Blade Runner: The Final Cut – A Movie Review

Believe it or not, this is the first and only version of Blade Runner that I’ve seen.  I understand that there have been many different versions over the years, but this one, The Final Cut, is supposed to be the end-all-be-all.

Supposedly, the director, Ridley Scott, never intended the studio-mandated Harrison Ford narration in the original version.  In this new, definitive release, Scott cuts the narration, adds a few scenes, and cleans up a lot of the special effects.  Reportedly, other than the narration, there isn’t a whole lot different (though I’ve been told the omission of the narration makes the movie far more ambiguous).

I’m sure you already know this, but Blade Runner is about a man named Rick Deckard who is brought out of retirement to hunt a pack of rogue replicants, androids who appear human in every way and are forced to do the labor in space that humans won’t or can’t.  It’s obviously set in the future, 2019 to be exact, and Scott provides a terrifying but realistic take on a world overrun by people, pollution, and commercialism.  Every scene is dark and wet, and the film really suffocates the viewer with its dystopian outlook.

(Spoilers Ahead)

In his hunt, Deckard runs across a replicant played by Sean Young who doesn’t even know she’s a replicant, and he takes a love interest in her.  After a brutal and violent showdown with the last of the rogue replicants eerily played by Rutger Hauer, Deckard must deal with the fact that no replicants are to be left in public, and so what is he to do with Young’s character?

(Major Spoilers Ahead)

I suppose a major argument against The Final Cut is that the omission of the voice over no longer makes it obvious that Deckard is a replicant himself.  Allegedly, at the end of the movie, Edward James Olmos’ character leaves a paper doll unicorn outside of Deckard’s apartment when Deckard returns to run away with Young’s character.  This unicorn, some say, is an obvious clue that Olmos knew Deckard’s memories because Deckard dreamt of a unicorn, thus making him a replicant.

I don’t see it that way.  Olmos left paper dolls everywhere of various animals throughout the entire movie.  I believe Olmos left the paper unicorn outside Deckard’s apartment as a sign his character could have killed Young’s character, but chose to let Deckard try to live a life with her instead.  The unicorn is coincidental in the literal sense, but I believe it figuratively is a metaphor representing Deckard’s dreams now have a chance at reality with the sparing of Young’s character and a chance at love.

(End Major Spoilers)

I was surprised at all the big names in this movie, though I guess, other than Ford, they weren’t very big names at the time.  I found Ford’s acting stiff and difficult to watch, but everyone else did an adequate job.  The real pleasure of this movie came from the sets.  The special effects were impressive in their day, but I’ve never seen such a realistic depiction of a city gone to hell. 

I don’t know if I’d recommend Blade Runner: The Final Cut to the general movie audience, but I think any science fiction fan would really enjoy it on a variety of levels.