BonfireAtNight’s review published on Letterboxd:
I've been meaning to re-watch Blade Runner for a long time, and since I've recently re-read Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep I thought it was as good a time as ever. To be honest, for some reason I feared that I wouldn't appreciate it as much anymore as I did in the past, which mainly comes down to how simple it really is. However, I still loved it, and probably even more so than in the past.
The story is set in an alternative future (actually it's set in 2019, but never-mind), one that looks so dark and inhospitable that you cannot but think of it as a dystopia. While it is not as much elaborated as in the book, we do know that a large proportion of the human population left to settle on Mars. As is explained on electronic blackboards, on Mars you will be greeted with a very human-like android (or "replicant") who is to serve you. However, there has been a slave uprising and some of the replicants manage to come to Earth, there posing as "normal" human beings. Therefore, the state (or whoever is in charge) institutionalized bounty-hunters, so-called "Blade Runners", to identify and kill the escaped replicants using official authority and elaborate psychological techniques.
While this might sound as a somewhat complex set-up, the story itself is incredibly simple. Former Blade Runner Rick Deckard (played by Harrison Ford) is retrieved from retirement to hunt down six replicants who are particularly dangerous, due to being of a more advanced (meaning more human-like) type than the models that had previously been on the market. Spoiler-alert: so he does, end of movie.
You might argue that there are more facets to the plot. One plot-thread is particularly widely discussed when it comes to this movie. I was determined to pay more attention to the famous 'Is Deckard himself a replicant?'-issue, but in all honesty, I still think it's hardly in there. Unlike in the book, where the replicants try to live normal lives, in the adaptation there is also the sub-plot of them trying to extend their four-year life. There is also the beginning of a relationship between Deckard and one of the replicants (called Rachel) he's supposed to hunt down, but it's pretty much that: the beginning of a relationship.
All this being said, I would still argue that it's almost a perfect sci-fi experience. In every single scene you feel like you are having only small glimpses into a world that is so very much different from our own, yet remains to be a possible future. Those painstakingly detailed and amazingly beautiful set-pieces, connected to our world via familiar advertisement, still make you watch in awe even 40 years later. Moreover, the movie makes great use of its 50's jazz-soundtrack to invoke the film noir feeling of the time.
When Blu-ray first came out I remember myself being rather skeptical, saying things along the line of "Pff, who needs this, DVD looks fine to me... in fact, some movies (like 'Blade Runner') probably looked more authentic on VHS!". Funny how sometimes you realize what a deluded idiot you really are. I never enjoyed this movie as much as on this first Blu-ray watch, making it possible to really appreciate its every detail.
If above I said Blade Runner was an almost a perfect sci-fi experience, I was really nitpicking. Deckard sure is a cool protagonist, with Harrison Ford lending him his characteristic charm, but you cannot but admit that he's a bit shallow (especially when compared to the depth of the version in the book). I also think that I would have loved it even more if there had been a bit more real detective work (and maybe a bit more to his relationship with Rachel). But all this won't carry much weight when the experience you get is this unique, especially when this hilariously disturbed antagonist really gets going towards the climax.
Also, how cool is the scene when he analysis the photo as if it was a representation in three dimensions?