Blade Runner 2049
The main discussion that occurs with Blade Runner 2049 is whether or not the sequel film to the 1982 neo-noir science fiction film will even reach the heights of its predecessor. It is a tough film to beat considering Hollywood hard ass Harrison Ford took the lead role. Combine that with powerful and memorable performances from Edward James Olmos, Daryl Hannah, and - most importantly - Rutger Hauer and you have a near impossible film to out perform. However, the visual aesthetic and perfectly paired storyline, character acting, and score to boot gave me the thrills and chills I first experienced when I saw the original film. Blade Runner 2049 is a gorgeous science fiction playground whose story, characters, and overall visual fidelity recaptures the pure essence we have all been waiting on for such a long period of time. 

The film begins off on a protein farm where we meet the first Blade Runner of the film - K. Played by Ryan Gosling, K is given the simple, dehumanizing name as he is a newer model replicant whose job is to retire older model, rogue replicants. The film does not take any time to address who is and who is not a replicant - that was the job of the original film, and the writer behind Blade Runner Hampton Francher made sure not to tread similar ground again. 

Former professional wrestler, body builder, and actor Dave Bautista's large frame is seen tending to his farm playing the role of Sapper Morton. Upon entering his home, he meets with K and the job begins. A quick but energizing face off happens, and it goes to show just how powerful the newer model replicants are. K is easily able to dispatch Sapper, but not before Sapper gives off several questions about K's existence, as well as him never having seen a miracle. Those questions that Sapper utters out become themes throughout the entirety of the film and never let up. 

The story gradually builds from there as a mystery erupts after K discovers the bones of a former Replicant - that of the replicant Rachael, played by Sean Young in the original film. After examining the bones, they found out that Rachael had given birth - a feat that no replicant should ever possess. This does not only catch the attention of K and the police force surrounding him as it is an idea that would cause absolute chaos and imbalance, but also that of Niander Wallace a multi-millionaire and replicant manufacturer. 

Played by Jared Leto, Wallace remains a somewhat mysterious figure throughout most of the film. He does not make many appearances, but when he does he utters out cynical lines and has an almost God-like presence. Even through his blindness, implants allow him to see, and his malevolent actions on screen made me nervous to see him appear on screen again. His main purpose in the film is to create more replicants, and the child Rachael gave birth to is of sincere significance. He wants to uncover the secret to making replicant babies; this is information he will kill and torture for.

Wallace sends out his personal replicant enforcer Luv to also track down the replicant born child, and this further complicates the plot. Throughout the film I met various characters, all of which could have been the replicant child, but simple and mundane hints and clues can lead a clever person to discover who it is before the final moments on screen. However, other twists and ties led me toward a wrong conclusion more than once. The confusion even has K questioning who exactly he is at one point in the film. 

After investigating more and more and deviating from his base line as a replicant, K follows radiation he found on a very important toy horse to ruins of Las Vegas. It is here that we also meet Deckard and his dog. Suspicious of K, Deckard takes no time to try and shoot and kill K. A very pleasing scene then erupts as Deckard attempts to muder K. The final moments of the encounter sees K take away Deckard's gun, with Deckard continually punching K to no avail. It's then that Deckard finally has word with K and speaks to him of the replicant child - a portion of the story I will not spoil. 

Seeing Harrison Ford back in the role of Deckard was fascinating. Things have not changed with the character since his initial appearance in the original Blade Runner - he is brash, brave, and hardened. This time he is just older, but still just as grumpy and lonesome as always. 

Nonetheless, Luv is able to track down K and Deckard. With her enforcers help, Luv is able to capture Deckard, kick the shit out of K, and take off. After all his trouble finding Deckard and seeking out answers to his own personal questions, it was high time to see what K would do. After being rescued by the replicant freedom movement and being asked to protect their organization, the leader Freysa urges K to prevent Wallace from uncovering the secrets of the replicant reproduction by any means necessary - even if that means killing Deckard.

One of the more powerful moments in the film sees K walking down a bridge where a gigantic, holographic and nude pink haired woman speaks to K. It is here that K decides to become more than a replicant ordered around by everyone, following someone else's commands. It is here that K transcends the boundary between human and replicant and becomes what this futuristic society fears the most - a rogue with choice.

Luv escorts Deckard off world for what Wallace promised would be the worst pain Deckard would ever experience, However, K is able to intercept the vehicles and has a final confrontation with Luv. The stakes are high as Luv's vehicle, which imprisons Deckard, is slowly brought into the ocean causing him to drown. The action is tight, quick, and brutal. Luv's death was absolutely gratifying as she is a villain without any notion for sympathy. K is also smart as he stages Deckard's death, allowing him to be free to do as he wishes. 

The final moments of the film see a battered K bring Deckard to his child's location - another portion of the story I shall not spoil. The final moments of the film are emotional but full of revelation. It does not extend itself, but ends at the perfect moment. 

Aside from the summary that I just gave, Blade Runner 2049 is so much more. Just like the original film, the cinematography is excellent as skylines loom and neon reigns supreme. The dystopian setting shows how little life is left on Earth, but how human life yet clings to life in their concrete jungles. The shots above and in the cities, out in the radiated strips of Las Vegas, and even the simpler settings during K and Luv's final confrontation are strikingly addicting to the eyes.

The film also pooled in a massive amount of talent from all over to perform in the most simple roles to the most extravagant. Barkhad Abdi, most notable for his role as the leader of the pirates in Captain Phillips has a small role as Doc Badger; David Dastmalchian, whom I recognized for a minor role in The Dark Knight, plays as a morgue worker named Coco; Mackenzie Davis who had a role in The Martian plays Mariette, and Robin Wright, recognizable for her recent role in Wonder Woman, plays Lieutenant Joshi. These are all minor roles in the film, but it also makes all the characters, and the world moreover, more memorable and recognizable. It puts a face to a minor character, and that is exactly what builds Blade Runner 2049

The soundtrack to Blade Runner 2049 may be the only downside to the film. The science fiction laced drones, sweeping synths, and lulling presence easily fit the mood for the film and eased out great production value and tones. However, it pales in comparison to the original film's soundtrack which is easily hailed as one of the best film scores of all time.

Nonetheless, I found myself in glee as I sat and watched Blade Runner 2049. It is more than just a film - it is a moving piece of artwork formulated through meticulous camera work and some of the best special effects I have seen in a long time. There was never a moment in the film where I was not completely absorbed and soaked in its mysteries and lore, and for that I can only give it the highest of praises. 

If you have not seen Blade Runner 2049 yet, hopefully my humble opinion will give you that extra boost to go see the best film of the year so far. 


5
Brutal Resonance

Blade Runner 2049

9.0
"Amazing"
Genre: Science Fiction
Director: Dennis Villeneuve
Writer: Hampton Fancher, Michael Green
Star actors: Ryan Gosling, Harrison Ford, Jared Leto, Ana de Armas, Sylvia Hoeks, Dave Bautista
The main discussion that occurs with Blade Runner 2049 is whether or not the sequel film to the 1982 neo-noir science fiction film will even reach the heights of its predecessor. It is a tough film to beat considering Hollywood hard ass Harrison Ford took the lead role. Combine that with powerful and memorable performances from Edward James Olmos, Daryl Hannah, and - most importantly - Rutger Hauer and you have a near impossible film to out perform. However, the visual aesthetic and perfectly paired storyline, character acting, and score to boot gave me the thrills and chills I first experienced when I saw the original film. Blade Runner 2049 is a gorgeous science fiction playground whose story, characters, and overall visual fidelity recaptures the pure essence we have all been waiting on for such a long period of time. 

The film begins off on a protein farm where we meet the first Blade Runner of the film - K. Played by Ryan Gosling, K is given the simple, dehumanizing name as he is a newer model replicant whose job is to retire older model, rogue replicants. The film does not take any time to address who is and who is not a replicant - that was the job of the original film, and the writer behind Blade Runner Hampton Francher made sure not to tread similar ground again. 

Former professional wrestler, body builder, and actor Dave Bautista's large frame is seen tending to his farm playing the role of Sapper Morton. Upon entering his home, he meets with K and the job begins. A quick but energizing face off happens, and it goes to show just how powerful the newer model replicants are. K is easily able to dispatch Sapper, but not before Sapper gives off several questions about K's existence, as well as him never having seen a miracle. Those questions that Sapper utters out become themes throughout the entirety of the film and never let up. 

The story gradually builds from there as a mystery erupts after K discovers the bones of a former Replicant - that of the replicant Rachael, played by Sean Young in the original film. After examining the bones, they found out that Rachael had given birth - a feat that no replicant should ever possess. This does not only catch the attention of K and the police force surrounding him as it is an idea that would cause absolute chaos and imbalance, but also that of Niander Wallace a multi-millionaire and replicant manufacturer. 

Played by Jared Leto, Wallace remains a somewhat mysterious figure throughout most of the film. He does not make many appearances, but when he does he utters out cynical lines and has an almost God-like presence. Even through his blindness, implants allow him to see, and his malevolent actions on screen made me nervous to see him appear on screen again. His main purpose in the film is to create more replicants, and the child Rachael gave birth to is of sincere significance. He wants to uncover the secret to making replicant babies; this is information he will kill and torture for.

Wallace sends out his personal replicant enforcer Luv to also track down the replicant born child, and this further complicates the plot. Throughout the film I met various characters, all of which could have been the replicant child, but simple and mundane hints and clues can lead a clever person to discover who it is before the final moments on screen. However, other twists and ties led me toward a wrong conclusion more than once. The confusion even has K questioning who exactly he is at one point in the film. 

After investigating more and more and deviating from his base line as a replicant, K follows radiation he found on a very important toy horse to ruins of Las Vegas. It is here that we also meet Deckard and his dog. Suspicious of K, Deckard takes no time to try and shoot and kill K. A very pleasing scene then erupts as Deckard attempts to muder K. The final moments of the encounter sees K take away Deckard's gun, with Deckard continually punching K to no avail. It's then that Deckard finally has word with K and speaks to him of the replicant child - a portion of the story I will not spoil. 

Seeing Harrison Ford back in the role of Deckard was fascinating. Things have not changed with the character since his initial appearance in the original Blade Runner - he is brash, brave, and hardened. This time he is just older, but still just as grumpy and lonesome as always. 

Nonetheless, Luv is able to track down K and Deckard. With her enforcers help, Luv is able to capture Deckard, kick the shit out of K, and take off. After all his trouble finding Deckard and seeking out answers to his own personal questions, it was high time to see what K would do. After being rescued by the replicant freedom movement and being asked to protect their organization, the leader Freysa urges K to prevent Wallace from uncovering the secrets of the replicant reproduction by any means necessary - even if that means killing Deckard.

One of the more powerful moments in the film sees K walking down a bridge where a gigantic, holographic and nude pink haired woman speaks to K. It is here that K decides to become more than a replicant ordered around by everyone, following someone else's commands. It is here that K transcends the boundary between human and replicant and becomes what this futuristic society fears the most - a rogue with choice.

Luv escorts Deckard off world for what Wallace promised would be the worst pain Deckard would ever experience, However, K is able to intercept the vehicles and has a final confrontation with Luv. The stakes are high as Luv's vehicle, which imprisons Deckard, is slowly brought into the ocean causing him to drown. The action is tight, quick, and brutal. Luv's death was absolutely gratifying as she is a villain without any notion for sympathy. K is also smart as he stages Deckard's death, allowing him to be free to do as he wishes. 

The final moments of the film see a battered K bring Deckard to his child's location - another portion of the story I shall not spoil. The final moments of the film are emotional but full of revelation. It does not extend itself, but ends at the perfect moment. 

Aside from the summary that I just gave, Blade Runner 2049 is so much more. Just like the original film, the cinematography is excellent as skylines loom and neon reigns supreme. The dystopian setting shows how little life is left on Earth, but how human life yet clings to life in their concrete jungles. The shots above and in the cities, out in the radiated strips of Las Vegas, and even the simpler settings during K and Luv's final confrontation are strikingly addicting to the eyes.

The film also pooled in a massive amount of talent from all over to perform in the most simple roles to the most extravagant. Barkhad Abdi, most notable for his role as the leader of the pirates in Captain Phillips has a small role as Doc Badger; David Dastmalchian, whom I recognized for a minor role in The Dark Knight, plays as a morgue worker named Coco; Mackenzie Davis who had a role in The Martian plays Mariette, and Robin Wright, recognizable for her recent role in Wonder Woman, plays Lieutenant Joshi. These are all minor roles in the film, but it also makes all the characters, and the world moreover, more memorable and recognizable. It puts a face to a minor character, and that is exactly what builds Blade Runner 2049

The soundtrack to Blade Runner 2049 may be the only downside to the film. The science fiction laced drones, sweeping synths, and lulling presence easily fit the mood for the film and eased out great production value and tones. However, it pales in comparison to the original film's soundtrack which is easily hailed as one of the best film scores of all time.

Nonetheless, I found myself in glee as I sat and watched Blade Runner 2049. It is more than just a film - it is a moving piece of artwork formulated through meticulous camera work and some of the best special effects I have seen in a long time. There was never a moment in the film where I was not completely absorbed and soaked in its mysteries and lore, and for that I can only give it the highest of praises. 

If you have not seen Blade Runner 2049 yet, hopefully my humble opinion will give you that extra boost to go see the best film of the year so far. 


Oct 10 2017

Steven Gullotta

info@brutalresonance.com
I've been writing for Brutal Resonance since November of 2012 and now serve as the editor-in-chief. I love the dark electronic underground and usually have too much to listen to at once but I love it. I am also an editor at Aggressive Deprivation, a digital/physical magazine since March of 2016. I support the scene as much as I can from my humble laptop.

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