Blade Runner

Blade Runner is a movie about a hard-bitten bounty hunter and a human killing machine - literally! But by the end of the movie we find ourselves rooting for both of them - in our minds they are the true heroes of the movie. How can that be?

Review by SAndman
September 13, 2008

Blade Runner Movie

Director: Ridley Scott

story: Philip K. Dick
screenplay: Hampton Fancher and David Peoples

Harrison Ford as Rick Deckard
Rutger Hauer as Roy Batty
Sean Young as Rachael
Daryl Hannah as Pris
M. Emmet Walsh as Bryant
Edward James Olmos as Gaff

Released: 1982

Deckard: Replicants are like any other machine - they're either a benefit or a hazard. If they're a benefit, it's not my problem.

Part of that is how well-written these characters are - Deckard, Roy Batty, and the others. We accept them as absolutely believable and compelling, if flawed, characters. Add to that a great ensemble of actors, engrossing plot and class-act directing by Ridley Scott.

The movie is based on Philip K. Dick's seminal short novel "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep", but unlike many other movies based of Dick's works which did not translate well onto the silver screen, this one does not fret under the shadow of its literary model. It takes Dick's story to a new level and adds so many new layers. Perhaps the greatest compliment came from Dick himself, who, upon seeing the screening, said: "All I can say is that the world in Blade Runner is where I really live."

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Rick Deckard is a blade runner - a kind of job you do for your sins. He is approached by his old boss with a proposition to track down and "retire" four runaway replicants, or androids so similar to humans in appearance and behavior that only specially trained police officers, or blade runners, could tell the difference. Their names are Roy Batty, Pris, Leon and Zhora. All well-nigh indestructible, all highly dangerous.

In the course of the movie Deckard meets a whole spate of interesting characters - some beneficial to his mission, the others not so - from all walks of life. As all good detective stories go, Deckard finds out that the truth is far more complex than he initially thought. He will be forced to redefine his attitudes and loyalties as his search for clues turns into soul-search, and a manhunt he embarked on shifts into high gear.

Blade Runner has a unique and visionary look and feel. Some motifs which were first seen here have since become the staple of science fiction movies, for instance, a very palpable sense of paranoia - so typical of many of Dick's stories - unlikely hero, who looks like he came straight off the pages of hard-boiled fiction, retro-fitted future, which abounds with images of decay and desolation - rundown hotels, shadowy alleys, rain-laden dark skies pierced by the occasional flashes of omnipresent police spinners and glaring ads.

The movie encompasses so many themes: loneliness, a love story and the exploration of humanity. You can watch it as a science fiction parable of a dystopian future, a subtle critique of capitalism, or simply a damn good yarn. There is just one problem with this movie - a high addiction factor, so keep it away from children, family members and close friends.

Oh yeah, another thing, if you are looking for a fast-paced flick to help you veg out after a hard day's work, you might want to think twice - Blade Runner is a kind of movie that grabs you by the collar and won't let go till it shakes you out of your complacency. It digs deep and leaves no viewer unmoved. Think of it as Voight-Kampff test of sorts.

What SF Movie Fans Say ...

Debra Rogers (Jackson, MS, USA):

Blade Runner came at a time in history when escape from reality kept the world from crushing in on me. Also, at a time humanity needed this same help. The walls crumbled instead of crushing and then inhumane became humane. Was Harrison Ford human or not? He was in the end. The Best Movie for my life.

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