¨I need ya, Decks. This is a bad one, the worst yet. I need the old blade runner, I need your magic.¨
Blade Runner, Ridley Scott`s follow up to Alien, wasn`t a very successful movie at the time it was released. The problem might have been that it was ahead of its time, since this dark futuristic film noir sci-fi film was very different from the rest of the sci-fi films that were being released like Star Wars or E.T. The Extraterrestrial, which came out that same year and had a more light and entertaining mood. The problem with Blade Runner is that it`s a much darker film and far more complicated. I really enjoyed this movie, although I don’t consider it a masterpiece as most people do. This movie has become a cult film several years after its release and is among the best sci-fi films in the history of cinema. The dark screenplay was adapted by Hampton Fancher and David Webb Peoples from Philip K. Dirk`s famous fiction novel ¨Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?¨ I have to admit that I watched the director`s cut version without the voice over from Harrison Ford`s character so I really don`t know if it was better that way or not, but from what I understand Ford`s voiceover wasn’t very good. Although one would assume that the voice over would definitely give it a more film noir vibe to it. The best thing about Blade Runner definitely is the great artistic direction where there is a very dark mood thanks to the use of lots of black and grey and a lot of smoke. Scott`s vision of the future isn`t a very bright one and there is a sense of pessimism that reigns all over the film, including in its main characters.
The film takes place in the city of Los Angeles during 2019 where Earth is no longer the only planet humans can live on. Most people have left to other planets with the promise of a better life and new opportunities where they can achieve their dreams and goals. Technology has also advanced in such a way that human`s have been able to create androids that are so similar to humans that it`s almost impossible to differentiate them. These ¨replicants¨ are used mostly to do the dirty work in the colonies outside of Earth. The company that has produced these special robots is run by Tyrell (Joe Turkel) who has given his latest replicants a lifespan of only four years in order to control them and make sure they don`t develop such complex emotions that will make it impossible to differentiate them from real humans. The only way to differentiate these robots is through a psychological test called the VK test. Blade runners are police detectives who specifically work on hunting down these replicants and putting them down since they aren`t allowed to live on Earth. Deckard (Harrison Ford) is an ex blade runner living in Los Angeles who seems quite displeased with life. His ex boss, Bryant (M. Emmet Walsh) calls for him for one last mission after several dangerous replicants have found their way back to Earth and are causing all sorts of trouble. These replicants are searching for their creator because they want to be given the opportunity to live longer. The replicants that are still on the loose and that he has to hunt down are Roy Batty (Rutger Hauer), Pris (Daryl Hannah), Leon (Brion James), and Zhora (Joanna Cassidy).
Despite having to hunt down the replicants one by one, the film isn’t just your typical action film where you have one persecution after another. There is more depth to the story as these replicants all have personalities of their own and are very different from each other. More than an action film, this is a very dark and obscure sci-fi film noir and it works really well although I did find some aspects of the film a little too weird and bizarre. Harrison Ford was one of the best actors around in the 80`s and he delivers as this sort of tormented character who really begins to question his moral actions. This is a much darker role than those he played in the Indiana Jones and Star Wars franchise. The film also raises several philosophical questions and actually plays out as a parable about discovering who we really are, the search for immortality and not wanting to know the date of our death. How far will mankind go to reach a longer life? Do the means justify the main character`s acts? The film raises several questions and lets the viewer search for their own meaning and answers. It`s been almost 30 years since the film has been released and it still raises a lot of debate amongst fans and there is plenty to discuss about Blade Runner, but I don’t want to give away any spoilers. I still don’t consider this movie as good as Alien, but it is a very well made sci-fi film noir.