Blade Runner (1982) Review

Director: Ridley Scott

Genre(s): Drama, Science-Fiction, Thriller

Runtime: 117 minutes

MPAA Rating: R

IMDb Page

According to Wikipedia, seven cuts of the science-fiction classic Blade Runner exist. What follows is a review of the version dubbed “The Final Cut,” which is the only edition where director Ridley Scott had complete creative control. Set in a dystopian, urban future, a specialized police officer known as a “blade runner,” Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), must hunt down a group of killer synthesized humans who are almost impossible to differentiate from normal humans. Does this acclaimed movie live up to the hype?

Blade Runner is simply one of the most visually dazzling films ever released. The special effects and set design are astonishing. The rain-swept, neon-lit city that the picture takes place in is like a darker, dirtier, more menacing version of the urban jungle from Metropolis (1927). This visionary flick has some serious nocturnal energy, which works in its favor. The “Tears in Rain” monologue lives up to its lofty reputation. The musical score from Vangelis is melancholic (like the production as a whole) and atmospheric. Blade Runner can feel a little cold at first, but, by the time the end credits roll, you’re glad that you watched it.

Going into this excellent work, one shouldn’t expect an action movie. Yes, there are a couple of gripping action scenes and plenty of sumptuous visual effects, but this is really a neo-noir in a sci-fi setting. Moody lighting, detective work, and run-down locations are the names of the game. Philosophically deep, this thriller delves into the morals and ethics of creating life and the responsibilities creators have towards the created. Personally, I think these issues were handled more interestingly in the horror flick Island of Lost Souls (1932) and the sci-fi drama A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001), though they’re not boring here by any means.

The reception of Blade Runner was mixed upon its initial release. However, as different cuts of the film have emerged, it’s become regarded as a must-watch movie. The insane art direction and thick atmosphere make it one of the sci-fi greats, and the presence of Harrison Ford certainly doesn’t hurt it. My take is that if you don’t expect a full-bore action extravaganza, you’ll probably end up enjoying it considerably. Also, what’s up with those creepy robots in J.F. Sebastian’s (William Sanderson) apartment? Why aren’t those talked about more?

My rating is 8 outta 10.

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