An uneven amalgam of film noir and science fiction, “Blade Runner” squeaks by with some mild and tame originality. I must admit, being accustomed to more modern sci-fi movies, and now viewing “Blade Runner” so many years after its release, during that time it is possible that I could have had a more positive and enthusiastic response to it. Could have.But I didn’t. At best, “Blade Runner” is a tepid sci-fi, and even less of a tepid noir. The major problem is the foggy progression of the plot and the clarity of the story. Hampton Fancher and David Peoples’ adaptation of Philip K. Dick’s “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” comes across basic and unexplored. The narration, by Harrison Ford as Deckard is so clunky and myopic that it often trips up the already slow procession of the plot. Current film noir has proved, as in “Lost Highway” or more liberal noirs like “Dark City,” have done away with the device. “Blade Runner” gives way to noir clichés, over emphasizing the cheesy jazz score, the Venetian blinds and the failed love subplot. Noirs are dark (duh!) as a given, but the actual cinematography and film stock is too dark and murky, as was the major problem with “Escape from New York.” Unfortunately, it’s a typical trait from ‘80s movies, but Jordan Cronenweth’s weak photography takes away from the effect.
The characters are all weak links as well. Ford’s character is lazily drawn, lacking proper development. Rutger Hauer is too often unpalpable, while Sean Young constantly seems as if she’s been artificially plasticized. Edward James Olmos plays an odd character (more weird for his eyes and his clothes), but he doesn’t act, he just “does” weird.
What I liked about “Blade Runner” stemmed from Dick’s vision in his story. Just the perception of Dick’s take on our future was enough to sustain bare interest. Some visuals and special effects do look good. I also liked Darryl Hannah, who somewhat resembles Patricia Arquette, or visa-versa. What I didn’t like was Ridley Scott’s cocky direction, his “superior” style. He reluctantly tosses in adventurous action (and to think that this was criticized for being overly violent) and lets the plot sag and drop down to a deathly crawl on a regular basis. It is never sufficiently compelling enough.
And I do believe that Ford is a Replicant (although a “marriage of technology” is an interesting concept).Final Verdict: B-.