Another classic movie that I had not seen in a long, long time…
The movie is directed by Ridley Scott and stars Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, Sean Young and Edward James Olmos.
Harrison Ford plays Rick Deckard, a very successful retired Blade Runner, whose job is to track down human-like replicants (androids) that have escaped and to “retire” them. These androids have a five year life-span and will automatically cease to function at that point, but as they near the five years, they begin to develop feelings. The idea is that before they develop too many of these feelings, they are dispatched. There are five replicants that have made their way back to Earth, and Deckard (Ford) is blackmailed into coming out of retirement.
A secondary story revolves around an advanced android unit that is also pre-programmed with fictional memories, and her relationship with Deckard.
This movie is considered a template for a number of dark sci-fi movies to follow, including Ridley’s next movie, Aliens. It is set on Earth in 2019 in a dystopian Los Angeles. It is raining the entire movie, all the sets are generally dark, save for the neon lights of Chinatown. People are sweaty or dirty. There is little humor in the film.
The movie has had a number of versions, including a Director’s Cut, a version with and without narration, a version with a different ending, and a version that added some previously deleted scenes. It polarizes viewers even today and was never really a box office smash.
What struck me about the movie is how short it is. The running time of 116 minutes goes by very quickly. It seems to get very quickly to the crux of the message. Ford shows many of the same emotions from his Star Wars stint, including being a somewhat rebellious type who is also ruthless. He is good, but no better than he is in other films.
The standout is Rutger Hauer, who, as the lead replicant, is struggling with shutting off. He leads the group of five back to Earth, and he and his “girlfriend” Pris hang out together. Hauer is looking for a way to extend his life; he does not want to die. He visits his creator (the owner of the Tyrell company that creates the replicants) to learn how to extend his life. In the meantime, Deckard is tracking down and retiring members of the group of five.
Hauer provides some of the most poignant dialogue about life and wanting not to die. The delivery is some of the best work I have seen him do.
There’s some CGI but it’s early in that technology so what you really see mainly is models, which are very good. There was a great deal of effort on the city-street sets, with both CGI and real-cars moving down the road. Unfortunately, again, you can tell when one or the other is present.
The technology presented a good prediction overall of where we were heading, EXCEPT computer displays are CRT’s (Cathode Ray Tubes) rather than LCD. Totally missed that innovation, which admittedly was not far along in 1982. Also, there’s a lot of smoking. And while smoking is still around now of course, Scott didn’t predict the success anti-smoking measures would have.
If you’re a fan of Ridley Scott (Aliens) and/or a fan of sci-fi, this is a must see movie. It’s not going to blow you away with amazing CGI or unpredictable plot twists, but it IS a good movie and does a pretty good job standing the test of time.
Monkey says, on a scale of 1 to 5 bananas, a solid 4. Check it out!