By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs
It’s been 35 years since director Ridley Scott (exec producer/upcoming “Murder on the Orient Express” remake) wowed moviegoers with the 1982 sci-fi masterpiece “Blade Runner” (based on Philip K. Dick’s “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?”) And if the old adage holds true that absence makes the heart grow fonder, then fans should fall for the long awaited “Blade Runner 2049.”
This time around, Scott has handed over directorial duties to the very capable Denis Villeneuve, (“Sicario” and “Arrival”), but he’s still on board as executive producer.
In “Blade Runner 2049,” Harrison Ford reprises his role as Rick Deckard, the blade runner, who in the original movie set in 2019, was responsible for assassinating genetically engineered replicants that were integrated into society. They were created/manufactured by human overseers to work as slaves in the dangerous “off-world colonies.”
Deckard has been missing for almost 30 years and there are a ton of questions surrounding his disappearance.
There’s still a need for blade runners in the dark, dystopian Los Angeles which is where police officer K (Ryan Gosling, “La La Land”) comes in. He’s picked up where Dickard left off and is in pursuit of replicants who are obsolete. Officer K, who lives with his holographic companion Joi (Ana de Armas, “War Dogs” and “Hands of Stone”), is tasked with retiring older model replicants which were originally manufactured by the Tyrell corporation.
However, a replicant rebellion led to the downfall and bankruptcy of the company. It was taken over by the narcissistic and tyrannical Niander Wallace (Jared Leto, “Suicide Squad”) and he’s created, newer and superior replicants but with shorter lifespans.
K's investigation into an elusive replicant freedom movement leads him to a farm, where he meets and kills rogue replicant Sapper Morton (Dave Bautista, “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2”).
Nearby, Officer K notices a flower in front of a tree and upon closer inspection finds a buried box with human remains inside. He soon learns that the contents belonged to a pregnant woman—an experimental replicant--who died during an emergency caesarian section.
How could that be? Childbirth among replicants was originally thought to be impossible. This revelation concerns Officer K’s boss, lieutenant Joshi (Robin Wright, TV’s “House of Cards”) who believes it’s dangerous if people—especially Wallace (Leto)--know that replicants can reproduce. So, she insists that K destroy all the evidence relating to the case.
With the assistance of a replicant enforcer named Luv (Sylvia Hoeks, “All the Devil’s Men”), Officer K retrieves more information causing this mystery to widen. Getting to the bottom of it all takes time. Far too much time.
While “Blade Runner 2049” is intriguing and a visual feast for the eyes thanks to cinematographer Roger Deakins, at 163 minutes long—45 minutes longer than the original-- it’s such a slog to get through. Harrison Ford, who is terrific and great to see, doesn’t arrive on screen until almost the last hour of the movie.
Even so, “Blade Runner 2049” does respect and pay homage to its predecessor, yet it’s drenched in Villenueve’s vision and aesthetic thus making it a bold filmmaking triumph nonetheless.
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Take A Peek At This Trailer For "BLADE RUNNER 2049"
Lana K. Wilson-Combs is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics’ Association (BFCA), the Black Reel Awards Voting Academy and a Nominating Committee Voting Member for the NAACP Image Awards.