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  • Justin Louallen

Blade Runner (1982) - Written Retro Review

Justin here. With the release of Blade Runner 2049, I decided to watch the first Blade Runner from 1982 for the very first time. Yes, I know it's hard to believe that I've never seen it until now, but I just wanted to finally take the time to watch it. The original Blade Runner is directed by Ridley Scott and stars Harrison Ford, Sean Young, Rutger Hauer, and Edward James Olmos. The story takes place in the retrofitted neo-noir world of Los Angeles, 2019 where a police officer named Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford) comes out of retirement for one last job to track down and "retire" bioengineered androids known as replicants that have come to Earth illegally. Along the way, he meets a beautiful advanced replicant named Rachael, who was built by the same company the other replicants came from called the Tyrell Corporation. The replicants lead by Roy Batty (Rutger Hauer) plan to find a way to extend their life-span due to their physical bodies only lasting for four years and it's up to Deckard to stop them. The question of morality comes into play as Deckard also starts to learn more about Rachael who is convinced that she may be human due to her past memories. Out of the many versions of Blade Runner, I decided to pick the Final Cut from 2007 and I'm very happy that I did because I absolutely admired this film. To start off with my pros: I loved Harrison Ford as Deckard. He is very nuanced in this and you get the sense that he doesn't like the idea of him having to kill the replicants because of something that I don't want to go into detail because it's become a topic that's actually been debated over the years about. I also enjoyed the rest of the performances as well including Sean Young as Rachael, who is very compelling and emotional with her character learning more about herself throughout. The performance that stands out for me the best is Rutger Hauer. I am actually quite shocked that he wasn't nominated for an Academy Award for his performance as Roy Batty. As the leader of the replicants, he gives it his absolutely best bringing in such a cold, articulate, and haunting performance that I consider now my favorite of his films. Even though he may be a typical villain, I really bought into his motive why he wanted to keep going on as a replicant and he does some brutal things along the way. Plus, his speech at the end is one of the best I've heard for a villain. I loved the way the film's narrative played out like a detective story, with Deckard learning more about the replicants and it feels more like a slow burn film that takes it's time with it's characters and their themes rather than a full on action/sci-fi film that we typically get these days. The biggest compliment I give to this film is the visual design. The world in this is outstanding. The cinematography by Jordan Cronenwerth gives this a very film-noir-ish quality that even though it takes place in the future, it still has an old school 30s or 40s vibe that enhances the world and the story into a whole new level. From the buildings that show the visual images of the Japanese woman, to the flying cars known as "spinners", to the rainy atmosphere, everything is such a spectacle. The visual design in this film alone impacted many other science fiction films including The Fifth Element and Ghost In The Shell. I also loved how brutal it gets in parts too, especially when you see the way the replicants can handle pain or even cause pain to others. If I had any minor cons, it would be that there are one or two sequences throughout that I was having a little bit to adjust that would probably require repeat viewings to understand. This is more of a thinking man's type movie, which I get into, but, it takes a lot of thoughts to process on the themes such as dreams, reality, humanity, etc. I also felt like they did kind of underuse the strength of what the replicants could do, especially one instance that was off-screen. With that being said though, I highly recommend Blade Runner. Some day I might get all of the versions on Blu Ray and see the differences of each one. I'm going to give the first Blade Runner a 9.5/10. What are your thoughts on it? Leave me comment below and I'll see you on my next review.

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