In the early twenty-first century, the Tyrell Corporation, during what was called the Nexus phase, developed robots, called "replicants", that were supposed to aid society, the replicants which looked and acted like humans. When the superhuman generation Nexus 6 replicants, used for dangerous off-Earth endeavors, began a mutiny on an off-Earth colony, replicants became illegal on Earth. Police units, called "blade runners", have the job of destroying - or in their parlance "retiring" - any replicant that makes its way back to or created on Earth, with anyone convicted of aiding or assisting a replicant being sentenced to death. It's now November, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), a former blade runner, is called out of retirement when four known replicants, most combat models, have made their way back to Earth, with their leader being Roy Batty (Rutger Hauer). One, Leon Kowalski (Brion James), tried to infiltrate his way into the Tyrell Corporation as an ...Written by
M. Emmet Walsh said that this movie required many looping sessions due to his character's dialogue with Rick Deckard, and there were some changes being made. Walsh, after recording his latest session, quipped to Producer Bud Yorkin that he'd likely be back again for more looping. Yorkin claimed that this was it when Walsh bet him ten dollars that he'd be back for more. A couple of months later, a puzzled Ridley Scott called Walsh and demanded to know what was going on with him and Bud Yorkin, as Yorkin said Walsh couldn't do it. When Walsh came in for another looping session, he found a ten dollar bill waiting for him. Walsh said the little bet was holding up a multi-million dollar movie. See more »
(at around 57 mins) When female replicant (Zhora Salome) is shot in the shoulder, thus falling through the window, at first she has a visible gunshot wound to her shoulder. Then, as the camera angle changes, there is no gunshot wound, and on the next camera angle change, the wound is back again. See more »
Female announcer over intercom:
Next subject: Kowalski, Leon. Engineer, waste disposal. File section: New employee, six days.
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The opening credits sequence features a detailed, dictionary-style definition of the word Replicant. See more »
The European theatrical release (also available on Criterion Laserdisc) is 117 minutes long and has more explicit/violent than the original American version, with a few additions/differences from the US release:
When Batty kills Tyrell, we see him pushing his thumbs into Tyrell's eyes, and blood spurting out.
Pris lifts Deckard up by his nostrils during their fight.
Deckard shoots Pris a third time; there are also more shots of Pris kicking and screaming when she is shot.
When Roy pushes the nail through his hand, we see it burst through the skin on the other side.
This is truly one of the greatest science fiction films ever made, one that requires a thinking viewer in order to understand and appreciate it. The director's cut is the recommended one to see as it omits a somewhat distracting narration and avoids an unnecessary Hollywood-style ending that is at odds with the rest of the film's tone.
A true science fiction story or film is about ideas, not spaceship battles, futuristic gadgets, or weird creatures. "Blade Runner" fully qualifies as this in its examination of the impact of technology on human society, existence, and the very nature of humanity itself. These themes are set in a fairly basic detective story that moves slowly but gradually builds power as the viewer is immersed in a dystopian futuristic Los Angeles.
Harrison Ford fans accustomed to the normally dynamic roles that he plays may be dissatisfied with the seemingly lifeless lead character that he portrays here as the replicant-hunting detective known as a "blade runner". They should be, for this dissatisfaction is part of the film experience, part of the dehumanized existence in the story's setting. However, as the story unfolds, we see Ford's character, Rick Deckard, slowly come alive again and recover some humanity while pursing four escaped replicants.
The replicants, genetically-engineered human cyborgs, that Deckard must hunt down and kill are in many ways more alive than Deckard himself initially. Their escape from an off-world colony has an explicit self-directed purpose, whereas Deckard's life appears to have none other than his job, one that he has tried to give up. By some standards, Deckard and the replicants have thin character development. However, this is a deeply thematic and philosophical film, and as such the characters are the tools of the story's themes. Each character reflects some aspect of humanity or human existence, but they lack others, for each is broken in ways that reflect the broken society in which they live and were conceived/created.
There are several dramatic moments involving life-and-death struggles, but most of these are more subdued than in a normal detective story plot. The film's power is chiefly derived through its stunning visual imagery of a dark futuristic cityscape and its philosophical themes.
Among the themes explored are the following: - The dehumanization of people through a society shaped by technological and capitalistic excess. - The roles of creator and creation, their mutual enslavement, and their role reversal, i.e., the creation's triumph over its creator. - The nature of humanity itself: emotions, memory, purpose, desire, cruelty, technological mastery of environment and universe, mortality, death, and more. - Personal identity and self-awareness. - The meaning of existence.
If you are not someone who naturally enjoys contemplating such themes, the film's brilliance may be lost on you. The climax involves a soliloquy that brings many of the themes together in a simple yet wonderfully poetic way. Anyone who "gets" the film should be moved by this; others will sadly miss the point and may prefer watching some mindless action flick instead.
"Blade Runner" is a masterpiece that deserves recognition and long remembrance in film history.
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