Review: BLADE RUNNER (R)

Harrison Ford hangs on in one of the more famous stills from "Blade Runner."

U.S. Release Date: June 25, 1982

Running Time: 116 minutes

MPAA Classification: R (Sci-fi violence, sexual content, nudity)

Cast: Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, Sean Young, Edward James Olmos, Daryl Hannah, M. Emmet Walsh

Director: Ridley Scott

Producer: Michael Deeley

Screenplay: Hampton Fancher, David Peoples, based on the novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick

 

By STEPHEN EARNEST / November 19, 2011

Over the past couple of decades or so, Ridley Scott’s legendary sci-fi noir Blade Runner has slowly gained in critical acclaim and popularity. It is now considered something of a masterpiece, and has somehow managed to acquire a rather sizable “cult” following. The American Film Institute added it to their “100 Years…. 100 Movies” list a few years ago, ranking it as the 97th greatest film ever made. But is it truly as grand as everyone says it is?

The movie stars Harrison Ford as Rick Deckard, a “blade runner”. Blade runners are somewhat like police. They are hired to hunt down artificial human beings known as “replicants” and execute, or “retire”, them. At the beginning of the movie, Deckard is assigned to find a group of six replicants that have escaped from an off-world colony and are hiding out on Earth, in Los Angeles. The plot sounds interesting enough, right?

But it’s not. The concept is fascinating, the synopsis sounds intriguing, but it is not delivered correctly. The story is fairly flimsy. After what seems like a promising opening couple of minutes, Blade Runner falls into a mess of cheesiness, predictability, and, sometimes, absurdity.

Don’t let the futuristic setting fool you. Blade Runner only uses it as a backdrop for the issues that it tackles, such as society, acceptance, and religion. Consider the creations of Dr. Eldon Tyrell, like Roy Batty. He’s practically perfect but somehow still isn’t happy. He wants more. He wants to be immortal. Humans are never quite happy with themselves, even when they have everything going for them. They always want more. Blade Runner does a good job is presenting this message, saying that greed will usually get the better of us, but it does not go anywhere further with it. It’s messages only last for a brief few minutes and then they are spoken of no more.

Deckard may seem like he’s the main character here, but he’s not. Here, in Blade Runner, there really aren’t any main characters at all. Everything begins and ends on Deckard, but he’s out of the picture for a lot of the time. I mean, I guess he could be considered the “lead”, but that’s because there isn’t anyone else that has as much screen time as him. You get what I mean? Deckard doesn’t “feel” like a lead character should. Lead characters should be able to connect with their audience; Deckard doesn’t. He’s also one of the most two-dimensional characters I’ve ever seen in a movie.

And the pace that Blade Runner moves at is ridiculously slow. I realize that all of the “haters” out there always complain about the pacing, and the people who love Blade Runner always get so offended by it, but come on, guys. It’s boring. It’s slow. It nearly put me to sleep. Movies like this shouldn’t be so boring. I mean, at times, it got so dreary and dull that I couldn’t even concentrate. The only exciting part was that final climactic battle near the end, and that was just ridiculous. It resembled one of the boss matches that Solid Snake endures in the “Metal Gear Solid” franchise.

Now, I will say two good things about Blade Runner—- It does look pretty darn good. The production design and the art direction are something to behold, and I agree that they are highly influential in the science-fiction genre. The dark surroundings and rainy skies are very popular in modern sci-fi. Also, the cinematography is grand; smooth and sturdy. But does any of that make Blade Runner one of the greatest sci-fi flicks ever? Good God, no.

I’m not a “hater”. I don’t hate Blade Runner. I just think of it as highly overrated. It’s really not that special of a movie, and if there wasn’t so much critical acclaim surrounding it, I’d think it would be easily forgettable.

RATING: 2/4

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