Title: Blade Runner 2049
Release Date:
 October 6, 2017
Cast: Ryan Gosling, Harrison Ford, Ana de Armas, Sylvia Hoecks, Robin Wright, Jared Leto
Director:  Denis Villeneuve
Studio:  Alcon Entertainment, Scott Free Productions, Columbia Pictures
Distributor: Warner Bros. Pictures
IMDB | Rotten Tomatoes | Wikipedia

Spoilers: Low

Blade Runner has long been one of those pieces of fiction held on high as absolute. Blade Runner is classic! Blade Runner defines the genre! Blade Runner is also very strange. Not least because of its tumultuous history and its numerous versions.

So now comes a sequel, 35 years removed.

There are changes and there are similarities. Harrison Ford is back as Deckard – now 30 years older, grizzled, and living on the run. But he’s not the lead. That would be Ryan Gosling as K, a new era blade runner hunting Replicants. Ridley Scott is out as director and replaced instead by Denis Villeneuve (Prisoners, Arrival, and Sicario), while writing duties have been handled by both Hampton Francher (who wrote the original Blade Runner) as well as Michael Green.

Essentially, in production alone, it is very much an evolution from the original and not a complete deviation. That vibe plays through the entire film. It supremely continues from the first. The world is the same but different, the hero is the same but different, and the enemies are the same… but different.

The acting is stellar across the board. Ryan Gosling is absolutely perfect in his role as K, playing the perfect variant of his cool and collected Drive persona. Ford’s Deckard is a bit more talkative than the original but just as grizzled as ever. Jared Leto’s portrayal of Wallace is alien, despite the familiarity of the character, and both Ana de Armas and Sylvia Hoecks both bring emotion to their roles in the most astounding manner.

Visually the movie is absolutely gorgeous. Its depictions of the future LA is as grimy and neon as the original – not to mention rain-slick. The style has moved on from the eighties take on the future from the original but only just so. And the world-building done in the film is a believable continuation of what we saw in the original.

The same can be said for the actual plot of the film. I won’t be going into any story details except to say that it is a helluva a ride. Anything more than that might spoil the experience.

But for those who might be worried: nothing in this film ruins the original’s mystique.

It only enhances the possibilities and continues on with those themes of what it means to be human. It is a puzzle piece that fits neatly next to its predecessor without altering its magic in the slightest. Blade Runner 2049‘s plot is not that of a lazy, action-focused sequel cash grab. We don’t see the original hero show up just to shoot bigger guns at bigger bad guys. It is developed and deep, calling up new questions and presenting thoughts the original did not.

Blade Runner 2049 is in theaters now, and you need to see it!

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