Blade Runner 2049 is a sequel to the ground-breaking scifi movie Blade Runner, released in 1982.
Like the original movie – which was loosely based on Philip K Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, Blade Runner 2049 is light on story but is highly watchable due to the luscious art direction and the visual concepts.
At their core, both movies are neo-noir detective yarns. In the original, blade runner Rick Dekard (Harrison Ford) is on a mission to find 4 escaped replicants and in this sequel, replicant blade runner K (Ryan Gosling) is on a quest to find the child of a replicant mother – something that will change the world forever.
Both movies are ponderous and filled with one-on-one conversations with the odd flashes of violence. The question that runs through the movies relate to the difference between a human and a replicant.
What does it mean to be human and who decides? This theme is explored and developed in some depth during the sequel’s 163 minutes.
The characters – human or otherwise – are quite enigmatic and keep the viewers’ attention effortlessly. K’s love interest, the holographic virtual companion Joi (Ana de Armas); K’s boss, Lieutenant Joshi (Robin Wright); replicant manufacturer Niander Wallace (Jared Leto) and Wallace’s replicant enforcer Luv (Sylvia Hoeks).
Strangely enough, it’s K and to a lesser degree Dekard that come across rather dehumanised – keeping their emotions under the surface and seldom expressing any empathy for anybody else.
The world that director Denis Villeneuve (Arrival) builds is naturally a development of the original Blade Runner and it is a sumptuous delight for the eye and the heart.
If only there was more meat on the bones, as far as the narrative is concerned… and the film ends ambiguously as well, suggesting that another sequel might follow. Maybe then we can get closure.
… still there’s more …