final rosie 🔪’s review published on Letterboxd:
Before 2049 was announced I never really planned to watch this, and even then I put it off for several months. This is one of those films I go into knowing it's going to offend me in some way (it did of course, because I'm always right, but I guess it had some good points too).
So first of all, the bad; Harrison Ford is just super boring in this. I think that's more a product of the script and the way this was shot than his talents as an actor (or... maybe not?). Here he plays a cop, which makes his character unsympathetic anyway, but on top of that his personality is uh..... missing? His main expressions are Boring and Fear, which incidentally are also my two main emotions.
Much worse than Ford's performance is his penultimate scene with Sean Young. This was, judging by the music, clearly supposed to be sexy, but the way he forces her to kiss him and tells her what to say adds a thick layer of doubt to her answers to his questions before their escape. Put simply - it was rape, and I felt scared for Rachael when I saw her in the car with him at the end.
The consistent usage of POC as extras and Asian imagery & language as backdrop is also highly questionable. Scott, it seems, has always had problems with portraying race, and it's something which has only gotten worse since 1982, if Exodus is anything to go by (it is).
Now the little good which I extracted from this mess! Aside from the admittedly cool soundtrack my absolute favourite part of this was Rutger Hauer's Roy Batty. His voice and body language during the chase scene through Sebastian's apartment are genuinely quite scary, and his last speech and subsequent death in the end are so poetic. Two stars for his performance. A sympathetic villain if I ever saw one.
In fact all of the replicants are sympathetic in my opinion, and I found myself rooting for them early on. As a rumination on what it means to be mortal, this film is quite beautiful. It's just a shame it could be better in almost every other way.