Details: Originally released in 1982. Apparently there are many version of the original Blade Runner movie out there. I watched The Final Cut version which was released in 2007. Directed by Ridley Scott. Stars Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, Sean Young. About two hours long.
Blade Runner is often revered for its influence on modern cinema and science fiction. This review isn’t going to deal with any of that. This is just going to be a standard review based on my enjoyment. I can say without a doubt… Blade Runner was okay.
Blade Runner takes place in a fictional setting in the year 2017. Human are colonizing outer space and have achieved technological marvels, like replicants. Replicants are artificial humans made and used for manual labor or sex entertainment among other things. They are generally stronger and fast, but have much shorter life spans than regular humans. Harrison Ford plays a blade runner, a government officer who tracks down rogue replicants and kills them. This story centers on Ford’s character and his tracking of four rogue replicants.
I think the most striking thing about this film and likely its greatest contribution is the tone, cinematography and the art direction. There is a lot going on in every shot and you really get a sense that the makers of this movie gave a lot of thought and spent a lot of time designing a very detailed world in which the film takes place. It’s so impressive I found myself wondering at what the budget was because some of these sets are amazing.
The story itself is fine. It’s your standard police mystery, except set in a science fiction setting. The film briefly entertains some existential science fiction questions, but I think the primary goal of this movie was to explore this world and show off some pretty shots.
It’s worth noting that this is an R rated movie. That means there’s nudity, blood and gore. Additionally, there’s a love scene in here that — though there’s no nudity — made me a bit uncomfortable given the recent developments in the news regarding Harvey Weinstein and Hollywood’s long history of sexual assault and rape. This particular scene is particularly rape-y and kind of implies that if you can get it in, she will fall in love with you… at least if she’s a robot. Not very appropriate given the times. Actually, it was probably a messed up message to convey in 1982.
Overall, the movie was okay. Ignoring the film’s role in cinematic history, I found the film mostly interesting because of its setting. It is an elaborate, detailed, artistic setting. It also has a very 1980’s vibe, which is unsurprising considering when it was made. Would I recommend this movie? If you are planning to see Blade Runner 2049 and you want some context, then sure. This film is good enough to sit through. If you have no interest in watching Blade Runner 2049 or in science fiction, then this movie can easily be skipped. While pretty good, this movie is not a masterpiece and certainly not essential viewing.