Worth A Look: 11.16%
Just Average: 10.36%
Pretty Crappy: 6.77%
8 reviews, 203 user ratings
by Dr. Isaksson
Ridley Scott's 1982 Sci-Fi Masterpiece "Blade Runner" is an enigmatic blend of visual splendor, graphic violence, and haunting emotional impact. The idea for the film is not that far from the theme of Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein." The notion that man playing God and creating artificial human life might not be a noble or wise occupation.The plot to Blade Runner is somewhat simple. Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), is a 'Blade Runner' who is about to retire, but before he does he is assigned one last mission. To seek out and kill a pack of 5 'Replicants' (synthetically created humans) who hijacked a ship in space and have returned to earth seeking their maker Eldon Tyrell (Joe Turkel). The reason the replicants are searching for Tyrell is this. They want to live longer. For a replicant, the life span is confined to only a few years. Desperate to change this unfair sentence, the lead replicant Roy Batty (Rutger Hauer), leads his fellow replicants on a quest to find Tyrell and get an answer to the meaning of their lives and how to extend it. All this before Deckard can complete his task of hunting them down and killing them.
"The love and lies of Man and Machine"
Blade Runner is a visual and musical feast for the senses. The score by Vangelis is a delightful piece of beautiful 80's electronica. Some of it sounds a bit dated now but for the most part, it's goal to portray a futuristic sound works amazingly well. The music is intricately layered, with slick synth work and shining jazz undertones. The direction of the masterful Ridley Scott is absolutely perfect. He never wavers from the story he wants to tell but still manages to imbue Blade Runner with so much stunning imagery that I wished that the film were longer so that I could have had more time to take in the futuristic city of Los Angeles in all it's dank, dark bustle.
Harrison Ford plays Rick Deckard with a quiet and low key style, free of pizzazz and unneeded gusto. This is my favorite performance of his by far. Sean Young is sexy and visually stunning as the replicant Rachael. She plays her character with a subdued grace, which is expected since she is the top of the line replicant. Daryl Hannah is interesting to see as Pris, the pleasure model replicant. Hannah has the right look of innocence and sexuality needed for the role. It's a shame that we didn't see more of the replicant Zhora, (played by Joanna Cassidy). Zhora seemed to have taken command of her life as a replicant and is willing to do what it takes to survive in the world. Her death is one of the most tragic. All of the acting throughout is of the highest standard. But the best performance of the film comes from the massive Rutger Hauer as Roy Batty. His icy stare and commanding presence was picture perfect for being the replicant with the strongest need to know how to survive. His performance at the film's climax was riveting.
Blade Runner is much more then a beautiful looking and masterfully crafted film. It's a lesson on what it means to be a human being. It looks at man's manipulation with nature in creating synthetic humans and implanting thoughts and feelings into their minds. In a futuristic world where great advances in technology have occurred, man has become their own worst enemy. In the stunning ending moments of Blade Runner when Batty has lost his fellow replicants he says, "Do you know what it's like to live in fear?" and "I've seen things you can only dream of." His life has been that of fear and uncertainty and as much as the human race considers him 'UN-human,' his feelings are all too human. Roy Batty DOES NOT kill Deckard because in his last moments of life, he realises and UNDERSTANDS that if he killed Deckard, he would be just as heartless as the human race which created him and now hunts him. It is a moment of self realization that most humans never reach.
Batty's aware that he was only created to serve his human creators. (Which that in itself is a huge lesson in the tyranny of slavery.) However, Batty is immensely upset at his limited time to live. Why? Because he has gained something his creators didn't seem to care about. Memories, emotions and perhaps even love. His mind has grown from the simple thoughts of a newborn baby into those of a young child and now he realizes that he wants to see more, he wants to understand what it is to be alive. Not to be created and used for labor or destruction, but to understand these growing emotions inside. The feelings like those of a human.
The finale to Blade Runner is one of the most incredible moments ever captured in a sci-fi film. Instead of a big battle to the death between Batty and Deckard, Batty realizes that as a creation of man, he cannot learn what it's like to be free or loved. Man is not God and man cannot love their creations as God does. So instead of fighting, Batty lets himself die. The religious tone I felt from the film may not be what Ridley Scott intended but that was how I came away from it. Technology advances in Blade Runner have dehumanized society, life seems to be less important and for many has turned into a simple, dragging, day to day existence. It seems only a small handful of replicants have a thirst for living anymore.
Blade Runner raises many questions to ponder. What is the nature of being a human being? To be part of the human race? The purpose of life, it's emotional impact, it's memories, it's heartlessness, it's cruelty, it's joy, it's hope, it's love. Also the mysteries of how to control life. To create it anew and ultimately, to understand it's meaning. However, as Blade Runner shows, there is no way to artificially create the most complex of all creations, MAN.
P.S. I need to add this note in response to a fellow reviewer who has stated many problems he has concerning "Blade Runner".
He says that the film has no concern for it's characters and that there is no development of these characters and what they do makes no sense. However, he fails to bring up just WHAT it is the characters are doing which is confusing him. Also he mentions having a problem with the plot, which he says is murky and unclear.
Well, for me, the plot really isn't the main element of the film. Blade Runner is much more interested in giving us an overall look at a human race grappling with life in a futuristic world. It isn't supposed to be the harrowing story of Rick Deckard and his rough battles with replicants. This is a film with no lead characters. Everyone has an equal part to act out. I think that each of the 5 replicants represent a piece of society. Zhora is the jaded whore. Pris is the awkward and slightly trampled on young woman. Rachael represents the closed-in upper class woman. Leon is the hard working everyday Joe. And Roy Batty stands as the one who leads them. He has no particualr social position, he is the man who encompasses the largest part of the human race. Those who live in fear, those who are poor, those who are slaves, those who are being controlled without their consent, and especially for Batty, those who are angry.
That, to me, is who Batty represents. And his decision not to kill Deckard at the film's ending isn't a weak plotline, it is the ultimate display of dignity in the face of oppression and control.
P.P.S. And just because you think I am reading more into the film then what you feel is really there doesn't mean you're right and I'm wrong. I shouldn't have to agree with you and say the film is lousy because you don't see what I saw. What I take away from a film is a personal choice. It's a private conclusion each film goer should make based on their own thoughts and experiences. I didn't read a depth that wasn't there. I made my own choice as to how I saw Blade Runner. I think everyone needs to remember that art is not a black and white thing. That's the beauty of it. One man's trash is another man's treasure.One of the most intricate and visually beautiful Sci-Fi films ever.
***** 5 Stars
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originally posted: 08/10/02 17:13:32