“What do you want?” asks Deckard (Harrison Ford). “I want to ask you some questions,” replies K (Ryan Gosling), a Blade Runner who’s finally successfully tracked down the missing Deckard in Blade Runner 2049, the sequel to Ridley Scott’s 1982 cult classic film, Blade Runner.
Set 30 years after the events of the first film, the sequel focuses on a young Blade Runner, an LAPD cop named K who’s very good at his job of tracking and putting down old on-the-run replicants. While working on what seems to be an average case, K unearths a long-buried secret that could lead to utter chaos and war in what’s left of the world’s crumbling society. The need to know more prompts K to eventually search for Rick Deckard, an ex-Blade Runner who’s been missing for the last 30 years.
Directed by Denis Villeneuve (Arrival), the much-anticipated Blade Runner 2049 is a visually striking but ponderous film that gets too caught up in all its lights, sets, and effects at the expense of the pace and interest of the story. Unlike Villeneuve’s critically acclaimed Arrival, Blade Runner 2049 fails to find its rhythm over the nearly three hour running time.
Ryan Gosling delivers an understated, bland, and at times simply uninteresting performance as the new Blade Runner K who ends up on a quest to find Deckard in order to solve not one mystery but two. Although there are a few scenes that allow him to show a little depth to his character, Gosling’s K inevitably comes across as an uninspiring protagonist.
Sylvia Hoeks has the breakout performance in the movie as the evil and lethal replicant, Luv. Luv’s devoted to her creator, Wallace (played by Jared Leto), and is determined to obey her master’s wishes no matter who or what gets in her way. She is both alluring and menacing at the same time. Jared Leto delivers another odd and showy performance as the brilliant, reclusive, and sociopathic creator of the replicants, Niander Wallace, who suffers from an extreme god complex.
Harrison Ford reprises his role of Rick Deckard, the ex-Blade Runner who’s been in hiding for 30 years. Ford gives, without question, the best performance in the film. When his character finally enters the movie, he injects it with a sense of energy and resurgence of life and passion that’s missing in most of the film. He also adds a touch of humor.
The visual effects are dazzling and the film’s sets are extremely impressive, but too much of Blade Runner 2049‘s pacing is slowed to a crawl – and at times a complete stop – due to the filmmaker’s desire to visually shock and stun the audience.
Overall, Blade Runner 2049 is a visual delight and features a strong cast delivering some noteworthy performances. Unfortunately, it also suffers from the director’s love of visual magic over a well-paced and engaging story.
MPAA Rating: R for violence, some sexuality, nudity and language
Release Date: October 6, 2017
Running Time: 163 minutes