Blade Runner: The Final Cut ***1/2
Directed by Ridley Scott
Written by Hampton Fancer, based on the novel by Philip K. Dick
Harrison Ford as Rick Deckard
Rutger Hauer as Roy Batty
Sean Young as Rachael
Edward James Olmos as Gaff
M. Emmet Walsh as Bryant
Daryl Hannah as Pris
William Sanderson as J.F. Sebastian
117 Minutes(Rated R for violence and brief nudity )
This might be hard to believe, but I have never seen "Blade Runner" before. So, now that it's the 25th anniversary, they have decided to release a special "final cut" edition-the third edition of the film, aside from the "director's cut" a few years ago, and the original from 1982-where director Ridley Scott tweaked a few bits, made a couple of changes, and released a new 117 minute version. And even though I can't compare this version to the other "Blade Runner"'s, I can honestly say that this is one of the best science fiction I've seen-outside of "Star Wars," "Back to the Future," etc. With every shot being more visually stunning than the next, and a delicious film noir meets bleak future story to boot, "Blade Runner" was a big screen experience I was lucky to attend-and thanks to a special New York engagement at the huge Zeigfeld Theatre on 54th Street-the biggest theatre in the city-everyone can see this film for the first time or the hundredth time, for two weeks only starting October the 5th. Starring October the 20th, the Zeigfeld is definitely changing their program-showing a 3-D version of "The Nightmare Before Christmas," so you shouldn't miss this.
"Blade Runner" is another bleak vision of the future-set in November 2019, in a world where the line between human and robot-here called replicant-has gone extremely thin. Harrison Ford plays Rick Deckard, a member of the Blade Runner force who is looking for illegal replicants. He learns from his superior Bryant that there are a series of replicants that seem to have it in for the company that created them, and Deckard is assigned to go off and kill them. There is the deadly Leon, the even deadlier Pris-played with extreme ferocity by Daryl Hannah-and their leader Roy Batty, played by a definitely creepy Rutger Hauer. And to top it all off, there is the femme fatale replicant Rachael, played by Sean Young, who he knows he must kill eventually, but quickly seems to fall in love with her.
The beginning of "Blade Runner" really sucks you into this unknown world. The opening credits are slow, with music by Vangelis setting this grim, dark and eerie world. Then a scroll on screen text gives you the background, all leading up to one of the best shots I've ever seen-even rivaling the first shot in the first "Star Wars" movie. A landscape shot-buildings in a big city-with an explosion and a fast plane shooting right past the screen. I literally got the chills watching this, and did not know what to expect anymore. But Scott didn't only create a science fiction film, he also Incorporated film noir elements in it-always doing something neat with the camera-with beautiful glossy blue shots, shadows all over, and stylized action sequences. At times the slow motion got to me a little bit, but for the most part the action was great, the script is smart and filled with all kinds of philosophy, and the final act gave me more creeps than a horror film. When Deckard eventually is down to two more replicants to go, a chase scene is superbly shot, and you can see that Hauer is having a blast in this role.
We've seen a lot of films about robot humans, and the cruelty that real humans inflict on them-especially in Speilberg's "AI." But this film inflicts a philosophy about the idea of artificial life, a theory on why humans would even want them. Thoughts about them having feelings too. "AI" was about a robot that is programmed to love looking for the love that he was promised at first. This film is just about robots wanting to live a life-they were given a gift and they have to work as slaves-a word that is actually used in the script. I look forward to watching the original cut of "Blade Runner" from '82, and I hear that there is a voice over that Scott didn't want, but the studios have him add it to cut some of the ambiguity from the cut he wanted. Big audiences would just not dig it. And clearly they were wrong, as "Blade Runner" is one of the biggest cult films of all time, and if this version is up to par to what the fans like about the other two versions, than it just got better.