You know the old cliché: “The man who needs no introduction . . . ” ? Well, presumably, you don’t need me to explain to you why Blade Runner is a great movie and why it deserves to be re-watched periodically. Widely considered one of the greatest sci-fi films of all time (or the greatest sci-fi film, depending on your allegiance to Stanley Kubrick), Blade Runner is a profound meditation on death itself masquerading as a cat and mouse adventure.
Simultaneously endlessly watchable as well as dense, iconic yet relevant, the film shattered the limitations of the genre. It posed big, striking philosophical questions while providing us with a damn good ride. While Harrison Ford did an admirable job playing the titular blade runner, a bounty hunter lawman sent to hunt down rogue replicants, it was Rutger Hauer who burned himself into film legend. He embodied doomed and insane Roy Batty, leader of a small group of outlaw replicants, whose sole mission is to find a way to extend their 4-year lifespan. His confrontation with his creator is a powerful and discordant moment for us– after all, what would you say to God and how would you ask for more life? Roy’s rooftop scene, ostensibly the final showdown between protagonist and antagonst, is one of the pivotal moments in cinema. It indelibly leaves a mark branded into your flesh. It’s the moment Blade Runner becomes a statement about mortality itself, the moment entertainment becomes transcendence.
With all of this going for Blade Runner, you hardly need the mind-boggling set-design, perfect score or dazzling art direction, but they certainly don’t hurt. And when you combine sly humor with poetic dialogue that people have tattooed onto their skin, you have one of the greatest films ever made– and that, my friend, is no hyperbole.
Britta R. Moline 11/13/11