Published on October 6th, 2017 | by voxx0
Blade Runner 2049
Length: 163 minutes
Director: Denis Villeneuve
Cast: Ryan Gosling, Harrison Ford, Ana de Armas, Jared Leto, Dave Bautista, Robin Wright, Sylvia Hoeks, Mackenzie Davis
Plot: Officer KD6-3.7 (Gosling), a new blade runner for the Los Angeles Police Department, unearths a long-buried secret that has the potential to plunge what’s left of society into chaos. His discovery leads him on a quest to find Rick Deckard (Ford), who’s been missing for 30 years.
When Ridley Scott released the first ‘Blade Runner’ back in 1982 it was unlike anything before it. It was essentially more than just a film with an impressively compelling performance from Harrison Ford; it was immediately noticed as a technological accomplishment filled to the brim with an impressive collection of special effects – the moving holographic billboards were enough to make your eyes pop, the flying cars which now are more of a fantasy than a reality, and a combination humans and robots called replicants. It achieved more than any other sci-fi before and even after the time – which is essentially why today it goes down as a masterpiece and perhaps the best that cinema has ever been. However, when French-Canadian director Denis Villeneuve announced that he was going to do a sequel long time fans were sceptical about it, saying that it wouldn’t be as good, it would give the predecessor a bad name and wouldn’t go down as well.
Emphatically now at the long-awaited release of ‘Blade Runner 2049′, you can erase your fears as this is by far the best a sci-fi sequel there has ever been. We open with Ryan Gosling’s Officer KD6-3.7, a Blade Runner for the Los Angeles Police Department who’s on a case to bring in any old replicants. While on the case he unearths a long-buried secret that has the potential to plunge what’s left of society into chaos and destroy everything they have come to know. Set in a world where the Earth is left in anarchy after an event which shook the world and brought the people of the city into fear, shattering previous memories everything is left empty seemingly without repair, the film erupts from the opening reel. Villeneuve drags you into the often lonely life of Gosling’s policeman, who tries everything to repair his life back to the way it was. His character is complex, yet cleverly thought out. Thanks to a script penned by Hampton Fancher and co-writer Michael Green they give his character a simple story, but he’s emotional too, dealing with feelings way beyond his thoughts. And for any of you La La Landers out there, Gosling is on top of his game, much like Ford’s performance in the film’s predecessor. He’s incredible and brings a powerful dynamic to his story, and essentially the film would be nothing without him.
As an experience it’s a must see, especially in IMAX – it’s loud ominous score quakes around the halls, shattering your eardrums from the vibrations; the beautiful giant holographic billboards are enough to make your eyes pop just looking at the colour and the bright city lights, and the sci-fi action is riveting and fast paced. Immediately after entering the live futuristic city of Los Angeles it’s clear that Villeneuve is right at home here, using the same directing techniques he’s become accustomed with during ‘Sicario’, ‘Prisoners’ or indeed ‘Arrival’. He utilises impressive close-ups, stunning long shots and eye-shattering panoramic shots. However, at a runtime of 2 hours 43 minutes it’s quite a long marathon that you will have to exercise for before stepping into the theatre. Still, that exercise is worth it and thoroughly pays off.
Stylistically, it is a ‘Blade Runner’ film, so for long-time fans the environment will be all too familiar and producer Scott, who’s happy to be back in this territory, makes every collection of images as real as possible. Bringing Villeneuve’s imagination to life, it really doesn’t get any better than this. Happily, when Ford’s Rick Deckard comes onto the screen the audience smiles from ear-to-ear. Story-wise his character is a bit like Luke Skywalker from ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’, in that he has been missing for thirty years and there is an extensive search for him. When found, Rick doesn’t take to K at first and he immediately thinks K is trying to kill him. Here Ford, now 75 years old, looks a little worse for wear, as if he’s been lost aching for a little company which has been missing from his life, and he brings this emotion into his character’s grief, giving him some emotional prowess which thanks to his stunning performance pays off.
Happier still, the action is incredible. There are only a few action scenes but each one is as brutal as the previous time round – Villeneuve introduces the action scenes as a cinematic thespian, adding momentum to the white knuckle punches and a deafening ping from the two characters’ blasters which surprisingly look as good as new. The action is relentless, fast-paced and utterly riveting, from a wide-eyed opening fight scene with Dave Bautista’s Sapper Morton, through electric chase scenes to a brutal final fight. They are compelling and Villeneuve lets them play their toll, painting a shiny gloss to the end credits. What Villeneuve has created in ‘Blade Runner 2049′ is an impressive, compelling and brilliant sci-fi sequel that shines with a glossy finish and will still look good with multiple viewings. It’s an experience that will last for decades to come.
VERDICT: An impressive exercise of stunning colour, immersive CG images and incredible techniques, Villeneuve’s sequel isn’t just a movie; it’s a technological accomplishment and is by far this year’s best film.
- By Corey Denford