Blade Runner: The Final Cut
Notice: This review is specifically for Blade Runner: The Final Cut, which is considered the definitive version by Ridley Scott due to differences in plot and characterization in accordance with his original creative vision.
Ah, this film. Ladies and gentlemen, Blade Runner is some sort of divine presence in cinematic history. Everybody loves it and I have no idea why. Directed by Ridley Scott and starring Harrison Ford as Rick Deckard, bounty hunter of replicants (cloned synthetic humans engineered for slave labor) such as the sociopathic Roy Batty, played by Rutger Hauer. Replicants are illegal on Earth because they have a tendency to get pissed about being slaves and murder people.
Most importantly, it’s the father of all cyberpunk.
It’s also based off the novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep by Philip K. Dick, like another eighties cinematic masterpiece, Total Recall. Yes, that was sarcastic.
And you know something? I have absolutely no idea how to feel about this film. Mainly because it just hasn’t aged well. It takes place in a 2019 where we’ve colonized other planets and are cloning slave labor. In our 2014, we can’t even get back to the moon and Mattel can’t even build a proper hover-board.
Also the soundtrack, while deliciously eighties, is still, well, eighties. And sometimes it steals some middle-eastern influences, but it’s still not clear whether that makes it even more dated or less, because that kind of thing might be making a resurgence.
In short, Blade Runner is a victim of the Seinfeld Effect. You have a situation where back in it’s day, this fictional work pioneered an entirely new field and was sparkly and new.
And then everybody copied it and raped the concept like beating a dead horse. Not only that, but the people who copied the concept were able to mature the concept and prune out the weeds, so the copies are actually better with using the concept than the original work.
Hence the movie feels tired and stale. “But Jacob, can’t you admit that it was a fresh concept back in it’s day?” Yes, reader, yes I can. The problem is that it isn’t a fresh concept now, and I’m watching it now, not in the eighties.
Hell, even if I was in the eighties, I probably only would have seen it because “Hey, that’s Han Solo!” or “Hey, that’s Indiana Jones!” because Lucasfilm pretty much monopolized Harrison Ford back in those days. You have Empire Strikes Back, then Raiders of the Lost Ark, then Blade Runner, then Return of the Jedi, then Temple of Doom. It’s too much Harrison Ford. How did he even crank out a film every year for five years? That shooting schedule must have been insane, seeing how long it must take to film all these special effects intensive productions.
At least Harrison Ford can relax in retirement without needing to worry about doing another Star Wars film.
Back on topic, I have to take points off this movie for not aging well. Let’s face it, not every movie is going to be 12 Angry Men and stand as a timeless masterpiece. But that doesn’t give movies an excuse to root themselves so deeply in current culture that they can’t be appreciated by future generations.
And while it does have an interesting message about the rights of synthetic life forms and the value of life, that message means absolutely nothing to the viewer because we can’t even create synthetic life forms. It’s some sort of aesop that might not ever even apply to humanity.
Finally there’s just the insanity of the concept of replicants that can just blend into society. I think the late Roger Ebert put it best. Why don’t you just give the replicants four arms? They can do double the workload and their nature as replicants will be obvious since, well, they have four fucking arms. You don’t need to pay these blade runner fellows or invent these funky Voight-Kampff Tests because you can just identify them by going “Oh hey, it’s a guy with four arms! Must be a replicant.”
Hell if you can’t give them four arms you could at least put a big red dot on their forehead or something.
I will give this movie some positive points though, and that’s for the incredibly engaging ending. The only problem with the ending is that you shouldn’t only be engaging the viewer when the movie has already fucking ended.
To be honest, I’m not sure if I can recommend this movie. I’m really, really not sure. If you can mentally get over the hump that the dating provides, it really is an interesting film. You’ll just have to work a bit to push yourself into the proper mindset, and that just isn’t every viewers thing.
Here at PopcornFlicks, we review, well, popcorn flicks. As an action-thriller, Blade Runner was marketed as a popcorn flick, and I’m not sure if it really fits that. Is it a good movie? Sure, it’s an alright movie. Is it a good popcorn movie? No, it really isn’t. You need to think too much in this film, and that just isn’t what popcorn flicks are about. At least not the majority of them. Popcorn movies and thinking movies aren’t mutually exclusive, but it’s very hard to mesh them right.
And it isn’t even a good thinking movie, because when you think about it long enough, perhaps at two in the morning when you can’t sleep so you walk to the kitchen and open the fridge to heat something up in the microwave for a midnight snack, the concept doesn’t make any fucking sense. The movie doesn’t make any fucking sense.
You will only enjoy this movie if you want your brain to do somersaults when you watch it, and that just isn’t an experience I’m interested in.