“Blade Runner” (Final Cut)


MOVIE REVIEW: “Blade Runner” stars Harrison Ford (Star Wars, Raiders of the Lost Ark), Sean Young (Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, Stripes), Rutger Hauer (Batman Begins, Sin City), Edward James Olmos (Battlestar Galactica [TV series], 2 Guns), M. Emmet Walsh (Blood Simple, Christmas with the Kranks), Daryl Hannah (Kill Bill: Vol. 1, A Walk to Remember), William Sanderson (Newhart [TV series], True Blood [TV series]), Joe Turkel (The Shining, Paths of Glory), Brion James (The Fifth Element, Tango & Cash), and James Hong (Kung Fu Panda, R.I.P.D.). It is directed by Ridley Scott (Alien, Gladiator) and the screenplay is written by Hampton Fancher (The Minus Men, The Mighty Quinn) and David Webb Peoples (Unforgiven, Twelve Monkeys [1995]). Based on a book by Philip K. Dick, “Blade Runner” follows an ex-cop living in 2019 named Rick Deckard (Ford) who is called back to work when four replicants, robots genetically made to look and feel like humans, arrive to earth. Being illegal on our planet, it is Deckard’s job to track them down and “retire” them before they cause massive destruction.

In the spirit of “Blade Runner 2049” releasing in theaters (I know, it’s been out a while now), I’ve decided to revisit the original. As you all may recall by my original review, I was disappointed by 1982’s “Blade Runner” starring Harrison Ford. I thought it didn’t make much sense, the cinematography was beyond creepy, and I felt no impact having finished it. However, what I witnessed back then was the theatrical cut; the one that most people skip over before landing on this cut: the final cut. I understand if you are one of those people who hates films with many edits. I’m one of them as well, though I am still open to viewing any other form of edit, if it were by the director’s choice. In the case of “Blade Runner,” Ridley Scott hated the theatrical cut. Apparently, the studio heads got their hands on the edit before release, imploring that Scott implement a narration, as well as an extended ending giving a cheesy, Hollywoodish closure that all moviegoers would feel “warm and fuzzy” about. I thought it came off as more of a noir than a sci-fi before watching this final cut, which I never minded being as how I have a fascination with that type of filmmaking. Regardless of how I felt of the first cut, I was approaching a new viewing experience. It came at a great time too. The sequel has released and it’s been a long while since I watched the picture in general, so I was in need of a restart. After seeing the final cut of “Blade Runner,” all I have to say is that it is a story paralleled to a fine wine. I believe that the older I get, the more I will appreciate it, solely because I found a better respect in this viewing than the last. Let me explain why. Aside from it being a different cut, the overall message is the same: identity. How we define ourselves is often explored in the spider-web narrative that is “Blade Runner,” and it takes a lot of sinking in to fully understand it. What I found to be the most admirable quality of Scott’s film is how it never spoon-feeds the audience, besides the onscreen text that gives you a preface of the plot. We are led astray often, walking down the streets of 2019 Los Angeles and surveying a society built around commercialism and diversity. Deckard is among these faces in the crowd, and is tasked to hunt down replicants (androids) who have escape from space to earth. It’s a fairly simple story, though in execution it couldn’t be all the more thick in theme. Whereas the original cut demonstrated Deckard’s investigation alone, this one showed us Deckard’s own struggle with identity, as he himself proves to be a replicant. It’s the “itch you could never scratch” sort of plot device that often works for the story’s benefit. I enjoyed this new side of the movie, which was the one Scott wanted to reveal all along. Slap on new special effects and color grading and you have yourself a well-oiled addition to the sci-fi collection. But, don’t get sold on it yet. I thought that the final cut of “Blade Runner,” while better than the theatrical, was more so interesting than it was enjoyable. I was never in awe at the spectacle of what it was, nor did I tell myself that this was “science fiction gold.” It’s an oddball; one that will leave me puzzled for years to come. The funny thing is, it’s not because of its narrative. At this point, I understand what’s going on. It’s the subtext that I have trouble latching onto. All of the characters in this movie are lost, unattached to the world around them because they are different. It makes you question what is reality; who are we as people? Deckard’s final face-off against the main replicant pokes at this question of identity and discovery with one of the most memorable film quotes of all time. It still has me tearing up, but I am confused as to why. I honestly had little emotion when it came to this plot, but when the replicant talked about what he has seen, my eyes got watery. It’s stuff like this that sends me down a rabbit hole of my own discovery. In regards to the film, that is. For secular people, this could be some mind-blowing stuff to unravel. For Christians, like myself, it may not come off as impactful, solely because we know our identity. I’m not making this a point to get religious because it clearly wasn’t trying to start that argument. “Blade Runner” is simply a case study of finding ourselves, especially when we are created from man and are implanted with fake memories. How do you move on? How do you process it? What do you do when the reality construeds what you believe to be true? It’s interesting stuff, though I didn’t find much solace with “Blade Runner,” mainly because it’s a movie that needs multiple viewings to fully appreciate. At least I think. I don’t know how many more times I will watch it, however I could feel more of a pull by it now than I did the first time. The final cut was certainly better than the theatrical. I thought the clearing of the narration was well-needed, and the implementation of Deckard’s identity added more girth to what the film was trying to push. Also, I couldn’t help but love other aspects of the feature now that I have grown a bit older. For one, the cinematography. It was gorgeous in all its dirtiness and ugliness. Also, the score.. Man, was it terrific. Vangelis was a true genius in entwining noir with sci-fi/techno, making a different sound that I have never heard before. It’s a score worth checking out by itself. Overall, the “Blade Runner” final cut is preferable over the theatrical. Scott cleared up a bunch of wrongs, and I felt a better impact out of this experience than the last. Granted, I don’t find it to be a science fiction masterpiece like others might, but I’m sure it will grow on me in time. FINAL SCORE: 86%= Juicy Popcorn

Here is the trailer:

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