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Blade Runner 2049


Best Parts Are the Visuals

Genre: Science Fiction
MPAA Rating: R
For violence, some sexuality nudity and language
Studio: Warner Bros. Pictures
Runtime: 163 minutes
Our Rating:
Directed by: Denis Villenueve
Cast: Ryan Gosling, Harrison Ford, Robin Wright, Dave Bautista, Mark Arnold, Barkhad Abdi, Ana de Armas
Review by James Colt Harrison

People who conjure up such dark and dreary films as this belong in an asylum. Perhaps they are already there. The new Blade Runner 2049 is a continuation of a film made thirty-five years ago. This one was written by former B movie and TV actor Hampton Fancher (with Michael Green). When Mr. Fancher’s acting career didn’t work out he turned to writing. That doesn’t seem to have worked out either.

There is no way to make heads or tails of this plot unless you undergo a severe lobotomy. Are the characters real humans or are they robots? Are they going in and out of reality or are they schizophrenic? Or are you?

Today’s favorite hunk, Ryan Gosling — so good in the musical La La Land — plays LA Detective “K”, a name that is longer with numbers that seem to designate the serial number of a car engine, or that of a newly turned out robot. Is he or isn’t he? Well, you never can tell. He looks good anyway, and the ladies will be pleased at the cocker spaniel look on his face. His task is to find Richard Decker, who has disappeared for the past 35 years since the first movie. He must have been looking for employment in the sequel.

Originally David Bowie was set to play Niander Wallace, but he graciously died and left the part open for Jared Leto. The young Leto grabbed the goofy part of the sightless man and got to wear opaque contact lenses to simulate blindness. I really couldn’t figure out what he was doing in the movie. However, it gave Leto a chance to wear some spiffy costumes designed by the talented Renee April.

Harrison, Villenueve, Gosling

Now we come to Decker. He has been resurrected from the trash heap of sci-fi debris in the form of Star Wars favorite, Harrison Ford. Plenty of action begins when he gets into a fight with K, a man 45 years younger. Decker lands jackhammer punches — enhanced by the Dolby Atmos surround sound, to decibels only a bat could tolerate. It’s not believable that a doddering man in his 70s could beat this strapping young man to a pulp. But, it’s Harrison Ford doing the punching, and he’s a star and expected to have the muscles of a teenager. Ridiculous!

We’re also supposed to believe that K is out to save mankind by finding a missing boy who was erased years ago. Who was it and where is he now? Nobody could figure that out until the end. There are clues upfront so pay attention or you will miss the entre set-up.

The best parts of the film are the visuals, beautifully captured by master cinematographer Roger Deakins. His work is of Oscar® quality, and maybe this year he will win a statue for his lensing. Production Design by Dennis Gassner and Set Decoration by Allesandra Querzola are superb as is the art direction from a group bigger than the crew on one of the space ships.

Recommended Audience:
Devotees of sci-fi, Harrison Ford fans.