Blade Runner 2049 **

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Blade Runner is the ultimate exercise in Hollywood self indulgence. That isn’t to say there are no bright spots in this entirely too overdramatic and overblown film. The technical achievements are unbelievable. The lighting, the set design, those aspect are worthy of an Oscar, but the film’s technical brilliance cannot make up for it’s inexplicably long run time and incoherent story. I suspect the film’s length is due to the fact Blade Runner fancies itself as an epic in the style of Lawrence of Arabia, but unlike Lawrence of Arabia, this film is superficial with uninteresting characters and an uninspired story.

The film takes place 30 years after the original Blade Runner movie. The opening prologue explains that the Tyrell Corporation went bankrupt after the 2020 Replicant Rebellion, because said corporation manufactured the rebellious replicants. The Wallace Corporation took over the remnants of Tyrell and began manufacturing robots that wouldn’t rebel. So now Earth and it’s space colonies are being ran by Wallace Corporation robots.

Enter Officer K, played by Ryan Gosling. Officer K is a blade runner, someone who makes a living finding replicants from the 2020 rebellion and ‘retiring’ them. Here’s another problem with the film: Ryan Gosling can’t act. His whole range of emotion in almost any role he’s ever been in is sit there and look handsome. And there’s no question, Gosling is a handsome man, who is in great shape. But that doesn’t mean he’s a great actor. I know, he plays a robot, but even robots have to be interesting for cinematic purposes!

While the officer is at work, retiring a replicant, he discovers the remains of a deceased replicant. Medical evidence from the deceased’s remains suggest the replicant had a child, about the time of the rebellion. This is significant, because replicants are supposedly unable to have children. The head of the Wallace Corporation uses it’s trickery to find out about the birth, and then the film becomes of a bit of cat and mouse game, as both the Wallace Corporation and Officer K want to be the first to find the missing child. Officer K wants to kill the replicant to preserve Earth’s social order (if the replicants give birth, then they can potentially outnumber humans humans.) The corporation wants to use the born replicant to create a whole new line of  superior replicants.

While I was not a big fan of this film, I have to heap praise on Harrison Ford, who reprises his role from the first Blade Runner. Ford’s part is terribly written, but he makes the absolute best out of it. Not everyone can command a presence the way Ford can, but I wish the rest of the actors in this film would have tried to pretend they wanted to be here.

The person next to me in the movie theater fell asleep. To be honest, I almost did too. There are scenes in this movie where the characters stare at each other for seemingly 5 minutes, with only 2 lines of dialogue. The film’s score is so loud in places, I felt like it was going to break the sound barrier. The best way I can describe the film’s score, is Donald Trump on a synthesizer.

The biggest problem with the newest Blade Runner is that it acts like it has such an important story to tell when I can’t figure out what the story is. There’s nothing new or innovative here. Blade Runner is all machine and no thought… and unfortunately I think the filmmakers were okay with making a film that was so hollow, but looked so beautiful.

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