|Star:||Harrison Ford, Sean Young, Rutger Hauer, Brion James|
|Cert / Year:||15 - R / 1982|
After a ship is hijacked and the passengers slain on one of Earths "offworld colonies" by a small group of "replicants" (Androids/Cyborgs) who use the ship to return to Earth. Retired "Blade Runner" (kind of replicant hunter and killer / cop) Rick Deckard, (Harrison Ford) is forced out of retirement when Bryant (M. Emmet Walsh) his old boss on the force tells him of the 5 "skin jobs" as he calls them are loose on the streets. In addition to the fact that whilst interrogating a suspect one of his old friends was critically wounded which leaves Bryant with no option but to recall the best in the business..... Deckard.
Leading the small troupe of replicants is an advanced "Nexus" model who calls himself Roy Batty (Rutger Hauer) who knowing that they all have little time before their in-built shutdown circuits activate wants to meet his creator Dr. Tyrell in an attempt to get him to deactivate the automatic death sentence so that they may live longer. Tyrell designed the replicants with an in built termination routine to avoid them becoming too self aware, naturally one of the major drawbacks with artificial intelligence and led to Tyrell becoming one of the richest men on the planet.
In order to stop whatever mischief the replicants have planned, Deckard must hunt them down and kill them before they can do any harm to the dystopian balance of society.
Although the screenplay was written and rewritten by Hampton Francher and David Peoples and produces a good film the story is taken from the classic Philip K Dick novel "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep". Blade Runner is a brilliant film, superbly directed by British director Ridley Scott but there are some details omitted from the original story that should have been covered in order to get the story over properly.
For example against the brooding 200 story backdrop of a Los Angeles in 2019 with it's decaying buildings, streets strewn with the poor and flying "spinner" cars nothing is mentioned about the fact that many of the healthy population emigrated from the highly polluted and festering planet to the off world colonies. In order to assist with colonisation of these planets "replicants" were devised as slave labour and used to full effect working as everything from prostitutes to soldiers. From the film you don't get to learn that almost all animal life on the planet was destroyed which is why most of the animals that you see are replicants, and why Deckard can track a particular python to a street vendor (who interestingly enough has a tattoo of the Millenium Falcon on his forehead).
Quite a lot of valuable material has been passed over whilst making this film which is a shame because the film would have made more sense to a greater audience with it's inclusion. Not that this is a bad film at all, in fact this is a great film, a precursor to the "Cyber Punk" phenomenon. In his typical style Ridley Scott directs the melancholy and yet slightly disturbing story with some stunning visuals combined with the visual effects work of Doug Trumbull making a truly memorable and superb film.
Upon it's original release Blade Runner had a pretty awful and mainly pointless commentary by Deckard which was used to highlight the story and lend a film noir feel, not that the Sam Spade-esque character of Deckard needed it. On top of that the film was softened drastically and included a romantic drive off into the sunset ending (courtesy of some un-used footage from Stanley Kubrick's The Shining"). Thankfully the Directors Cut has dispensed with all that nonsense and as well as being a bit longer it flows a lot better making it an even better film.
Harrison Ford is just fantastic as Deckard and his obvious underplaying of the role adds plenty of depth to the character giving him an almost emotionless quality. Rutger Hauer provides an equally stunning performance in his portrayal of Batty almost innocent and yet menacing, and special credit should go to him for writing Roy Batty's speech on the roof at the end of film which is poigniant and thought provoking. Sean Young was a bit disappointing and her very wooden performance got a little stagnant and after a while it was almost painful to see her on screen. The rest of the cast perform well notibly the late and great Brion James whose portrayal of the naive Leon was just excellent.
Watching the first 10 minutes of the film it is evident where the designers for Judge Dredd got their inspiration, and almost mimic the grand ariel photography which was so effectively employed by Scott on this film. Blade Runner is a classic in every sense, a fine example of science fiction and a film that every home cinema collection should have.