Blade Runner 2049 (2017) Review

Director: Denis Villeneuve

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

Runtime: 164 minutes

MPAA Rating: R

IMDb Page

Set thirty years after the events of Blade Runner (1982), this sci-fi sequel was met with a very enthusiastic response upon its release. Here, a “blade runner” (a futuristic cop who specializes in tracking down rogue synthesized humans) simply known as “K” (Ryan Gosling) uncovers a conspiracy involving the potentiality of the “replicants” (synthetic humans) he hunts to reproduce, sending him off on a journey to locate Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), the now-missing blade runner from the first film. It can’t reach the majestic heights of the original, but I think that this thriller can sit comfortably beside it.

The first thing you may notice about Blade Runner 2049 is how it is about forty-five minutes longer than the first one. It does have a tendency to be a bit more longwinded than the 1982 flick, but it’s not particularly noticeable. I do think that there is more physical action in the sequel, but not by much. Great cinematography can be found here (I love that shot with the fire’s embers flying into the air), yet the overall picture lacks the aching melancholy of the first installment. I just don’t feel the grit and grime as much here.

Ridley Scott, who directed Blade Runner, does not return, with the work being ably helmed by Denis Villeneuve. Harrison Ford, however, does make a comeback, even if it sometimes seems like he’s just doing a version of his grumpy self. Still, the film does light up with his incredible screen presence. He’s older and more grizzled, but he’s still Harrison Ford. The rest of the cast works well, although Jared Leto, as sinister CEO Niander Wallace, feels underutilized.

It’s hard to imagine Blade Runner 2049 being an unqualified success in a vacuum. It needs the 1982 original to lean on. I suppose that makes 2049 the lesser of the two productions. Still, this sequel has a twisty-turny plot that will keep you guessing to the very end and perhaps even make you question reality (just a little bit). If you loved the 1982 movie, I can’t see much harm in watching its sequel, as long as you keep in mind that it’s not going to be as mesmerizing as the first flick.

My rating is 7 outta 10.

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