Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford) is a retired police assassin, or 'blade runner'. The Los Angeles of 2019 is a dark, polluted, overcrowded dystopia dominated by flying traffic. Deckard has been called out of retirement to liquidate four escaped "replicants"--genetically derived androids of great strength, intelligence, and nearly-human emotion who serve as slaves and prostitutes in the off-planet colonies. Led by Roy Batty (Rutger Hauer), they've come to Los Angeles to confront their designer, Eldon Tyrell (Joe Turkel), with their unhappiness about the brevity of their four-year life span. In the course of his search, Deckard becomes romantically entwined with Tyrell's lovely assistant, Rachael (Sean Young), and must eventually confront Batty in an unforgettable rain-soaked sequence.
 

5
Final cut is the only way to experience it.

There has been a trend since the advent of the digital age for some directors to revisit their films and add better effects, as in the case of Star Wars, or make them more PC, as in the case of ET. I’m not hugely in favour of this sort of revisionism, but if you could justify tweaking any movie it’d be Blade Runner.

Truly one of the great art-direction and production design achievements of sci-fi cinema.



In 1982, when the film was originally released, the studio forced director Ridley Scott to include an inappropriate narration by Harrison Ford and inserted a happy ending that made no sense.

Ten years later, Ridley Scott issued a director’s cut that undid these mistakes and now, to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the film, we have his so-called final cut.

This has some of the special effects buffed up, a few new lines, and a little bit more violence. Released in the new high-definition format, Blade Runner has never looked better.

This film truly is one of the great art-direction and production design achievements of sci-fi cinema. It’s up there with Metropolis, Star Wars, 2001 and Ridley Scott’s own Alien. The neo-noir vision of Los Angeles 2019 is majestic and hellish, a city of golden ziggurats and endless night and rain.

Blade Runner’s mystique lays in its ambiguity: how did the world get to this point? It’s never explained.

The film’s plot is likewise ambiguous. Harrison Ford’s Blade runner is a shell of a man tasked with hunting and killing four replicants, artificial humans who have clearly developed their own emotions of love for life.

Ford emphasises his downbeat nature and he really is an anti-hero, right up until the end when his true nature is revealed to himself. It’s a delicious irony.

By contrast, Rutger Hauer’s replicant Roy Batty is the film’s most potent, vigorous life force. The showdown between the two men remains exciting and moving, even if you’ve seen it many times before.

Blade Runner is a towering sci-fi film and a movie that any cinephile should see. The Final Cut is the way it ought to be experienced.

Happily, this whopping five-disc set also preserves the other various cuts of the movie so it’s possible to see how it evolved, and there are also extensive documentary features.

Blade Runner: The Final Cut rates five stars.