Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Blade Runner (1982)

Today's film is Blade Runner.  It was based on the novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick.  I thoroughly enjoyed this movie, mainly because of Harrison Ford's excellent acting and him being shirtless part of the time.  The setting is a dark, cyberpunk future that doesn't focus much on technology except for the fact that replicants exist as slaves on distant planets.  "Replicants" are what this film calls "androids" or humanoid robots.  They look exactly like humans, but have no emotions, have super strength, and have a limited lifespan of 4 years.

Replicants are dangerous, so they are not allowed on Earth.  If they come, they are hunted down by special cops called Blade Runners.  An especially skilled one named Deckard is called out of retirement to take care of a group of replicants that have stolen a ship to come to Earth to meet their creator.  Even though in the book Deckard is definitely not a replicant, everything in this movie seems to indicate he is.  He even has the same red flash in his eyes when talking to Rachael, another replicant.  She doesn't even know she is one, at least not until he gives her a special test to check her emotions.  So if Deckard is a replicant, then he probably doesn't know he is one either.

The movie culminates in a rainy fight between Deckard and the stronger Roy.  Both actors agree that Ridley Scott's assertion that Deckard is a replicant takes away from this fight.  Instead of it being a fight of man over machine, it just turns into a fight between two androids.  That's it.  So in this sense, one could say that Deckard has to be a human.  Also, it would be difficult but not impossible for Rachael to form any relationship with Deckard if she really doesn't have any emotions.

 In some ways, the replicants are more alive than Deckard is, who only exists to do his job, one he tried to retire from in the first place.  The replicants, led by Roy Batty (played by Rutger Hauer), are on a mission to visit their creator to extend their lifespans.  Roy's lifespan is almost up and he is not ready to die yet.  The creator tries to explain that they can't extend the lifespan and have tried several times.   Roy responds by killing him by smashing his face with his bare hands.  So this movie explores themes of creators being destroyed by what they have created, slavery and freedom, and what it means to be human.  I will give this film an 8/10.


  1. I never thought of Deckard as a replicant. That is an interesting angle.
    You are right, there are so many interesting themes at play here and then it is a very good take on a postmodernistic film noir.

    1. That's very interesting, I never considered it a film noir before. But now I notice that it is a very "dark" movie.

  2. The whole "Deckard is a replicant" thing is an example of a director using a trend from fans to drive interest back into his film. When it came out, and for about 10 years afterwards, there was nothing on this front at all. Then people started talking about how great would it be if he was. Then a new version of the film got released - the "Director's Cut" - that just happened to include new things that seemed to point to Deckard being one. This fired up the fanboys, added strength to that argument, and drove interest back to the film again. Now there's been a third version of the film released. Repeat cycle.

    Personally? I'm going with the original version of the film: Deckard's human.

    (By the way, something similar happened with the John Carpenter version of The Thing where many years later a theory that one the two guys left at the end was the shapeshifting alien took hold and is now the prevalent line of discussion for the film.)

    1. I think I realized that Deckard was human when it said he was coming out of retirement to find the replicants. If he was a replicant himself, how could he be retired if they only live 4 years? So he would have to be a human. As for the Thing, I dont want to think about it because it's too scary. And if they were both human, they would die anyway because they burned up all their supplies.