Blade Runner: The Final Cut (1982)

March 31st, 2015
Author: Meredith Taylor

Director: Ridley Scott

Cast: Harrison Ford, Sean Young, Rutger Hauer, Joe Turkel, M Emmet Walsh, Daryl Hannah

117mins  Fantasy Sci-Fi   US

BLADE RUNNER was considered so ‘out there’ when it originally ignited our screens back in 1982. Now, like that Thierry Mugler eighties suit, it feels dated despite its iconic status as a piece of finely-crafted history. Ridley Scott’s finely detailed Sci-Fi outing looks very ‘Now-Fi’ as his definitive ‘director’s cut’ takes to our screens, gleaming back at us with its bleak and cold-eyed vision. The replicants of yesteryear feel like the call centres operatives of today, minus their superhuman strength: they are ‘people’ who appear to be real but fail to engage on any level making us feel every sympathy for Harrison Ford’s character as he fumbles around in the new age darkness trying to make sense of things.

Based on Philip K Dick’s 1968 novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, BLADE RUNNER is set in Los Angeles, but filmed at Burbank Studios – a HongKong shoot proving too expensive. It follows a detective called Rick Deckard who is brilliantly played by a permanently perplexed Harrison Ford. His sweat-soaked brow be-knitted with angst, he is tasked with tracking down ‘androids’ or replicants, as they are re-badged in Scott’s fantasy thriller. With all the semblance of flesh and blood humans, apart from their ‘shining’ eyes – created using a technique (the Schüfftan Process) that had actually been invented by Fritz Lang – they are robots from outer-space colonies where they have been investigating alternative living quarters for our over-crowded Earthbound population.

Rutger Hauer gives his ‘one hit wonder’ performance as a startlingly appealing yet lethally dangerous android, Roy Batty, with his now-iconic line “All those moments will be lost in time…like tears in the rain”. Daryl Hannah plays a female she-devil android whose initial cutesy mannequin charm turns deadly as she unravels in the final scenes and there is another memorable turn from Joe Turkel (as Dr Eldon Tyrell), the infamous barman from The Shining‘s Overlook Hotel. But the standout here is Sean Young as Rachael. Her spiky vulnerability and shimmering red lips are a legend in their own lunchtime and test Deckard’s male instincts to the limit. The final cut abandons the pseudo happy ending of the original version, opting instead for an unsettling unspooling of gradual dehumanisation. How prescient Scott’s vision turned out to be. MT

BLADE RUNNER: FINAL CUT IS IN CINEMAS FROM 3 APRIL.

HARRISON FORD WILL RETURN TO STAR IN A SEQUEL BY DENIS VILLENEUVE.

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