‘Blade Runner’s’ legacy continues to run

By combining the genre of science fiction and film noir, Ridley Scott’s 1982 “Blade Runner” established itself as a cinematic breakthrough and revered classic in Hollywood history.

While the Dennis Villeneuve-directed remake, shown and cinematically set three decades after the original, bathes itself in bleakness, walking its viewers into a future that is heavily inspired of the past.

In “Blade Runner 2049,” Villeneuve orchestrates tension in each frame, and every harsh atmosphere he builds is as real for his audience as it is for his characters.

The film is defined by a great balance of storytelling, intimate emotions and action—particularly in that order—in its sequences. And like most neo-noir films before it, it banks on the fear of its audience for an imminent dysfunctional future.

It introduces us to a world where isolation is the main company. Here, cars hover an urban wilderness, holographic advertisements litter the streets, and there are even personal artificial intelligence attendants. The environment is more oppressive than ever, and bioengineering may be the last thing that gives earth its life.

In 2049, replicants are necessary for the survival and sustenance of humanity, given the earth’s irrevocable harsh conditions. These indistinguishable human androids made for slavery are still integral to the story “2049” is trying to continue.

Detective K (Ryan Gosling, in his best acting performance) of the LAPD takes on an investigative case that is pivotal in maintaining order—or, more accurately, what’s left of it. The modern blade runner has uncovered “a miracle” that will put the world in a great divide.

But Detective K is not the only one who wishes to makes sense of the bioengineering phenomenon he has discovered. Niander Wallace (Jared Leto), whose company replace Tyrell in manufacturing replicants, has a ruthless ambition for this revelation.

The bioengineering development reties the story back to former blade runner Deckard—and the hunter becomes the hunted. As Harrison Ford reprises this role, his presence alone in the film underscores the pertinence of blade runner practice, an essential symbol for continuance that makes the forged dystopia feel more real.

The film wasn’t created just to show how a decaying world of resources and morals will be saved, it is saga that ventures into the primacy of humanity, exploring feelings and memories, and the meaning of life itself. It is a follow-up that comes through as a great stand-alone film.

As Villeneuve does not turn to brevity to tell his story, he remixes neo-noir themes deepening “Blade Runner 2049’s” philosophical message. While the tension lies in humanity versus technology, the film is a provocative attempt to define the nature of a soul, and questioning if it really is uniquely human.

The question it presupposes is this: Are humans distinctly born with a soul, or does the capacity to desire make you one as well? It is an eerie, slow-burning film that while it makes you bask in its visuals, is ultimately a story seeking profound answers.

Although the film extends the world of “Blade Runner,” it also feels like a plausible foreshadowing of our own—which makes the movie’s nightmarish vision revelatory as much as it is relevant. Villeneuve’s creation is clearly an expansion of the franchise’s legacy, honoring what came before it without at all alienating those who haven’t seen its forerunner.

Villeneuve’s depth of ambition for the film has translated well on the screen. It effectively convinces its spectators of a reality that it has fed to its very own characters—which in turn makes “Blade Runner 2049” a film that will keep surprising you until its final scenes. And that’s what keeps you immersed, if not invested, in its world.

The film has wielded an untold power to keep pursuing different dystopian stories, ones that sci-fi cinephiles of every generation will be in a treat for.

   VINNY VERDICT:  4/5  

“Blade Runner 2049” is now showing in cinemas nationwide.

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