Blade Runner - Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
In a future world unlike our own, a Blade Runner called Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), is forced to carry out his rather arduous job.
You see, the role of a Blade Runner within this very modernistic universe, is to track down, assess, and then subdue, any replicants that come across his radar. Now for those who are not in the know, a replicant is a bioengineered humanistic robot, whom are quick to the draw, strong to the touch, and fleeting in their life span. Four years, give or take a second or two.
Hey! Wait a minute! If they are going to die anyway, why does Rick have to find them in the first place? Simple really. One replicant in particular, Roy Batty (Rutger Hauer), wants to get his hands on his maker, Tyrell (Joe Turkel), and persuade him to expand upon his limited life expectancy. Moreover, to aide Roy in this very strange endeavor, are three other rough and ready replicants, called Leon, Zhora, and Pris (Brion James, Joanna Cassidy, and Daryl Hannah).
Ooops! It looks’ like Rick is going to have his hands full then, huh? Therefore, to make sure his own assessment capabilities are up to speed, Rick goes to Tyrell, and carries out an assessment on Tyrell’s young pretty assistant, Rachael (Sean Young).
Please note though, Rachael does not know that she is a replicant. And when Rick breaks this news to her, she does become somewhat alarmed. Nevertheless, Rick has a job to do, and he does his best to subdue her anxiety, before he goes in search for the renegade replicants.
Tough, but fair, right? Which funnily enough, is something you can also say about how Rick tracks down and apprehends the first two replicants in Roy's gang, Zhora and Jose. Well, he nabs Zhora not so long after she completes her exotic snake-charming act in the Arabian quarter of town - in a manner for speaking. Plus he just about nab's Jose soon after too - with some help from Rachael and his gun, BANG!
Meanwhile, while Roy is dealing with these other sods, Roy and Pris dupe a frail employee to get into Tyrell’s stronghold, thus giving Roy the opportunity to force ‘his maker’ to ‘cure’ him.
Ouch! That is most probably why what next transpires is a somewhat erroneous and emotional affair. As Tyrell is in a quandary – Pris is in fix – Roy is fighting fit – and Rick is abashed, broken, and left scratching his head, wondering how his future will turn out with Rachael by his side or not.
Maybe the end.
'Blade Runner' is a marvelous movie that has set a standard in film-making, and been constantly referenced by other sources of media ever since. 'Battlestar Galactica', ‘Ghost in the Shell’, 'Rise of the Dragon', ‘Snatcher’, ‘Beneath a Steel Sky’, and 'Flashback - The Quest for Identity', to name but a few media-related projects. Plus on top of that, Hollywood luminaries such as Dustin Hoffman, Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, Gene Hackman, Sean Connery, Jack Nicholson, Clint Eastwood, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Al Pacino, and Burt Reynolds, were all at one time or another alleged to have been involved with the production of this film as well. Therefore, this film must be a good film then, huh? Hmmm?
Yes – but please allow me the opportunity to tell you why.
For a start, the source material for this movie came from a great fountain of knowledge – a novel created by science fiction writer, Philip K. Dick, called 'Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?'. In essence, what Philip has done, is tell a simple gumshoe mystery, whilst amalgamating its pretext onto a modernistic world of ambiguous advancement and reluctant endeavors. Simple put, a ‘Blade Runner’ could easily be a detective or a private investigator. Likewise, a ‘replicant’ could be a generic token bad-guy or hoodlum. Moreover, with this additional futuristic slant, a very pertinent question is also asked – who is to say how far mankind with go with electronic advancement, and whom is to judge this to begin with?
Ooofff! Now that is a very big question that this big very movie poses? Correct? And it does this whilst lavishing the screen with high octane visuals and a style that makes this 1980’s movie look like a modern 2000 movie.
To me, personally speaking, the sci-fi adventure is designed with quite a few styles in mind – gothic in depth – Japanese in execution – and 1950’s in tone. It really is a very pretty film to watch, with every scene on display exhibiting a very vivid and captivating visual all the way through. Also, to go with the visuals are the actors as well – with Ford, Hauer, Young, Daryl, and the rest, complementing this style with a plethora of mannered performances and thought provoking prose.
True to my own word, I did not have one particular favorite scene in this film really. I just enjoyed the whole majesty of the piece, because it really does take you on a journey that you have been on before through other movies – whist at the same time giving you an additional futuristic spin in the process.
OK, I have to admit, being a computer buff myself, I found that the whole concept behind the film more thought provoking than the film itself. Because who is to say how far computers and their ilk will advance? And is this a good thing or a bad thing in retrospect? This film does not say. That is why the ambiguous ending really worked for me – as we, the humans, should decide our own fate, not ‘something else’.
Overall, ‘Blade Runner’ is a benchmark film in stylized futuristic thrillers, and has been imitated, referenced, and paid respect to, ever since. Therefore, if you like films such as 'A Clock Word Orange', Star Wars, or 'Evolution', this is well worth looking up, just to see what everyone else is going on about. Agreed Ridley?
On a side note, if you have a comment about the ‘big question’ posed in this film, add a comment below and I’ll get back to you.
THE RATING: A