SYNOPSIS:In Los Angeles 2019 man is able to create cloned humans, replicants, who are vastly superior to their creators. After violent outbreaks by the replicants they have been deemed illegal on earth, to be exterminated on site by special police called Blade Runnerís. Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), Los Angeles greatest Blade Runner, is forced to retire a group of escaped replicants led by Roy Batty (Rutger Hauer). Through his daunting hunt he finds himself falling in love with one replicant while he is forced to kill others. Deckardís life seemed so simple, but his latest case will have him questioning the precariousness nature of life.
In the future humans have destroyed God as he is no longer needed to breathe life into the world. Humans toil to create new humans, replicants, into slavery for humanityís well-being. These replicants were built with a four year life so that they could only serve, and not rival their masters.
Originally titled ďDo Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,Ē Blade Runner was a book written by the posthumous Philip K. Dick. Anyone who has read Dickís work will know his themes often deal with what it means to be human. Blade Runner asks what it means to have a soul? Are you a unique individual with a soul, or just a happy accident who separates themselves from the world by your own self importance?
This is probably the third review I have written for a Ridley Scott film, but his first works have become so influential. Blade Runner isnít an original story; Scott actually ripped-off the old film-noir detective stories of the 1940ís and set it in a futuristic Los Angeles. And Blade Runner is dark. There are only about two scenes in the daylight one while the sun is setting and the other just as night turns into day. Scottís greatest talent is to draw an audience into his created universe and have us accept it with no questions asked. This is a very unique talent and it is why I keep reviewing Ridley Scott films.
Harrison Ford is the classic anti-hero who is a slob, drinks too much, doesnít like people, but is the best at what he does. The heroine doesnít love him, but he forces her too because itís the only way he knows how. His character Deckard is actually a facsimile of Philip Marlowe, the seedy detective written by Raymond Chandler, and made famous in movies like the Big Sleep and The Long Goodbye.
A while ago I was questioning whether Harrison Ford was actually a good actor or if his star power (think Air Force One) preceded him. After watching Blade Runner there is no question of his talent. He may never play the type of roll Peter Lorre or Will Ferrell make famous, but look at him heís the hero! Heís really at his best when he plays morally ambiguous characters.
Ford also works best with other talented actors and here he gets to work with the vastly underrated Rutger Hauer. In Blade Runner Hauer carries half the movie as Roy Batty the leader of rogue replicants set on achieving a longer life. He kills those in his path, but years of slavery and persecution have left him deranged. We feel Royís pain and learn to see his misguided ways. In this way Hauer proves his skill by showing emotion rather than having a script explain it for the audience.
The film also has notable actors Edward James Olmos, who has achieved recent fame in the new Battle Star Galacta, and Daryl Hannah. Olmos plays the mysterious detective Gaff, and in one of her first movie roles Hannah stars as Pris the disturbed lover of Roy Batty.
From the beginning we know Deckard has to kill the replicants, but as an audience we feel sadness as one of the replicants is shot in the back and dies a pitiful death cascading through panes of glass. Did they really deserve to die so horribly? Why is the establishment so quick to take a life? The humans in this film live fearing death without enjoying their lives; whereas replicants take every chance to make their lives more meaningful. They prove to be more human that human. If you donít catch all this the movie is a great detective thriller too. Originally the film wasnít a critical success. Roger Ebert gave the film thumbs down, but years later went on to say he was wrong. Blade Runner also has the reputation for being one of the first filmís to have a directors cut. Originally the film included a voice over and a different ending. Due to Ridley Scottís constant perfectionism he was finally given a chance to re-cut the film closer to his original vision. The major difference in the two cuts is the question of whether or not Deckard is a replicant.
Iíve seen Blade Runner too many times to count, but I recently got the chance to see it on the big screen at the Bloor theatre, and it made me appreciate how brilliant the film is.