After seeing the excellent trailers for the new sequel coming out in December, I went back to revisit the original 1982 BLADE RUNNER.
Widely regarded as one of the best science fiction films ever made (and just as widely considered a slow, boring mess by many non-fans) there is no denying that the film is beautiful to look at, with production design and settings that look just as powerful today as they did 35 years ago when the film was released.
Harrison Ford stars as Deckard, a future detective that tracks down "replicants", near human like robots that have taken over menial and dangerous tasks in a very dark and dreary 2019 Los Angeles.
When four replicants cause mass mayhem and murder and return to Earth, Deckard is assigned to track them down.
He first meets with the Tyrell Corporation that manufactured them. Joe Turkel plays inventor Dr. Tyrell (but for me, he'll always be Lloyd the bartender pouring drinks for Jack Nicholson in "The Shining").
Deckard also meets beautiful replicant Rachael, who's Tyrell's assistant and unaware of her origins.
The film is slow paced but fantastic to watch, wrapping you in a very rainy, black and crowded Los Angeles bathed in spotlights, heavy Asian influence and non-stop advertisements for off-world colonies.
Rutger Hauer is Roy Batty, the fiercest of the rogue imposters and his climactic rooftop battle with Deckard is now film legend.
Daryl Hannah brings a touch of madness to runaway robot Pris, M. Emmit Walsh (Blood Simple, Back To School) is the perfect lead detective and Edward James Olmos brings off-kilter menace to his role as a policeman.
Director Ridley Scott has released so many versions of this classic that it's hard to keep track (and who knows how many variations I've bought on DVD, Blu-Ray, Laserdisc etc) but for this review in July 2017, I watched his recently assembled "FINAL VERSION" which Scott introduces as his favorite.
He's dropped ALL the narration that was so controversial in its original release. It did dumb down the film and remove a lot of its mystery when you heard Ford talking throughout explaining the motivation and "action".
This version leaves you much more in the dark.
Earlier versions raised many questions about Deckard's past, his relationship with Rachael etc, but most of the hard lines are gone, including the once featured happy ending with characters riding off in the sunset.
I do prefer this version that leaves you to a lot of interpretation. It certainly sets up an intriguing scenario for them to explore later this year in action that takes place 31 years later in 2049.
With Denis Villeneuve (Arrival, Sicario) at them Director's helm of BLADE RUNNER 2049, it should be one of the best movies of the year.
The original holds up as an intriguing, mysterious visit to a very dark version of our own world that gets a wet and foggy B.