Review of Blade Runner 2049

This post was written by Colin Free on October 12, 2017

Having only seen the original Blade Runner once, back in the early 90s when it was re-released and having been underwhelmed by it, I decided to re-watch it before seeing the sequel. My feelings about it didn’t change – visually arresting but failing to provide any sort of emotional connection for me.

You might think then, that my expectations for this sequel were low. But with Denis Villeneuve directing and Ryan Gosling starring that wasn’t the case.

Gosling plays K, a new model replicant who works as a blade runner. During a mission to locate and ‘retire’ old version replicants he starts to unearth long-buried and dangerous secrets. With Roger Deakins photography and Villeneuve’s vision this film more than matches the original visually. Also, Gosling is a much better performer than Harrison Ford, who reprises his role of Deckard in a supporting role. So, on the whole I found it a superior movie.

However, it does have flaws that prevent it from being the classic that some critics have dubbed it. The screenplay by Hampton Fancher and Michael Green is not at the same level as the technical aspects of the film. The story gets bogged down about two-thirds of the way through and the 2 hour 44 minute running time feels like an over indulgence. Finally, Jared Leto’s chief bad guy is a real damp squib and he lacks any sort of menace. The film already had a much better villain in Sylvia Hoeks’ Luv.

On the whole I am glad the style and spirit of the original has been kept to when it would have been easy to deliver a more typical action packed sci-fi movie. I found a lot to admire in it but still felt like it didn’t have the impact on me that it is sure to have on many others.

Rating: 7 out of 10

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