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Blade Runner, The Final Cut

Review by Alex Tang

I regard as one of the greatest science fiction movie ever made- Blade Runner (1982), directed by Ridley Scott, based on Philip K. Dick’s novel, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? [contain spoilers] The story is set in Los Angeles of 2019, a Los Angeles that only those in the early 1980s will dream of. At that time, the Japanese were buying up large chunks of the US of A. This future Los Angeles is like a crowded Tokyo, implying that Japan actually owns the USA by then.

The concept of the film actually predicts globalisation, global warming and climatic change and genetic engineering (the word cloning was not in common use then). Genetically engineered humans called replicants were created to work in dangerous places in off world colonies. To keep them in check, these replicants were implanted with false memories of their past and they do not know that they are genetically engineered. They have only a lifespan of 5 years.

Following a small replicant uprising, replicants become illegal on Earth; and specialist police called "blade runners" are trained to hunt down and "retire" (kill) escaped replicants on Earth. Retired blade runner Rick Deckard (Ford) reluctantly agrees to take on one more assignment to hunt 6 replicants in this movie.

The movie received mixed reviews on its opening. Many people could not understand the story. Despite the box office failure of the film, it has since become a cult classic. Seven versions of the film have been created, for various markets, and as a result of controversial changes made by film executives.

A rushed Director's Cut was released in 1992 on DVD. As one of the first films chosen for the new DVD format unfortunately it has mediocre video and audio quality. In late 2007 Warner Bros. released in theater and DVD, HD-DVD, Blu-Ray the 25th anniversary long-awaited digitally remastered definitive Final Cut by Scott.

The movie asks two basic questions (1) Does a replicant or a genetically created human being or a human clone has basic human rights? and (2) Does a replicant or a genetically created human being or a human clone has the right to ask of his or her creator, ‘why am I created’? In the case of the replicants in the movie, they were created to be used and exploited for 5 years after which they cease to function (die). The two questions have haunted me since I first saw the movie in 1982. Does the created have a right to ask the creator, ‘Why am I created to suffer?’ The movie asks the existential questions of the book of Ecclesiastes while playing out the Greek tragedy of Job. The final question that will ring in our minds as the credits roll will be that, ‘Is Rick Deckard a replicant too?’





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