For all its technical wizardry, set designs and atmosphere, ‘Blade Runner’ is still somewhat of a dull film, thats slow paced throughout, arrogantly acted by its lead and odd in terms of its narrative structure. Directed by an acclaimed filmmaker within this genre – Ridley Scott directed the horror/science fiction film ‘Alien’ previous to this film – and starring one of science fictions most famous filmic actors – Harrison Ford having starred in ‘Star Wars’ – the fact that Blade Runner struggles to keep audience attention throughout its two hour duration is somewhat of a shock. Having gone through multiple cuts in the edit suite, with the definitive version being the one dubbed ‘Final Cut’, ‘Blade Runner’ seems to have been so continuously adapted so as to influence viewer opinion on the subject matter that it holds.
‘Blade Runner’ is most definitely a film that has been created to garner audience opinions with regards to its content, holding heavy tones such as human nature and believe to what your own existence means. Where ‘Blade Runner’ has since gone onto cultural status amongst science fiction film fans, the fact that this movie carries some heavy flaws will detract some audience member from enjoying it as much as its status depicts.It is with the immensely slow pacing that the film has, that ‘Blade Runner’ detracts the most from its other strengths that it does carry.
Based on the Phillip K. Dick novel ‘Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep’, ‘Blade Runner’ carries the following plot synopsis; In 2019, humans have genetically created replicants,primarily beings humans that are used for entertainment purposes and slavery. Banned on earth any replicants that come to the planet are hunted down and killed. Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford) is such a hunter who is called out of retirement to find four dangerous replicants who make it to Los Angeles with the hope of prolonging their life. With only four years given and their time close to its end, they will go to any means to get what they want. The film is seen to be a science fiction/ action led movie, however upon reflection – and through different choices made by the creative team – this is not necessarily the case. It carries science fiction elements, but with added depth and characteristics that are heavily film -noir, the film is somewhat a blend of many. However, by not sticking to one genre, Ridley Scott fails to decide upon which to base the majority of the films content. This gives the film added character development, and extra layers to the films narrative – but detracts from those who want a simple to watch movie that requires little or no thinking.
With the entire films narrative set in the near future Los Angeles, the cinematographer has gone to some lengths in making it look outer-worldly and special regardless of being only a location we all know. Entirely foggy and dark throughout, the setting adds extreme depth to the films plot-line. Through the light of numerous neon signs that litter the settings, the film feels futuristic in depiction. Lauded for these achievements, the films can count this element easily as its strongest.
One strength that this film holds – apart from the aforementioned design work – is that of the antagonist, portrayed onscreen by Rutger Hauer. Cold, and tense in every scene that he features, this character becomes at points in the film the only reason to continue watching this mismatch of a production. Saving some of the films credentials, his performance is strong throughout, with the final showdown being an expertly crafted sequence that closes the film on somewhat of a high. It is only a shame that Harrison Ford is not able to perform to the same standard.
‘Blade Runner’ is somewhat of an oddball film that will cater to some large audience through its revolutionary style, designs and filmmaking techniques. However, with an extremely unlikeable protagonist – Harrison Ford is just too arrogant here – and a pacing that is greatly off, the film will also detract a large amount of audience members also. A showcase to how cult films can take off, with not much reason to do so ‘Blade Runner’ will always be deemed better than it actually is.
Plot – 2
Acting – 3
Direction – 4
Special effects – 3
Retrospect – 3
Overall – D