Louis Turfrey gives you his impressions of the new Blade Runner movie and he’s still going wow….there may be spoilers ahead.

"JOE" meets JOI
Even replicants have dreams… (C) Sony 

Blade Runner 2049 is a thinking man’s science fiction movie with just enough action to keep you from getting bored. But that’s the point.

The original Blade Runner was a box office bomb, but it later achieved a cult following and after several re-releases as different cuts in theatres, on Video / DVD and BluRay, fans of the movie were still asking questions about the origins of the characters. We needed a sequel that tidied it all up.

Well folks, it’s here but not of our questions will be answered.

This is possibly the most visually impressive sequel I have ever seen. It’s done cleverly too. There’s a style to this movie that works with and exceeds the original. I’m still reeling from it all. Three hours ago, I and my son walked out of a local cinema and just both went “WOW”. Here is everything that was good about the first movie – amplified.

snow in los angeles
Snow in Los Angeles?

Set thirty years after the last movie, the future is even more dystopic than before. The city of Los Angeles seems to have progressed from always raining in the last movie, to being either wet or cold and wet. There’s a lot of snow in this film. An additional surprise is that Ryan Gosling’s character is a Blade Runner and yet he is also a replicant – an android. Although whether he has a limited lifespan or not is never discussed, (refer to Blade Runner original release). Replicants are still hunted, but only the older models. The new models obey, they don’t question, they just do. They know what they are and most of them don’t care. Most of them.

As we will later learn, there is a replicant underground just waiting to seize their chance.

Dave meet Ryan
Dave, meet Ryan.

During a routine investigation, “K” as he is known, comes across a secret that has been buried for close to 28 years. A secret so profound, it will have an effect on both human and replicant races for years to come. The secret could be the start of a new war between creator and creations. And that’s as much as I am going to tell you, because to give any more away would be unfair to fans of the original.

Now that’s where we come to a problem. This movie won’t make much sense to anyone unless they have seen the original film. It is obviously written for the fans and offers up some great answers to some of the questions that the older movie left us with. It doesn’t do it simply either. There is a lot of story telling involved and in many ways we weave through it like a detective novel. You spend half the movie thinking one thing only to realise that it is only a single part of the great puzzle. It’s intelligent sci-fi and it has a message.

I am still thinking about it!

I loved the original as a film, and I saw it at the cinema when I was 14 years old. I have the original video and now, thanks to some friends, I now have all 7 cuts of the movie either on DVD or BluRay. I made my son watch through the directors cut of the original movie and he wasn’t impressed. He watched the theatrical version and he got it. Tonight he watched the sequel and he got it even more. That’s what this movie does, it builds upon, expands upon and adds to the original movie.

And the ending! Wow, that takes time to sink in.

deckard and joe go for a swim
Anyone fancy a swim?

Ryan Gosling and Harrison Ford are excellent in their respective roles, and even Jared Leto offers up a decent performance, but both Robin Wright as Lieutenant Joshi and Ana de Armas as Joi are amazing choices. I love Armas, she really breathes life into her character and the relationship between her and Ryan Gosling’s character, “K”, is heart breaking at times.

ana as joi
I want an A.I. like this…

Wright also excels as the hard nosed police officer with a heart and offers a grounding point for officer “K”. She likes him and thinks of him as human in many respects, but always holds herself back from fully accepting him. She ends up paying the price for her loyalty towards him in the end though.

deckard
Deckard still kicks ass..

As I mentioned, this is a visual delight of a movie that almost immediately draws you into its world. The premise, for sci-fi, is believable without too much jargon and just enough explanation to keep you interested.

This film does not need a voice over to talk you through the plot and explain things for you, but if you haven’t seem the original then it’s best to make sure you read the introductory titles at the beginning. Even then, as a newcomer to the franchise you might find it a stretch.

flying cars are cool
Flying cars haven’t changed much in 30 years…

This movie should be a blockbuster, but I suspect that like the original it may be an acquired taste. Fans of the original will love this film and it would be a crime if they missed it. However, despite this, the movie doesn’t seem to be attracting a new following of fans and because of this it hasn’t opened to a great weekend. In a world where heroes rule the cinema screens, not many people have the patience to sit through a movie like this.

That’s a shame, because with a little patience the reward is worth the effort.

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