Review: 'Blade Runner 2049'

Blade Runner 2049, directed by Denis Villeneuve (Prisoners, Sicario, Arrival), is a well crafted, visually stunning, and all-around impressive sequel to the 1982 original film. Starring Ryan Gosling, Harrison Ford, and a solid supporting cast led by Jared Leto and Robin Wright, this film is already being called one of the best sci-fi movies and sequels of all time and will likely go down as one of the top films of 2017.

The film picks up 30 years after the original and features LAPD Blade Runner, Officer K (Gosling), on a mission to track down older model “Replicants,” bioengineered androids meant to look identical to humans. While investigating a rogue Replicant, Officer K uncovers a secret that has the potential to completely affect Replicant creation. K’s quest leads him to find former Blade Runner, Rick Deckard (Ford), but he quickly realizes they are being followed by representatives of Replicant manufacturer, Niander Wallace (Leto), who aims to use the secret information to increase his production of slave laborers.

As one of the most anticipated films of the year, I was overly excited to see this film. I had a chance to view it in a Dolby Cinema theater, and the enhanced visuals and sound in the vibrating recliner seats made the experience even more enjoyable. Suffice to say if there’s any film of late to be viewed in an IMAX or Dolby theater, this movie is it.

Denis Villeneuve has made a name for himself in recent years by creating thrilling, above average films that usually feature top-notch sound design that adds to the intensity. It is no different as it is a truly first-class film that has just about anything you could ask for and more from a science fiction film. Like the original, this installment also has a neo-noir style to it that includes dark, visually appealing scenes.

Acting is usually not at the top of the list when it comes to genre specific, sci fi films, but like most aspects here, the cast is superb. Gosling presents yet another outstanding performance, and the supporting cast is filled with recognizable faces from top to bottom, that include Harrison Ford, Robin Wright, Ana de Armas, Mackenzie Davis, Sylvia Hoeks, Dave Bautista, Lennie James, Wood Harris, Barkhad Abdi and Jared Leto. My only concern is that I would’ve liked to see more from Leto, whose screen time is minimal.

Like most sci-fi films, there is a heavy dose of space crafts, androids, a post apocalyptic type environment, and other futuristic science-based material. This content is very well presented, and as expected, the special effects involved look fantastic. Similarly, there appears to be inspiration and visuals that come from other films of this genre, such as Star Wars, The Fifth Element, and parts of the Wachowski’s films like Cloud Atlas, to name a few.

Many sci-fi films can be too much for certain viewers, but this film overall feels like one with a bit more substance and balance than usual. There is a mild level of humor throughout as well as some sexual and violent related content, but nothing too over-the-top. With a lengthier runtime of a little short of 3 hours, the film may seem a bit long-winded for some audiences, but whether you’re a fan of the genre or simply enjoy the best of the best, Blade Runner 2049 is definitely worth a watch.

Blade Runner 2049 is rated R for violence, some sexuality, nudity and language. 4.5 out of 5 stars.

© 2017 WFAA-TV


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