CLASSIC REVIEW: Blade Runner (1982)

Final Cut Release Poster – Warner Bros.

The following is a review of Blade Runner: The Final Cut – Directed by Ridley Scott

When people want to start reading comic books with their favorite characters from the big screen, they often become very confused about where to start. There are so many different versions, issues, and volumes that it is not an easy hobby to start. Similarly, some movies and franchises seem too complicated to get into. Sometimes people say they won’t start watching Star Trek or Star Wars because, to them, it feels like you need an extensive guide to start.

It is almost like you have to do homework to watch and enjoy the content. This Ridley Scott science-fiction neo-noir film is one of those confusing films. The subject matter isn’t particularly confusing, but if you’ve ever met someone who likes the film, then you’ve probably been given an impromptu guide on how to watch the film, or, rather, how not to watch it.

This is a review of what is referred to as the ‘Final Cut,’ an edition of Blade Runner released in 2007 to coincide with the 25th-Anniversary of the film’s release. You see, even though there is a version out there referred to as the ‘Director’s Cut,’ that version is a bit of a misnomer.

Because the ‘Final Cut’ is, supposedly, the only version of the film that director Ridley Scott had complete control over. Does it sound confusing yet? Because it always has to me. Thankfully, Blade Runner is a pretty great and classic movie of its genre. You’re going to want to watch it.

Blade Runner, which is based loosely on Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, is a science-fiction neo-noir film set in a dystopian Los Angeles in 2019. The film follows Rick Deckard (played by Harrison Ford), who is essentially a retired detective from the Blade Runner-unit.

These ‘Blade Runners’ set out to retire (i.e. kill) these androids called ‘replicants.’ In the film, Deckard is reluctantly re-hired to track down and kill four replicants that have come to Earth in an effort to possibly extend their lives beyond their strict four-year lifespan. That is about as much as I’ll say about the plot.

Blade Runner is one of the most thematically rich science-fiction films, perhaps, of all-time. The film is also remarkably influential, and I dare say almost every single futuristic science-fiction film since then has at least a splinter of Blade Runner-DNA in it. As such, it is one of the more important films of its genre.

The one thing that everyone — even the people that dislike Blade Runner — agree on is the fact that the film is not just visually stunning, but that it also is a visually groundbreaking movie. Scott pairs a mesmerizing score with a dirty and dark futuristic version of Los Angeles, which, today, doesn’t seem all that far-fetched anymore. The visuals are impressive and they don’t look all that dated to me. It is the farthest thing from old-fashioned, because Blade Runner was ahead of its time.

Although Ford’s character is the protagonist of the film, he doesn’t really carry the heart of the film — surprisingly, the antagonist does. Rutger Hauer plays one of the replicants that Deckard is hunting, and his search for answers and a new lease on life leads us to one of the most iconic ending monologues in film history. It is fantastic.

Now, as you may or may not know, the Final Cut — unlike the original release — suggests a thing or two about one of the lead characters. Just in case you haven’t seen the film, I won’t point out what that is. But, I’ll say this, I like the fan speculation caused by the changes, even though some might argue it doesn’t quite make sense. Ultimately, I think the changes strengthen, or, at the very least, add to Blade Runner‘s central theme — humanity.

Personally, I think Blade Runner is one of those movies that gets better the more you watch it. It’s almost like you need considerable time to soak in the grimy puddles of rain water of the dystopian Los Angeles in 2019 to properly appreciate it. Blade Runner grows on you, but I don’t think it is an easy movie to love.

It, perhaps, is not very rewarding the first time you watch it. To be honest with you, Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner is a movie that I didn’t love at first — I hadn’t fallen for it until I saw it for a second or third time. Blade Runner isn’t a crowdpleaser; it is existentialist science-fiction art on the big screen, and if you are ready to watch it, then I’d recommend the definitive version — the Final Cut.

9.5 out of 10

– Jeffrey Rex

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