Friday, October 6, 2017 marked the official US theatrical release of Blade Runner 2049 – the long-awaited sequel to 1982’s Blade Runner, based on the novel “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” by Phillip K. Dick. Nerd Nation Magazine was in attendance for the early press screening Tuesday, October 3, 2017 courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures, Allied Marketing, and Regal Cinemas.
Due to a review embargo/non-disclosure agreement from the studio, this review, originally written October 4, 2017, was delayed in its publishing until now.
Set 30 years after the events of the first film, Blade Runner 2049 opens with a quick reminder of the high-tech, neo-noir world we’re about to jump back into. Bioengineered human-like androids known as “Replicants” have integrated into society. ‘K’ (Ryan Gosling) is a newer model Replicant created specifically to obey and serve humanity, unlike the previous models which he now hunts down to “retire” as a “blade runner” (a rogue Replicant hunter) for the LAPD.
During one such mission to hunt down a rogue replicant (played by Dave Bautista in a very nice cameo) ‘K’ discovers the remains of one such replicant who seems to have died during childbirth. Once ‘K’ informs his superior of this astonishing feat, he is ordered to find this miracle Replicant child and kill them to prevent a war between humans and replicants – which are wodely believed to not have souls or actually be alive. During his investiagation he tracks down the legendary former blade runner Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford, reprising his iconic role) whom it seems has a very direct tie to this child. Meanwhile, the Tyrell Corporation, led by its sinister new owner Niander Wallace (Jared Leto) and his advanced replicant assistant ‘Luv’ (Dutch model/actress Sylvia Hoeks) are also using their vast resources tracking down the child for their own purposes. But as many mysteries unfold and long-hidden secrets are revealed, ‘K’ begins to discover that things may not be at all what he once believed them to be, and this child he is tracking down may be a lot closer than he thought. But, that is all I will tell you about it, as this is a SPOILER-FREE REVIEW and I wouldn’t want to ruin anything. You’ll just have to go see this one for yourselves.
Director Denis Villeneuve – already known for his outstanding work on 2016’s Arrival (which you can read our review of HERE) – does yet another remarkable job with an equally remarkable script and cast. He and 13-time Academy Award nominated (yes, you read that number correctly) cinematographer Roger Deakins (The Shawshank Redemption, O Brother, Where Art Thou?, No Country for Old Men, just to name a few) perfectly capture the dark-futuristic, cyber-punk, neo-noir feel of the original Blade Runner with so many beautiful shots that it would be difficult to pick out any one in particular. Together, they create a deliberately slow-paced, naturally-developing story that is absolutely masterful in its execution, and takes audiences far down the rabbit hole while asking the signature question of the series “what does it really mean to be alive?”
The cast is also outstanding, with Ryan Gosling and Harrison Ford both turning in fantastic perfromances, as one would expect from such celebrated actors, and Sylvia Hoeks stealing the show as the film’s best antagonist despite playing opposite a very good, if a bit limited, Jared Leto. Former pro-wrestler-turned actor Dave Bautista continues his streak of impressive performaces as well, despite being only a minor establishing character early on in this film, driving home the fact of just how well-cast this film truly was from top to bottom.
The Bottom Line:
Overall, Blade Runner 2049 is just an outstanding film, not to mention one of the hands-down best sequels we’ve ever seen on the big screen. Villeneuve once again raises the bar on modern science-fiction cinema and gives fans old and new alike something to be quite proud of. Worth mentioning is that Blade Runner 2049 follows the continuity of the Final Cut rather than the Original Cut of Blade Runner, so older fans keep that in mind when watching this, though newer fans need not concern themselves with this part just yet (but seriously, if you haven’t seen the original, go back and watch both versions). Don’t let its struggling numbers at the box office fool you, this is an excellent movie that is very much worth going to see, and adding to one’s personal DVD/Blu-Ray collection later on down the line. – 9.0/10
Editor/Staff Writer: Nerd Nation Magazine