Millennium Countdown

Blade Runner offers dark view of 21st century

By Nathan Fehr
Garden Valley Collegiate
Winkler, Manitoba

"Wake up, it's time to die!"

This is one of the most chilling and most memorable lines from the cult classic, "Blade Runner."

This movie is a confusing at its worst, but if you pay attention, you'll easily get the hang of the plot. I found it helps to see it with someone who knows what's going on. (For more details on Blade Runner, check out another Web page devoted to the movie: 2019: Off-World


Taking place Los Angeles in the near future, the story begins with a quick prologue that describes man's adventures in space, and the invention of robots called Replicants for use on mining colonies on other planets. These Replicants look and act very much like Humans, but with a fundamental difference: they have a complete lack of emotion, and a four-year lifespan.

As it turns out, a few of these Replicants have nabbed a ship and gotten a ride back to Earth, which is frowned upon by the Authorities. Call in the Blade Runners, a kind of detachment of the police force that seems to deal especially with tracking down and terminating Replicants.

The entire film has a very distinct feel to it, one that reflects (and in a way pays homage to) the old black-and-white detective movies. It even features occasional voice-overs by Deckard (played very well by Harrison Ford), a gritty and somewhat depressing ex-Blade Runner who just wants to be left alone.

The biggest difference between this and other movies that depict the future and what it will be like is that this movie's view seems a lot more realistic. It's dark, dirty, and a little scary. There are huge blimp-style billboards floating around the city and nearly everyone on the street speaks a mesh of different languages mixed into one.

Over the course of the film, Deckard is reluctantly pulled back into service as a Blade Runner and he must track down and confront the Replicants gone amok. This leads him through a variety of different situations, but in the end, it all boils down to your classic detective movie. It's a touch violent in parts, but as some of the Replicants come to terms with their shortened lifespans, there are also some very deep questions raised about life and emotions.

The performances are excellent, the special effects (for the time) are very good and the gritty, and the realistic feel of the movie definitely gives you a feeling that this could happen. The ending seemed a little "tacked on," as if the writers weren't sure what they wanted, but were giving the audience what they thought it might like. For a better, or at least different ending, you might try getting the Director's Cut of this movie at your local video store.

If you go for Sci-Fi, detective movies, or even just an intriguing story that touches on some really deep stuff, you should try this movie.