Movie Review: ‘Blade Runner 2049’

“Blade Runner 2049” is the long-awaited sequel to the classic sci-fi/film noir movie, “Blade Runner.” The original film is undoubtedly one of the greatest science fiction films of all time. The sequel is excellent. You will probably enjoy it more if you have seen the original film.

There are quite a few surprising twists and turns in the plot in both of these films. In this review I will be careful not to reveal any “spoilers” that might detract from your enjoyment of either film.

The original film, released in 1982, was directed by Ridley Scott (director of “Alien,” “Gladiator,”  and “The Martian”). It was set in the bleak urban landscape of a near-future Los Angeles. Its basic premise was the notion that there are artificially-created humans, the “replicants,” who are used as slave labor in the off-world colonies. These replicants are indistinguishable to the naked eye from real humans. This adds greatly to the suspense in both films. In the original film, Harrison Ford starred as Rick Deckard, a “blade runner,” a Los Angeles police officer assigned to track down and kill a band of replicants who have escaped to Earth from the off-world colonies.

The sequel, directed by Denis Villeneuve, is set 30 years after the original story. In the sequel, a younger blade runner, Joe (Ryan Gosling), is assigned to track down and kill any and all replicants who have managed to evade capture and reconditioning, wherever they may hide. In the sequel there are three groups vying for power: the replicants, who seek their own liberation; the police, whose goal is to eliminate any free replicants; and the employees of the Wallace corporation, who want to control the replicants for their own evil ends.

One of the intriguing subplots in the sequel deals with Joe’s holographic girlfriend Joi, played by Ana de Armas.

In one of Joe’s missions, he stumbles across a tantalizing mystery that holds the key to the rest of the film. Deckard (Harrison Ford), an older and retired blade runner, shows up later, about two-thirds of the way through the film.

The sequel, like the original film, is a visual feast. It’s a bit on the long side, with a running time of 163 minutes, but you won’t want to miss a minute of it. The film currently has an 88% “fresh” rating on the Rotten Tomatoes Website. It’s rated R “for violence, some sexuality, nudity, and language.” The film is currently playing at AMC Theaters and Mindframe.

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