Blade Runner  (1982)

PopGap #03: Blade Runner (1982)

 
By dorrk, March 8th 2015
Punk Movies: #01 of 21

I've seen Blade Runner many times, in a few different edits, dating back to the mid-1980s. This is my first time, however, seeing director Ridley Scott's 2007 "Final Cut." I can't say that his tinkering has made any difference: in each of its iterations, Blade Runner remains a great-looking, vastly influential movie that is equally boring and nonsensical.

At the vanguard of the "cyberpunk" movement in film and literature, Blade Runner's incredible art direction established a visual concept that has defined at least two generations of science fiction movies, and it's still breathtaking to this day. the problem with the movie is that neither its simplistic themes nor hollow characters can compete with the groundbreaking design, and it feels like Scott not only knows this but fixates on it.

Harrison Ford stars as cop who specializes in hunting down rogue androids, and four particularly dangerous fugitives are lurking around futuristic Los Angeles. However, each of these replicants is far more interesting than Ford's solemn detective, which doesn't do this dreadfully paced movie any favors. Rutger Hauer and Daryl Hannah became punk icons as Roy and Pris, the two most elusive replicants, and they inject the movie with a few exciting moments of charisma and spontaneity.

There are several other intriguing quirks and flourishes throughout Blade Runner, and a handful of scenes are brilliantly staged, earning the movie its reputation, but most scenes are a moody mess, indulging a noir-ish tone while forsaking internal logic and motivation, and some are riddled with pseudo-philosophical nonsense and what seems like an endless montage of characters staring gloomily past the cameraman's right shoulder.

There is a lot to like, and even love, about Blade Runner — especially during the first 20 minutes, before the plot has time to go haywire — and there's no denying its amazing vision and deserved influence, it's just always a bit disappointing to remember that the movie's narrative ambitions don't live up its other accomplishments.

Trailer for Blade Runner (1982)