By Phillip Guy Ellis (Northampton, England)
Star – Ryan Gosling
Genre – Action> Fantasy> Comic Book
Run Time – 2 hr 44 minutes
Certificate – 15
Country – U.S.A
Oscars – 2 Wins & 5 nominations
Awards – 75 Wins & 120 Nominations
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Blade Runner was one of those profound 80s movies that didn’t really register with me as a teenager. I guess it was too smart and subtle for a boy interested in Bryan Adams and girls. Well 40-years later the replicants are back and Denis Villeneuve (Arrival and Sicario) has been trusted with this precious jewel to film fans and reboot it as a franchise. It seems that reticence for an intelligent science-fiction movie remains though as its lavish $186 million dollar budget pulled back a surprisingly poor $260m to date, pretty shocking for a modern day digital effects late summer blockbuster. Today’s 18-years old prefer Deadpool and The Avengers, I guess. The blade had been polished rather than sharpened.
Villeneuve was nervous about the gig but felt he could do it and when Ridley Scott pulled out late on to do an unneeded Aliens reboot, Villeneuve got the job and delivered a visually stunning and atmospheric movie. That signature look earned cinematographer Roger Deakins his first ever Academy Award for Best Cinematography, thus breaking his 13-nomination dry-spell. Super sexy Ryan Gosling got the lead role to try and pull in that younger date night audience but the rather pretentious Oscar chasing 2 hour 44 minute runtime seems to be the killer. That’s a long time to sit in a cinema for today’s attention span.
• Ryan Gosling as K
• Harrison Ford as Rick Deckard
• Ana de Armas as Joi
• Sylvia Hoeks as Luv
• Robin Wright as Lt. Joshi
• Mackenzie Davis as Mariette
• Carla Juri as Dr. Ana Stelline
• Lennie James as Mister Cotton
• Dave Bautista as Sapper Morton
• Jared Leto as Niander Wallace
• Edward James Olmos as Gaff
• Barkhad Abdi as Doc Badger
• Hiam Abbass as Freysa
• David Dastmalchian as Coco
• Wood Harris as Nandez
• Sallie Harmsen as a replicant
In 2049, replicants (described as “bioengineered humans”) are now the slaves to the remaining humans, the world bleached by global warming and fresh food hard to find.
K (Ryan Gosling), a replicant, works for the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) as a “Blade Runner”, an officer who hunts and “retires” (kills) rogue replicants. A protein farm out in the arid desert is his next job, taking out a big old harmless replicant called Sapper Morton (Dave Bautista), rater reluctant on that score, putting K through the wall before being shut down for good.
His final checks on the site for other replicants using a scan finds a box buried deep under a tree. He calls it in and returns to base for a cleanup team to extract the box. Back at the LAPD lab the box contains the remains of a female replicant but unlike any other, demonstrating something previously thought impossible. K’s superior Lieutenant Joshi (Robin Wright) is fearful that this evidence could lead to a war between humans and replicants. She orders K to find and retire ‘the problem’ to hide the truth.
K visits the swanky Wallace Corporation headquarters (the replicant design company born out of the old Tyrell Corporation) where the skeleton female is identified from DNA archives as Rachael, an experimental replicant designed by Dr. Tyrell. Here K learns of Rachael’s romantic connection with former blade runner Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford).
Wallace CEO Niander Wallace (Jared Leto) is working on the secret to replicant reproduction to expand interstellar colonization and so intrigued to know what K is investigating. He sends his replicant enforcer Luv (Sylvia Hoeks) to steal Rachael’s remains from LAPD headquarters and find out that secret.
K returns to the farm and sees the date 6-10-21 carved into the tree trunk and somehow recognizes it from a childhood memory of a wooden toy horse. Because replicants’ memories are artificial, he cannot know how real that memory is. K has a sexy holographic A.I girlfriend called Joi (Ana de Armas), who believes this is evidence that K was born, not created and his discovery at the farm is more profound than he, a mere LAPD officer, can contemplate.
Good stuff and I enjoyed all the elements you are supposed to with this type of classy intelligent science-fiction movie. Special effects and cinematography are stunning and dominate over the scripting and acting this time around with few profound lines like the original movie. There were some classics in Blade Runner. 2049 looks fabulous and Ridley Scotts vision still alive and well here in the hands of Villeneuve. Roger Deakins Oscar is well deserved as yet again some classic dystopian imagery here.
Acting wise Gosling is solid in the lead and no one else in cinema is as attractive or mesmerizing as him on the big screen. You always feel he has watched a lot of Paul Newman and Steve McQueen films to perfect the silent stare to camera to let the girls know he has got it all on screen. Even Harrisons Ford’s cameo is overshadowed by the Gosling brooding silence. Robin Wright (House of Cards) is morphing into Glen Close every movie while it’s a breeze for Jared Leto as the villain of the piece alongside leggy Dutch actress Sylvia Hoeks as the badass female replicant enforcer.
Plot wise it’s pretty straightforward and once the twist is revealed early on the film gets going. Even though it’s a bum itching near three hours it doesn’t feel like that and surprisingly well paced. The mystery unfolds and the ambiguity over who is human and who is replicant keeps it interesting in the humans weary or robots storyline. What it does do is set up the next movie and one or two more beyond that, no doubt, the real objective here. But after that poor box-office for a film that deserved a lot more people seeing and enjoying it they may have to rethink the PR for the franchise. Gosling’s super cool good looks are clearly not enough to compete with the Marvel stuff in the blockbuster world.
IMDb.com – 8.1/10.0 (275,234votes)
Rottentomatos.com – % critic’s approval
Metacritic.com –81% critic’s approval