Blade Runner (1982) Film Review


Nicholas Paragano, Co-editor, Arts & Entertainment

A film I’ve been wanting to see for years is the 1982 sci-fi cult classic Blade Runner. This past weekend, I finally bit the bullet and watched it, and it was an incredible experience. The film takes place in Los Angeles in November 2019, in a future where humanity has created lifelike androids called replicants. However, humans have feared that they’ve  become too sentient, and have banned them from Earth, forcing them to work in the off-world colonies in space. A group of replicants have escaped, returning to Earth to find a way to live longer than their predetermined four year lifespan. It’s up to Deckard (Harrison Ford) to hunt down and kill these replicants (a process referred to as “retiring” them). Note that there will be minor spoilers in this review.

Harrison Ford as Deckard in “Blade Runner”. Image courtesy of Pinterest.

Blade Runner is compelling in many ways. For one, the cinematography is gorgeous. The special effects still hold up. The soundtrack by Greek musician Vangelis fits the vibe of the film perfectly. Presentation-wise, Blade Runner is truly perfect. There are a couple of problems with the film that stood out to me, however. First, I felt that the pacing was a bit slow at points. The film started out strong, had a decent but slow middle half, with a fantastic ending. Secondly, there wasn’t a lot of action. Going into the film, I was expecting an action-packed thrill ride. However, there are only a few

Image courtesy of WIRED.

action sequences sprinkled throughout. The lack of action allows for a lot more slower, but meaningful scenes. That is what compelled me the most about Blade Runner– the themes and messages it presents. Namely, what it truly means to be human. The replicants only want to live, and seem more passionate about life and making the most of it than the humans in the film, who are seen as cynical and unimaginative. The bleak, rainy atmosphere of 2019 Los Angeles serves as a great visual representation of this idea. The actors who play the replicants deliver amazing performances. Namely, Rutger Hayer as Roy Batty (the main replicant) and Sean Young as Rachael (the love interest to Deckard). The former delivers a powerful monologue at the end of the film that is so iconic that it even has its own dedicated Wikipedia page. Harrison Ford unsurprisingly delivers with his performance as the lead role, Deckard. 

Rutger Hayer as Roy Batty. Image courtesy of Imgur.

There are multiple versions of Blade Runner, and the one I watched was The Final Cut, the most recent and considered to be a definitive cut by director Ridley Scott. It is the most accessible cut, and is the version most recommended to newcomers. There are a lot of controversial elements regarding the older cuts, so I’m glad I went with The Final Cut. It’s what I would recommend to you if you’re interested in watching Blade Runner. Overall, I think Blade Runner is an incredible film, a near masterpiece with few flaws. I absolutely understand why people call this film the greatest sci-fi film of all time. I rate Blade Runner a solid 9/10.