replicants are not illegal anymore, but they work as slaves by obeying to commands, lack the ability to think freely, work as cops, prostitutes, or Blade Runner’s. That’s where Officer K comes in played marvelously by Ryan Gosling. The idea of a Blade Runner is so they track and hunt down rogue replicants that are a danger to society and “retire” or kill them. Normally, a Blade Runner is a human, but now that replicants can do the dirty work, they hire a replicant to do the job of killing it’s own kind as a way to stay more obedient to humans. K is told to “retire” a farmer replicant in hiding for 19 years. When K a replicant of his own confronts Sapper Morton played by (Dave Bautista) we get an interesting interaction and a clue of where the film begins to unfold a detailed plot. This leads K down a spiraling rabbit hole that has the pace and style of a 1920’s detective noir or in this case, a neo-noir. The film can seem drawn out and long at times as the length is about 2 hours and 41 minutes. However, Blade Runner 2049 gives scenes the time for viewers to focus on the visuals, as these cinematic and comic-like images have long incidences of dialogue followed by long takes of silence. K lives alone with a holographic girlfriend “Joi” inside a crime ridden and lower socioeconomic neighborhood. K is constantly faced with the challenge of keeping with the status quo of being a good and obedient replicant officer while exploring the mysterious feelings of human love lead on by his loneliness and the investigation case that holds true to his heart. The case consists of a missing 30 year old replicant that was born from a deceased replicant (something unheard of in this universe). The film makes you believe that what K is chasing after is his past when the evidence winds up taking you in a different direction. Eventually, the case brings K to encounter Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), the former and retired Blade Runner who had been in hiding for 30 years. More questions are raised as more events unfold. Without revealing spoilers, Blade Runner 2049 does everything it can as a solid sequel without setting up a continuous series. However, there are some hints that a Blade Runner 3 might come out as not all loose ends are tied up and some more questions about who really is a replicant or not isn’t fully answered. The ending leaves with a similar viewer interpretation as the first film. What makes this film great is it’s re-watch value as it is a movie that can be viewed multiple times. Nothing compares to the style and look of the cyberpunk universe along with the epic sounding soundtrack that seems to paint the mood of what the protagonist is feeling. There are moments when scenes drag on a bit and because the film is very dark it can tire someone’s eyes while watching it. Try and stick with the movie even if you have to use the bathroom. The advanced technological effects are creative and imaginative.
Harrison Ford gives a great performance of a man that has many battle scars and has the inability to trust others. Jared Leto is haunting as the soft spoken villain. The movie also stars: veteran actress Robin Wright, beautiful Ana de Armas, Mackenzie Davis who resembles a young Daryl Hannah (watch the first movie and you’ll understand), and an intense Sylvia Hoeks. What makes this film stand out more than other modern day films, is that it has depth, it has meaning in its scenes, the characters are well developed, and the action isn’t thrown around casually to make a scene feel more glamorous. The few action scenes are necessary and are not overdone. Blade Runner 2049 like the first installment is a slow paced brilliant thriller that leaves you thinking about the climax and what makes the human connection of love so important in life. The replicants in Blade Runner 2049 are as organic as tears in rain. Check out Blade Runner 2049, now playing in theaters.
What a great review! I agreed with all of your points. The visuals really were stunning!