“Blade Runner 2049” has irked me since it was first announced. The film is the definition of a Sci-Fi one and done. Why keep revisiting and building upon a world that Ridley Scott, James Cameron and others keep forcing attempts to mine? Why can’t Deckard and Rachel just disappear into stock footage from The Shining for the rest of their days? Why does a new generation have to keep forcing Harrison Ford to return back to the well again and again? These are my questions and they are many.

The film opens with a score that apes Vangelis, visuals that ape Cronenweth and Ryan Gosling playing the moping Millennial equivalent of a robot boy detective. As the film plays on, we see how good he is at his job and how life has rewarded him with a Dr. Krieger style sex hologram. A robot keeping an AI bot as a means of personal gratification has so many layers that this film never revisits. What it does revisit is the old scanning machines and the constant push for answers. People just love nostalgia.

What you don’t get is anything new. Jordan Leto plays the new Replicant manufacturer kingpin like a reject Bond villain from a lesser Roger Moore movie. His pointless sidekick only exists to move set pieces forward. Then, you have Harrison Ford. If Ford were to retire in the next year, I wouldn’t mind it. Never would I have thought that Ford’s return would’ve become so worn out so fast. Yeah, we got more Han Solo and Rick Deckard. But, I’m cool with ending the trifecta.

If you’re expecting answers in this movie, you’re not getting them. What you get are implications of things that will keep many nerds making many new YouTube thinkpieces that get it all wrong. By the subtle suggestion of Deckard’s true nature, you’ll learn how many people don’t understand nuance. Then, when Jordan Leto starts to actually add something to the plot, he’ll be gone. The movie is pretty long, but so much of it suggests a longer cut is waiting in the wings.

The film succeeds in its killer visuals and supporting players. Robin Wright, Dave Bautista, Mackenzie Davis and even Ana de Armas make smaller roles shine. But, did fans wait this long to have an unneeded sequel not add much to the overall world of Blade Runner? Honestly, the longer I dwell on this film, the more of a Matrix sequel vibe I’m getting from it. It’s not like that will matter. We’ve got another few weeks of the Oscar caliber visuals and set design wowing people before the backlash starts. When it hits, it’s going to hit like a ton of bricks. Not all of it will be deserved, as the movie was still better than most.

It’s just that the movie nerd going public has to realize one basic tenet. The Emperor has no clothes.


  • 2 hrs and 43 mins
  • R
  • Warner Brothers / Columbia Pictures


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