2019 doesn’t seem too far from today. Now, where the hell are those new wave-stylized cyborgs at?
It’s the year 2019, and all sorts of sci-fi futuristic craziness is going on. “Replicants” (or robots, take your pick) that look, smell, sound, and feel like humans are slowly, but surely going extinct, but the ones who are still left around to roam the Earth, are looking for their creator in hopes of making more of these replicants and hopefully prolonging their existence. This is where Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford) comes in to save the day, or will he? See, the problem with Deckard is that he isn’t necessarily your go-to cop when you need something done, and done the right way. For starters, he’s a bit of a pissant, doesn’t like his job, somewhat sloppy in terms of his fighting skills, and now, to top all of that off, he’s fallen for a fellow cyborg in the form of Rachael (Sean Young) who isn’t as deadly as these other ones who want to take over the world, but still shows herself to be a threat to the case Deckard is handling, as well as himself.
Well, well, well. Where do I begin with this bad boy? I know, let’s start from the history of all this and how I somehow, someway, get thrown into the mix, shall we?
Anyway, knowing about this movie beforehand on countless occasions, I’ve tried to get through it all, but yet, no matter how hard I may try, I never succeeded in the completion of this movie. I’ve always either watched it, found it to be too slow, and lost interest, or, watched it, wasn’t in the right frame of mind, distracted, found it to be too slow, and lost interest. Basically, they were both the same problems, with the same outcome, and that’s because the movie’s pace really took me for a loop. I can handle slow movies that need to be so in order to build characters, tension, plot, and an overall atmosphere to the whole proceedings, but the numerous times I’ve seen this movie, knowing the hype that surrounds it, I just felt like it was too deliberate for its own good. It almost felt like Ridley Scott wanted to make the definitive mix of sci-fi and noir, that he didn’t really care about much else in the flick other than handling his plot. To me, back in those early days of my film watching/reviewing, it seemed like a stingy act on his part; but now, after many, many movies have been watched, reviewed, and studied, I think it was the most brilliant act he performed on this whole movie’s behalf.
Well, that and the visuals as well, but that’s another story for later one. Let’s just continue to focus on the plot and the way Scott handles it, especially since it gives this movie a whole down-and-out, dirty vibe that too many modern, big-budget sci-fi flicks are scared to even touch, all because they fear they may scare away the audience members looking for lasers, aliens, spacecrafts, and all sorts of explosions. If you are that type of audience member and if those are your favorite things to see in a sci-fi movie, then go watch Star Wars or Star Trek, and don’t even bother with this movie. Not only does this movie have a slow-as-molasses pace that’s more than likely to have you drinking three cups of coffee in the first 30 minutes, just in hopes of making it through the whole near-two hours, but it doesn’t really have much lasers, aliens, spacecrafts, or even explosions for that matter, nor does it need to.
What Scott relies on the most here, other than his beautiful look of the movie, is the pacing and how it continues to give you more and more detail about the story we are watching unfold in front of our own very eyes; the character’s we are getting to know from the inside, and the out; and the future that Scott’s envisioned for us (originally done by Philip K. Dick, every sci-fi’s go-to novel guy), that not only puts you deep into a dark place where bad things happen on a regular, normal basis, but in a future where it almost never ceases to stop raining. I know, it’s a little dumb fact, but it’s always something I noticed and it just added more to the whole cold and muggy mood of the movie, giving the story more of a compelling feel, and also adding more stipulations onto why these replicants taking over the world matter, and why we should cheer on somebody like Deckard in the first place.
Speaking of Deckard, I can’t say that Harrison Ford was the most perfect pick for the guy, however, something tells me that Scott pitched it to him, and the dude absolutely loved it. And back in ’82, working with Harrison Ford was an offer you did not want to turn down so Ford gave it all that he could, despite the character being a little bit of a sheep-dog in terms of how he puts up his dukes and goes about certain scenes in the movie. See, the odd thing about Deckard, is that he does have this icy-cold front where he’s always making smart-ass comments and not really caring about those that he’s around that may have a problem with him; and yet, he’s a bit of a wimp. Not only does he get his rump beaten-up on more than a few occasions (by ladies no less), but he almost always resorts to his laser gun whenever he finds himself in a rut. Which, in case you haven’t been able to find out by now, is ALL OF THE TIME. And it’s not like I’m getting on Ford’s case or anything here, because he does a nice job with what he’s given, it’s just that the character of Deckard seems like such a normal, average dude that not only does it seem the slightest bit implausible that he would be considered a no-nonsense, take-no-crap cop of the near-future, but that he would be portrayed by the same guy who made a living off of those sorts of roles. Some may say this role is “iconic”, in regards to how he was naturally-written in order to give him more of a humane-feel, which I will not argue against, but putting Ford in this lead role definitely wasn’t the best action on Scott’s choice.
However, that’s just a blip on the radar compared to all of the great decisions Scott made with this movie, so I think it’s safe enough to just let it slip.
Everybody fares a lot better than Ford, and that’s mainly because they feel right for the material and live it up in all their campy, over-the-top, 80’s glory. The most impressive out of this cast that I can’t go on any further without mentioning is definitely Rutger Hauer who broke big with his role as the leader of these replicants, Roy Batty, a pretty effed-up and sadistic dude in his own right that proves a great foil for the straight-laced Deckard. Hauer’s a great villain and when you give him a role that he can sink his teeth into, he will gladly do so and give you the type of performance you oh so desire from him. He’s proved it time and time again in the past couple of years, but it was here where he first proved this fact and made us scared to high heavens as to what he was going to do Deckard, hell, scratch that, the human race once he got his hands around its throat. But, like with the best-written villains, there’s more to Batty than meets the eye and when we find out the real being behind what he’s perceived as, then it will not only bring a tear to your eye, but make you realize the type of movie you’ve been watching all along. And yes, I am talking about the infamous “Tears in Rain” soliloquy which totally lives up to the hype and legend surrounding it; which is all thanks to Hauer and his sure genius of making somebody more than they may be originally seen as. Good decision on his behalf, bad on anybody else’s out there who want take a look at this guy already and give him another shot. Come on, Hollywood!
Like I said before though, everybody else gets their time to shine and do what they do best, and it serves as a fun flashback to all of the stars that were big in the 80’s, and how some of their careers have sort of gone haywire since then. I’m talking mainly about Sean Young, but hey, she had a pretty damn solid run for the longest time in the 80’s-early-90’s, and her role as Rachael is what started it all. Not only was she a pleasure to look at, but she gave another character that could have easily been written off as literally “painfully robotic”, and instead, gives Deckard an unusual love-interest, yet, a very believable one since you can tell that guy wants somebody in his life to love and behold, no matter if that other person is a human or not. Pretty weird if you ask me, but hey, I’m not Rick Deckard, and thank heavens for that! But I do wish I was Harrison Ford. That is something I will not thank the heavens for. Damn you, heavens! Damn you!
Consensus: The idea that Blade Runner may not be all that it’s been hyped-up to be since it debuted so poorly back in the summer of ’82, may not be welcomed by most die-hards, but the fact of the matter remains is that it is one of the better sci-fi flicks out there because it pays attention to what matters the most in any good story: Characters, development, story, plot, and pacing. That’s all that you need and that’s what Scott executed perfectly, along with some beautiful visuals to appeal to the eyes.
8.5 / 10 = Matinee!!
BTW, which version of the film did you see as there’s a lot of different versions of the film. I’ve seen the original 1982 theatrical version and the 1992 director’s cut version as I prefer the latter since it didn’t feature a lot of voice-over narration. There’s also a final cut version Scott made some years ago which I haven’t seen but do have in my DVR queue.
The version I did in fact see was the ’92 director’s cut which was good. Very good, in fact.
I watched this once and didn’t like it, but I think it was because I was expecting something more like Star Wars or Indiana Jones (or Total Recall, also based on a Phillip K. Dick story). I’ll have to watch it again.
It’s not the fun, action-packed movie that we come to expect from Harrison Ford’s choosing. However, there is more to it than meets the eye, which makes it more worth watching.
As per Bill’s comment, I watched it once, didn’t particularly love it and now need to watch it again!
I think you may need to. Maybe even a different version of the movie?
I agree with just about everything you had to say about Blade Runner. While it is not perfect, it is one of the better sci-fi movies around.
It is one of the more emotional, thought-provoking sci-fi pieces out there, but not the masterpiece that it’s made out to be.
Well, I am one of those die-hard fans who can see it over and over again, who knows every line and track of the film. While I would give it a 10 out of 10 any day I will admit that it takes time to get into it. I was not always a fan. It took 3-4 viewings to get there, precisely because it is slow paced and a bit confusing at times. The major selling point is the ambience. It is supreme to the extent that it almost does not matter what any of the characters do or say.
The look and feel of the movie is amazing, because it places you into this world that you never expected to see ever. However, the script did have its problems.
One of my favorites of all time. I definitely recommend you watch The Final Cut, it’s a lot better than the original. Really great review man, but only an 8.5?
So I hear. I watched the Director’s Cut and I think that was good enough.
I’ve only seen The Final Cut. I plan to get the four-disc set of each version and review each print separately, though that won’t happen until next year.
Damn! You truly are a fan, my friend.
I would get the Blu-ray set with the extra workprint version but I don’t have a Blu-ray player.On top of that, I keep the soundtrack in my car and play it when it rains.
Yup, super fan indeed. Did you want to beat me up after reading this review?
No not at all. It’s just one of those films where the opinions are widely scattered despite the general consensus.
Yeah, I guess you’re used to it. There will continue to be more and more differentiating opinions on this until the world ends. And even then, who knows if whatever’s left will still be discussing this movie.
Just wait until 2019 and we’ll see how far we’ve come.
After checking in2 “A Scanner Darkly” (something I probably wouldn’t have touched if a certain someone was in it), I figured I’d check into other Philip K. Dick movies to get a comparison. Of Scanner, Minority Report, The Adjustment Bureau and Blade Runner, my favorite was “Minority Report”. The plot was intriguing and except for a few bits and pieces here and there, I felt like it was the most entertaining and best-handled effort.
“Blade Runner” has one thing in common with it that provided the “wow” factor for me… and it was the visual effects. The look of the city overall was just so cool and right now it has me thinking about how the movie is considered a “futuristic western”. Aside from that, the plot came and went for me. I thought Harrison Ford’s voiceover sounded completely out of place and just… not very good. But that’s just me. (I believe the die-hard nerds refer to that as the theatrical version… I’d also heard the director’s cut was a lot better). By the end, the intrigue stayed and I did get through the movie. It just didn’t hold my attention as much as I would have liked.
The director’s cut I watched didn’t feature a voice-narration, however, I hear that there’s more problems than just that going on.
Blade Runner was just never my cup of tea. I’ve watched and loved a lot of slow-developing movies, but BR just lurches forward so deliberately it’s like its trying to put me to sleep. I will say the visuals are fantastic, though.
I felt like it was trying to do that too, for the first couple of times I watched it. Then, I began to watch it and more and more, I found it was meant to be told as slow as this.
Nice review. The first time I saw Blade Runner, I liked it but it felt kind of slow. The second time it blew me away. One of the best sci-fi movies of all time in my opinion.Try checking out the final cut, that’s the best version.
It really gets you going once you know what to expect. However, you have to know about that going right into it.
Not seen this for quite some time, really need to check it out again. I liked it but wasn’t blown away. Sounds like one that gets better with more viewings.
It does get better in that way. All because you know what to expect.
Oh man – I can’t believe it took you a while to get through this film! I LOVE it. Classic. Nice review, though. 🙂
Waah! At the start of this review it seemed pretty much like you hated this movie, which is somehow awesome (go figure). The idea of Harrison Ford being kind of a regular guy, a wimp, and a bit of a loser is actually fairly appealing to me. It’s just such an interesting departure. I love him in anything, I guess. You’re right – the film is sci-fi and noir blended, which is what’s cool about it. And it’s so beautifully shot. I can’t decide – I love it and CAN watch it right through (except for when they “get” their creator – ugh…), but you’re right – it iS kinda boring. Make me another pot! Think I’ll watch this one again tonight.
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