Blast from the Past: Blade Runner
capsule serif;”> Darragh O’Connor has a look back at the 1982 Sci-Fi classic Blade Runner
Blade Runner: 1982
117 min / Sci-Fi
Director: Ridley Scott
Stars: Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer and Sean Young
Blade Runner is one of those films that helped define the Sci-Fi genre. There are literally scores of films that have used Blade Runner as its jump point and it’s arguable every Sci-Fi film since has borrowed something from Blade Runner. The plot is loosely based on the novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep by Philip K. Dick.
The film plot is as follows; in the not so distant future Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), a blade runner, has to “retire” four replicants. They have escaped their enslavement, and now wish to extend their built-in four year lifespan via the head of theüber powerful Tyrell Corporation. Realistically there is not much of a plot here, despite this the flow of the film is not affected by the lean storyline.
Ridley Scott has always managed to create an engaging world for his films. Blade Runner is no exception, the gloomy and sprawling sky scrapers with spats of neon was invented by this film (although the film includes many homages to Metropolis, but with added rain). Personally I find the pseudo-Japanese elements of this film funny, as Ghost in the Shell would later adapt elements of this film into its own world. Ironic? No doubt. Unlike most other films, Blade Runner depends greatly on the mood and atmosphere spurred on by the grungy world of Rick Deckard.
The acting throughout is disjointed and the film does have a collection of deplorable mistakes, stunt doubles looking nothing like the cast would be a fine example of this. Most of these mistakes have been corrected on later DVD releases. There are two outstandingly creepy performances: those of Rutger Hauer as Roy Batty and Sean Young as Rachael. The disjointed and distant acting choice is perfect here as they are both cast as replicants. To meander a little on this point, Harrison Ford too plays Deckard with a cocktail of apathy and pathos. This is probably where the “Deckard is an Replicant” argument comes from (you’ll understand when you watch the film). The acting choice works, but it may alienate a large number of people upon first viewing.
The next question is: “Which version should I watch?” If you can get your hands on the Collector’s Edition, do. If not, watch the ‘Directors Cut’. This is the most accessible version of the film in which all the mistakes have been expunged and allows for a nicer viewing. This is a must see film.