Set in the near future the world is a changed place, all the Earth’s races appear to live together in harmony (to a certain degree at least) a walk around this futuristic New York shows the influences of the oriental races on the way our world now is, with multi language signs. This world is a very wet one; it seems to always be raining (a result of global warming?). This is the world of Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford) a Blade Runner. Blade Runners are sort of futuristic Bounty Hunters or Private Investigators, but with a specialised field. Blade Runners are tasked with the objective of hunting down dangerous androids that while initially were reliable may have become murderous due to a breakdown in their programming. This androids known as Replicants, or “Skin Jobs” as Deckard refers to them have a limited lifespan, but the trouble being is that as they get closer to their life’s end they become more and more erratic and dangerous.
As the movie opens Leon Kowalski (the late Brion James) is taking an intelligence test for his employer, but when the questioning seems to trouble something at his very core Leon shows his hand by executing the interrogator. The reason for committing such a crime is that for some time Leon has been able to conceal the fact that he is one of four escapee Replicants from an off world colony, all of whom are extremely dangerous. With his cover blown Deckard is called in to hunt down the four Replicants Roy Batty (Rutgar Hauer), Zhora (Joanna Cassidy), Pris (Daryl Hannah) and of course Leon.
During the course of his hunt Deckard finds his life in serious danger, his foundation thoughts challenged, and to make matters more difficult a hopeless romantic involvement that could put himself on the wrong side of the law.
As a movie Blade Runner is a clever, fast paced and emotional journey; its visually one of the most futuristically sumptuous movies I have ever seen, a combination of clean cut lines and dirty locations you’d never want to be found in even dead. This is a bleak vision of our future, one that seems initially light years apart from our own but if you take the time to reflect its a world that might not be so far away after all. Based on Phillip K. Dicks novel “Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?” Blade Runner seems almost prophecy, than future world we might never experience.
I first saw Blade Runner back in 1986 and I have to say I was really unimpressed, it was not until 1992 that I saw the Director’s Cut than I realised that this was a movie that grew more addictive as you mature. Back in 1986 Sci-Fi movies were all variant streams of Star Wars or Star Trek, Blade Runner avoided all of these movies trappings and as a result came across almost like a futuristic Columbo style private eye movie. Tear down your expectations and visit the world of Blade Runner with no false misconceptions and you’ll be just fine, the reality is that it’s a marvellous movie.
Sound is an important aspect of Blade Runner, a fact I have always been aware of, but now as I hear it in a brand new 5.1 Dolby I realise this more than ever. From the sound of rain falling from above to trickles in rain filled streams everything matters. The sound is then enhanced by legendary Greek Composer Vangelis (pronounced Vangelly) fantastic soundtrack, a mixture of steamy jazz numbers, and the most ornate classical compositions. Never has a movie sounded so amazing, and if you remember nothing about the plot this musical score will stay with you for an eternity.
When it comes to design Blade Runner is a movie that never dates, forget the buildings, the downbeat streets, the thing that Sci-Fi more often than not falls down on in costume. Michael Kaplan’s fantastic view of futuristic clothing does not fail, in 1982 the outfits were functional and fashionable and even 25 years later most people would admit to wanting to raid the wardrobes of the cast. Ford and often opposing romantic lead Sean Young as Rachael are by far the best dressed and with the most desirable wardrobes.
Blade Runner is a movie that if you allow it too, will break your heart; even though we often deny it we all like a bit of romance. Blade Runner as well as being a Sci-Fi movie and a crime drama is a romantic movie with a doomed message, not just for one couple, it’s a doomed message for everyone. Don’t go expecting any happy endings here, and I’m not ruining the movie by saying this after all romance is something far down the line of things this movie is about. Sadness in failed romance is just a lasting thought that you part this movie in; but don’t you think it’s good when all things don’t turn out how we are told they should? A lot like real life really.