In the future, humanity has created robots, called replicants, that are indistinguishable from humans in almost every way, used as slaves. After four replicants escape confinement, Rick Deckard is sent by the police to kill them all.
Spoiler Level: Warnings placed before spoilers.
Blade Runner is an impressive sci-fi movie. I’ve never seen anything exactly like it. It’s not that it’s written in a particularly impressive way, or contains characters that defy tropes or are excellent examples of them. The film doesn’t even explore themes that haven’t been explored before. What’s impressive about Blade Runner, and why it’s worth the watch, is the universe in which the film takes place in.
There’s a very clear, and a very unique, universe that is developed throughout this movie. For one, it’s intensely interesting, as it’s dark and grim throughout, both empty and cluttered at the same time. Sometimes it feels like this is a very real universe, a universe you feel you can step into and know what you’re going to find. This is partially a result of the writers, as there are scenes in places you wouldn’t normally see, for example a scene in a closed department store and a scene in an abandoned building. Oftentimes in sci-fi movies, you see the parts of the universe that are lavish or beautiful, like palaces, fortresses, or whatever else, and oftentimes you see areas of social significance that tell you about the general population, for example bars, showcase how they act in an informal setting and what their version of entertainment is, with live performers, bar games, etc.
What we rarely see is the closed department store, which shows us several things about this society, especially given the setting of the scene before it, which is a seedy strip club. You can see through this comparison that there are social classes here, as the department store is more brightly lit, and aesthetically pleasing, then the strip club in the previous scene. We rarely see the huge poster of the white-faced woman with the bright red lipstick, as she stares with dead eyes, smiling, showing how businesses view us. They smile at us, trying to get us to buy what they want, but they’re secretly apathetic, and only want your money. The bar shows us what people like, the department store shows us who people are, which is much more important.
Blade Runner has a theme of racism. Replicants are slaves that are diminished by humanity, having to do menial labor despite being just as competent as a human, and are shown as equal to humans throughout the film.This is especially interesting given all of the replicants are white. Essentially, white people are being enslaved, which is a way in which to see racism from another perspective, where there is no visual distinction between the two races. Again, this isn’t an original theme, but what makes it interesting is the way they went about it.
Other than these distinctions, Blade Runner is essentially a basic film noir. The atmosphere is dark, the story is grim, and a cool, emotionally distant detective has a crime to solve. It’s important to note that if the setting were present day, Blade Runner would be considered a fairly basic neo-noir, mainly. There is one difference, and that is the end. This next part is a spoiler so if you don’t like spoilers skip to the next paragraph. At the end, the villain saves the hero, a replicant saves Deckard. Usually, the hero saves the day, and never relies on others to help him, but in this movie the villain ends up saving the hero; a replicant saves Deckard.
Another impressive aspect of this movie is the action sequences in their use of the environments that they occur in. For every action sequence, the environment is being used in a way to help or hurt the characters. For example, with the department store, a character bursts through glass display cases to escape an attacker, which increases the suspense as we’re wondering whether or not the character will be slowed down enough to be caught.
This movie is not perfect. This movie was really well done in a lot of aspects, but there are a few downsides. Blade Runner oftentimes felt like a much older movie, in that there’s a sense of theatrics in the way lines are being said and how they’re written. It’s not exactly over-acting but you can tell emotions are being exaggerated to a degree. Also, the main antagonist has a ferocity that felt excessive at times. Everyone he kills he does so for a reason, but oftentimes the quick changes in his temperament make it seem less reasonable and more brutal, and allows for us to sympathize with him less.
That’s pretty minor, however. My only major gripe with this movie is the scene where Deckard pushes Rachel, his love interest, against the wall and forcefully kisses her, as that is rape. Although the rules were different in 1982, and interactions like this would be considered romantic at the time, in today’s standards that is not okay. While this doesn’t ruin the movie, it certainly is something to remember while watching it.
Blade Runner is fantastic in its worldbuilding, exploration of themes, and action sequences, making it worth the watch.
Amazing Science Fiction: Blade Runner (1982)
Writing - 8.8/108.8/10
Storyline - 8.5/108.5/10
Acting - 9.3/109.3/10
Music - 8.9/108.9/10
Production - 10/1010/10
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