Movie Review – “Blade Runner 2049”

“Fascinating and smart! This neo-noir continuation admirably honors its Blade Runner roots.”

Patrick King, REEL BRIEF

Thirty-five years after Harrison Ford brought us futuristic Los Angeles Police Officer Rick Deckard in Ridley Scott’s original science fiction thriller, the “Blade Runner” saga continues using clever puzzle pieces in a complex bid for humans to avoid extinction. Director Denis Villeneuve, who brought us last year’s intriguing alien mind-bender “Arrival”, masterfully delivers a fascinating and smart new sci-fi chapter that’s sure to delight the faithful “Blade Runner” wonks out there.

With a top-shelf cast led by Ryan Gosling as LAPD’s “Officer K”, we find bio-engineered humans called “Replicants” fully integrated into society, yet still discriminated against by humans at their own peril.

Ford, reprising his 1982 role as Deckard, plays a compelling and vital role in this formidable film. You won’t find a momentary or token appearance by the “Star Wars” veteran just to please “Blade Runner” fans. No, you’ll see a funny, mindful and, yet, historic Ford raise this movie’s enjoyment factor tenfold. Rounding out the exceptional cast are Academy Award winner Jared Leto (“Dallas Buyers Club”) and Netflix political powerhouse Robin Wright from “House of Cards”. Both are instrumental into the methodical examination into human-made beings and the threats posed by them.

Ford’s significance is key to the film’s overall journey as Gosling dominates this sequel trying to find the ground truth surrounding the discovery of a replicant body buried on a farm. One of the movie’s most appealing aspects is seeing Ford’s character resurface after over three decades and work side-by-side with the younger law enforcer.

“Blade Runner 2049” is a gripping tale told over nearly 3 hours and encompasses successful traits found in many epic sci-fi endeavors. We’re instantly reminded of Charlton Heston’s painful discovery of the Statue of Liberty in the original 1968 “Planet of the Apes” as ruins from another popular U.S. city move across the theater screen here in 2017. Additionally, the human concern for survival is always at the forefront in “Blade Runner 2049”. Like other popular sci-fi storylines taking place in the future, a reversal of roles between humans and their submissive replicants gets dangerously and thoroughly explored using holographic and reproduction themes.

This neo-noir continuation admirably honors its “Blade Runner” roots. It views like a 3-part premium miniseries being binge-watched to catch the audience up on happenings in Los Angeles over twenty-plus years. Parts of the film are slower than others, but tidbits of information and clues are constantly being dropped to bring the story’s true genius into sharper focus. Fans of the 1982 place-setter with Harrison Ford’s duty-bound character will fully embrace this bridge into Gosling’s life and police work as Officer K. But even novices to the “Blade Runner” adventure can find high-entertainment value in this intelligent science fiction thriller.

Grade: A-

“Blade Runner 2049” is rated R for violence, some sexuality, nudity, and language. Its running time is 2 hours and 44 minutes.

© 2017, Patrick. All rights reserved.

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