It has been thirty-five years since the release of Blade Runner, but finally Warner Bros. see fit to give us a sequel. Now if I’m being honest, I was more than a little sceptical when this project was first announced, feeling that the studio are building upon this classic for profit alone. This opinion has changed drastically over the last few months, with the marketing department doing a stellar job of building hype around this beloved sci-fi classic. I can gladly report that the movie exceeds these expectations, as despite it being debatable as to whether it surpasses the original, it makes a strong effort to do so.
Denis Villeneuve steps into the director’s chair for this long awaited sequel, with the visionary behind Arrival delivering a cinematic masterpiece. Working off a script written by Hampton Fancher and Michael Green the director does an excellent job of capturing the tone and feel of the original, with the cinematography of Roger Deakins being sensational. What impresses most during this is the way the creative talent unravels the mysterious elements of this narrative, building off lingering questions from the original, whilst asking bold new questions at the same time. This is all given tremendous depth thanks to the exquisite musical score of Hans Zimmer, with the action also adding tension.
The talent in front of the camera are equally impressive, with Ryan Gosling giving one of his best performances as replicant blade runner, K. Bringing a much more refined approach to the role, Gosling shows the discipline and investigative instincts of this android law enforcer. It is, however, the emotional depth of K that captivates most throughout this, with Gosling handling the subtle facial expressions perfectly. Now you could hardly have a Blade Runner sequel without the return of Harrison Ford as Rick Deckard. Despite his role being much briefer than anticipated, the legendary actor is as impressive as ever, giving a strong and imposing performance. The chemistry that Ford and Gosling share also helps give more depth and tension to their scenes, with the actors complimenting each other beautifully.
One of the key focal points of this story is the evolution of the replicants and how newer models are no longer seen as a threat. Despite this the existence of rogue older models like Sapper Morton (Dave Bautista) does keep alive the concept of the original, whilst replicant manufacturer Niander Wallace (Jared Leto) plots something revolutionary. Much like Ford neither of these two stars get much screen time, but what they deliver in the time they have is simply astonishing. Add to this a cameo for Edward James Olmos (Gaff), as well as Ana de Armas‘ stunning performance as virtual companion Joi and we’re given a strong cast across the board.
Blade Runner 2049 is a visual masterpiece and one of the best sequels in recent years. Expanding on Philip K. Dick‘s imaginative dystopian world the cast and crew deliver a story that is emotionally compelling and dripping in mystery. The various twists and turns astound in awe-inspiring fashion, with the cinematography being lavish from start to finish.
(9 / 10)