Replicant or human? 'Blade Runner 2049' reignites existential debate

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In "Blade Runner 2049", Los Angeles has sprawled across much of California, and is built on top of Scott's world, the gritty city a melting pot of English, Japanese and Russian influences. "Blade Runner 2049' [Credit: Warner Bros.] Variety: "Rare sci-fi sequel that takes its time to go deep".

The legendary actor didn't go into minute detail with Entertainment Tonight about his prep for his return to Blade Runner - all he said was that he did "a lot" of boxing.

Every effect, each little detail in the "Blade Runner" sequel's formidable arsenal, creates the texture of a wondrously disgusting near future, full of holographic accessories, slave-labor replicants and, as one character puts it, products and services of "the fabulous new". The story takes place 30 years after the first movie, which entails 30 years of run-down future. The human supremacists use the replicant database to hunt them down and wife them out, but there are a small number of Nexus 8 replicants left in hiding with specialist skills. A sequel has been in development since the late 90s, with original director Ridley Scott eventually leaving the director's chair to make Alien: Covenant. Some critics who were invited to press screenings of "2049" were asked to sign a nondisclosure agreement, singling out several characters and plot points as spoilers to be avoided.

That story is simple, yet tremendously complicated. Sure, he's a decade younger than the oldest male bodybuilder, but he definitely still packs a punch - and no one knows it better than Ryan Gosling. It's a somber meditation on what the events of this story do to K's mind, and if you happen to be thrilled - and you nearly certainly will - that's a pleasing byproduct of a very serious story.

"When I first saw it, it had been around for 10 years and I thought I was watching a science fiction movie, but what I experienced was something very different", Gosling says. You root for Harrison Ford because he's Harrison Ford (in this case, under the moniker Rick Deckard), but Rutger Hauer's final speech makes you reconsider your allegiances.

Owing to the passage of time, Ford praises Villeneuve's handing Deckard's character evolution. Star Wars is the only other major sci-fi film that has been tinkered with as many times as Blade Runner, but unlike the original cut of what is now known as A New Hope, which Lucasfilm continues to deny its fans, most versions of Blade Runner are readily available to be owned.

"Nature can live without us, but we as human beings cannot live without nature".

That same question is carried forward in Blade Runner 2049, directed by Denis Villeneuve (Arrival, Prisoners and Sicario). At least two sentences are spoken that shouldn't be possible, but they are spoken anyway, and with those we may have our clues.

Villeneuve describes how he and screenwriter Hampton Fancher, who also co-wrote the first film, chose to "dream from the dream" rather than from reality. And then new generations come and they bring back these films.

Blade Runner 2049 opens on Thursday.

Either way, it's not the worst thing Harrison did to co-star (Bryan Fosling?) during the production and promotion of Blade Runner 2049.

Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian gave the film a five-star review. This one demands to be explored. "I am not going to explain it, because it is all for us to think about", he said. You can hear him every week on Canceled Too Soon and watch him on the weekly YouTube series What the Flick.