Guest Author - Michelle Taylor
At the time Blade Runner came out, it received mixed reviews. Some thought it too slow for a Scifi flick, while others appreciated the artistic and moralistic tone set by the film. It has since become a cult classic, touted as one of the finest films in Scifi.
The story takes place in the future year of 2019 (I know, laughable now, but in 1982 it seemed a million miles away). Harrison Ford plays Rick Deckard a Blade Runner – cops who specialize in hunting down and killing ( or retiring) artificial beings known as NS6s. An NS6 is an advanced “replicant”, really a clone that is indistinguishable from a human being. They are used on outworld missions that are too dangerous for humans. They have become too unpredictable and dangerous to be tolerated on Earth, hence the Blade Runners.
It is discovered that 4 NS6s have commandeered a space shuttle and landed on Earth. Deckard is brought out of retirement to track down these dangerous beings and eliminate them. The four are: Roy (Rutger Hauer), Pris (Daryl Hannah), Leon (Brion James), and Zhora (Joanna Cassidy). During his investigation he is led to the Tyrell Corporation, the company that manufactures the NS6s. There he meets a fifth NS6, Rachael played by Sean Young. However Rachael does not know she is an replicant. Unlike the others, she has been programmed with false memories that she believes to be her own. It takes Deckard over 100 questions to determine she is an NS6, whereas it normally takes 20-30.
There is a failsafe built into the replicants, they only live four years. This is why they came back to Earth, to try to get Tyrell to lengthen their life span. When he informs them that there is no way that can be done (the life span is literally coded into their genes) Roy kills him.
While it is his job to track down the rogue NS6s, Deckard quickly falls in love with Rachael, and finds himself unable to retire her. We also learn that the four outlaws have developed emotions as well. Through a very poignant scene that is unexpected from the icy Rutger Hauer, we learn that Roy is in love with Pris.
This film is one of the first Scifi films to really delve into the concept, “What makes us human?” The NS6s are indistinguishable from humans physically; they are clones, genetically engineered to be human. Yet society treats them as machines, still. They are not given emotions, supposedly this is not engineered into them, yet they have developed them on their own, like any child would. With the addition of memories into their brains the clones are themselves unaware of any difference. So why then are they not human? It has even been (hotly) debated that Deckard himself may be an NS6.
There aren’t a lot of big special effects to this film, it is more character and plot driven. The plot does start out a little slow, but picks up. The actors are great, especially Ford and Hauer. This is not a fast paced, action film, this is a thinking man’s film. You will want to watch it with someone that you can discuss it with afterwards.
This film is rated R for violence.
I paid for this DVD with my own funds