Harrison Ford almost seems to be on a farewell tour, in which he reprises all of his most famous roles one more time. Two years ago he played Han Solo in the seventh installment of the famous Star Wars franchise, and three years from now he will be playing the role of Indiana Jones one final time. But all eyes are on him this year, as he will be making an appearance in the sequel to the classic science fiction movie Blade Runner. One has to wonder if making a sequel to what was obviously a landmark in science fiction history really is the best idea. Still having seen the first few trailers of the new movie, and the director of the film being Denis Villeneuve, I am cautiously optimistic for it. It is ofcourse a good thing that Harrison himself is also featured in this new one. We will still have to wait a bit for the results though, as the new movie is currently scheduled for an October 2017 release. Which gives everyone a chance to rewatch the original movie, something that I did today.
Blade Runner is set in a dystopian and honestly very dark future. The powerful Tyrell Corporation has made a new type of advanced robot that go by the name replicants. They are almost indistinquishable from humans, and are made to work on off world colonies because of their unique abilities. Replicants are banned from ever returning to Earth punishable by death, although the more humane word they have given for it is retirement. The men and women tasked with hunting them down and retiring them are called Blade Runners. When a group of four recently escaped replicants led by the dangerous Roy Batty are loose in Los Angeles, the expert but kind of washed out Blade Runner Rick Deckard, is given the assignment to find and kill them. But when he meets a very advanced female replicant called Rachael, he is beginning to question what it really means to be human…..
Director Ridley Scott’s vision of the future depicted in this movie is very bleak indeed. Right from the start of the film you get a sense of depression and dark foreboding that doesn’t leave you until the endcredits roll. The scenery created in this movie is absolutely breathtaking, and even though the effects look a bit dated after all these years, they still hold up pretty well. These also help create the atmosphere I just mentioned but an even larger part in that plays the New Age soundtrack created by Vangelis. The haunting synthesizer sounds and melodies that you hear throughout the film, at times make you feel as if the end of the world has finally arrived.
Harrison Ford plays a very different role than the ones that you are used to seeing him play. He depicts a man that is kind of an anti-hero, and he is beginning to ask himself if what he is doing is the right course of action. He also isn’t very likeable, as he is very gruff man without a real sense of humor. But Harrison really manages to pull it off, and I think it is one of the best roles of his career. The role of the replicant leader is played by Dutch actor Rutger Hauer. And his role is the one that impresses the most in this film. His cold demeanor devoid of any humanity, makes it an all the more ironic role, as that is what his character is striving to become: human. Rutger really plays an iconic bad guy, and it is quite a shame that most of the films he played in afterwards were mostly forgettable.
Obviously the theme of this movie is centered heavily on what it really means to be human. It is an age old question, and one we have seen appearing in many science fiction classics. The replicants aren’t necessarily evil, and that’s one of the things that makes this film all the more interesting. What right do humans have to create beings, that are only kept as slave labor, and are taken out when they just want to live? And that is also what we see Deckard struggling with throughout the movie. Strangely enough this is probably only the second time that I have seen this film. Which is why I was surprised a lot by the pacing of the movie. This isn’t an all out action fest, but rather a very slow, but obviously thought provoking movie. Blade Runner certainly won’t be a movie that is going to please everyone. But if you like dark science fiction stories, mixed with good acting and amazing setpieces, it is well worth it to check this movie out. Even after all these years Blade Runner is a science fiction epic, that changed the way we looked at science fiction altogether. Let’s hope the sequel will do it justice.
I give Blade Runner a 9 out of 10 score.