Review - Blade Runner - Directors Cut

 


One of the first films to be edited, restored, and re-released onto a director’s cut DVD was Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner. Nowadays, this process is quite common; countless pictures are released, re-released, and re-re-released in different versions. However, in more ways than one, Blade Runner: The Director’s Cut is one of the forefathers of modern-day cinema. It is the granddaddy of the process of amalgamating action, science fiction, romance, and film noir into one cohesive classic.

The year is 2019. The place is Los Angeles. The huge conglomerate, Tyrell Corporation, has created the Nexus 6 Replicant — “a being virtually identical to a human.” These artificial humans possess no unique memories and are programmed to terminate four years from their creation. In addition, the Nexus 6 model is illegal on Earth.

Enter Rick Deckard, a former blade runner, who specializes in the “retirement” (not execution) of these synthetic beings. Rick is assigned to hunt down five replicants who are loose in L.A. These five consist of Zhora (Joanna Cassidy), Leon (Brion James), Pris (Daryl Hannah), Batty (Rutger Hauer), and Rachael (Sean Young).

Influenced in itself by Star Wars, 2001: A Space Odyssey, and more, Blade Runner is a sci-fi masterpiece. It challenges the meaning of life, emphasizes the impact of urban decay, and sets the stage for a dark and rainy future. Furthermore, Ridley Scott’s film is the inspiration for many modern day marvels — some of which include Minority Report, A.I., Back to the Future, The Matrix, and I Robot.

In both Blade Runner and the films it has inspired, there is a steady struggle between man and machine. This rebellion of the made against the maker is typically a result of ignorance due to a series of unanswerable inquiries. For instance, in Blade Runner the humanoids consult their creator for an answer to life and a means of immortality. When no answer is forthcoming, they revolt. Likewise, this endless cycle is observed in countless other motion pictures. Despite this aforementioned battle being a widespread concept, in a patriarchal sense, one could easily declare that Blade Runner is – by far – the cinematic father figure.

Perhaps the most striking qualities that make The Director’s Cut such a masterful feature are the additions and/or changes that were made to the theatrical release. For starters, Scott opts to throw Deckard’s narration out the window. This disproves that having the lead character narrate is always the wisest of options. In addition, Scott elects to delve deeper into the romance between Deckard and Rachael. This allows for increased emotion and a much-needed surge in chemistry. With this accentuated romantic tone, Scott also adds possibly the most intriguing scene of all to the mix — a scene in which Deckard dreams of a unicorn, suggesting that he himself may be a replicant. Moreover, by truncating the original “Hollywood” ending and closing with the unicorn origami, followed by the couple entering the elevator, Scott succeeds in raising ambiguity and wonderment — as opposed to false sentimentality.

All in all, Blade Runner is one of the finest representations of science fiction. It’s a noir quest that challenges the basic ideas of identity and what it means to be a living, breathing human. For certain, Blade Runner is not one of those run-of-the-mill features that soon becomes lost in your memory “like tears in rain.”

 

Written by Brandon Valentine
Published November 24, 2006