"So you're the main man?" My friend asked the figure we just had noticed sitting alone in the dark hallway. The man stopped rubbing his temple and looked up through the smoke dispersing from his cigarette. Two vivid blue eyes appeared. Nexus 6 quality, I thought. Mr. Hauer leaned back, smiled and replied; "Yeah sure, at least to night." This was in 2002 before a late night screening of Blade Runner. Mr. Hauer was to introduce the movie with a Q&A.
I newer saw Blade Runner at the original premiere in 1982 being only 10 years old at the time.
It was not until a few years later that I caught it on VHS. I have seen it many times since then, mostly together with friends taking turns quoting the lines, but also at a few screenings and of course the Directors Cut premiere in 92. When somebody asks me what my favorite movie is I always reply Blade Runner. Why? Is it just because I was a susceptible 13-year old role-playing geek when I bumped into it the first time? Thinking about all this I realized I had not seen it since that night I met Mr. Hauer. And that was four years ago.
So I decided it was time to clear the slate and watch the movie cold, would the old movie still hold up when a bored, hardened 34 year old sat down to reconsider?
Synopsis: The movie plays out in a dark, rainy, neon drenched and futuristic Los Angeles. Pollution is heavy and animals nearly extinct. The rich and powerful are leaving earth like rats from a sinking ship. Nexus 6, the latest generation of superhuman Replicants (robots) are treated and used as soldier and prostitute slaves for off world missions. After a mutiny attempt the Nexus generation are considered unsafe and banned on earth. Special police called Blade Runners are assigned to hunt down and execute them. A group of replicants, the leader played by Rutger Hauer, escapes to earth to confront their creator Dr Eldon Tyrell. Harrison Ford plays a retired constantly hung over Blade Runner; "Rick Deckard" who reluctantly agrees to stop the replicants, the mission becomes more complicated when he and one of his targets falls in love.
The original 82' release of the movie had another ending and a Mike Hammer style voiceover narration by Harrison Ford. The Director Ridley Scott removed these and added a few other things in the Directors Cut release of 92'.
The verdict falls...
I must admit that I was a little worried at first, would I think that the film wasn't that good anymore? But I comfortably sank deeper and deeper into my sofa and after only 10 minute I new that there was nothing to worry about. Blade Runner truly is great, in fact after this I am more certain than ever that this is my number one movie.
The film has a lot of strengths that each one has the potential to make viewing it an enjoyable experience. First it is the interesting story that has enough moral issues to have you pondering for a long time. The story comes through perfectly subtle in the directors cut, far away from Hollywoods usual fear of not being overly clear. This enriches the movie and makes it more open to interpretation. That is probably why I keep coming back, you never seem to be finished with it and that is part of its beauty. Then the actors; Rutger Hauer burns a hole through the screen with his presence as the rebellious slave with mesmerizing quotes. And I really like to see Harrison Ford in such a dark movie as this is. He is at his best here and his character got much more exciting without the added voiceover. But I can't help thinking about how the others that where considered for the part would have been. I am talking about: Robert Mitchum, Tommy Lee Jones, Christopher Walken and Dustin Hoffman. Mitchum would have been cool as hell, but I guess he was a little bit too old at the time. The rest of the cast also delivers. One of my favorites is Leon, played by Brion James.
Then there is the incredibly detailed and convincing movie sets. The street and flying scenes are captivating and should be viewed in a big movie theatre or in a really good home theatre. Deckards apartment has an atmosphere that is very special and needs to be experienced. The cinematography is delicious and the score by Vangelis masterfully contributes a melancholic and intriguing atmosphere to the movie. I also enjoy the slow tempo in witch the story unfolds. The word slow might sound negative for the MTV generation who think that fast pacing equals good.
One of my favorite scenes is when a bruised, stressed Deckard tries to find his way through a busy futuristic street hunting a replicant. He suddenly finds himself blocked by a crowd of orange clad Hare Krishna monks doing their mantra. Some things never change...
I now eagerly await the new DVD that is rumored to be available next year, hopefully loaded with bonus material and in HD.