Set 30 years after the Ridley Scott original Denis Villeneuve wades into hollow ground to direct the sequel that fanatics have both dreamed of and dreaded since viewing the ending credits of the 1982 film. There was much risk here, 150 million budget, an original that pre-dates the millennial crowd plus an extra long run time that challenges today's short attention spans to let the material breathe.
However Villeneuve has planted the seeds that sprouted a visually spectacular film underpinned by a compelling narrative that starts on a remote farm on the outskirts of 2049 Los Angeles. LAPD officer K (Ryan Gosling) is this generations Rick Deckhard (Harrison Ford) a replicant hunter specifically the Nexus 8's that are designated for retirement. Underlying is the 10 day black out that wiped all digitally stored records on the androids from the system. K arrives at the farm for a seemingly routine mission that set ups totems that will play out throughout the film. His target Sapper Morton (Dave Bautista) verbally attacks him for hunting his kind spiting out that K can only do his job because he has not seen a miracle.
Beside K and Deckard Villeneuve's universe is occupied by a series of memorable characters. K's boss Lieutenant Joshi (Robin Wright) cold blooded and focused seeming at times more of an android than K. At home in his apartment where he is ridiculed by human residents he is waited on by his holographic girlfriend Joi (Ana de Armas) who has a fifty foot ad along the city's skyline promising to fulfill the pleasure of any man who purchases her program. Sylvia Hoeks shines as Luv the right hand woman to replicant reviver Niander Wallace (Jared Leto) a martial arts assassin that doesn't give a second thought to killing scavengers via satellite as she casually has her nails done in a comfortable recliner.
Villeneuve comes off as having a keen knowledge of the source material. The essence is the movement between dreams and reality peaking when K goes to have a discussion with memory implanter Carla Juri (Dr. Ana Stelline) then as he enters the home of his main totem a sand swept dead space with decaying erotic idols mixed amongst a living bee colony of insects K has never seen. Final proof casting Mackenzie Davis as Mariette a pleasure provider who's a dead ringer for Daryl Hannah's persona Pris from the original. It's a sensory filling cinematic experience that I can highly recommend.
**** Out of 4.
Blade Runner 2049 | Denis Villeneuve | USA/UK/Canada | 2017 | 164 Minutes.
Tags: Sequel, Sci-Fi , Dystopian, Replicants, Hologram, Pregnancy, Android, Farm, L.A., Las Vegas, Peugeot, Pan Am, Atari, Toy Horse.