PLOT- Blade Runner 2049 is set in Los Angeles, thirty years after the original 1982 film. In 2049, certain models of replicants (robots engineered to look like humans, but with superior strength and intellect, used as labor) have been engineered to be submissive. Detective K (Ryan Gosling) is tasked with tracking down and killing older model replicants, those that have rebelled against the system. In the course of his job, Detective K discovers an impossible secret that sends him on a dangerous mission to find out the truth about both replicants and himself.
LIKE- It has been a long time since I've watched the original Blade Runner, but it's such an iconic movie, that I was thrilled for the sequel. Also, it didn't hurt that it stars Ryan Gosling and has Harrison Ford reprising his role of Rick Deckard. You've got young and old hot Hollywood stars in this film! Yes, please! And, both very good actors too, not just eye candy. Although Ford's part is fairly small, his interaction with Gosling is the best part of the film.
I loved the creativity in Blade Runner 2049. Joi (Ana de Armas) plays a virtual love interest for K. Joi exists as a holographic image and can change her look on a whim. When we first meet her, there is a playful scene where she greets K home after his long day at work. K is a bit of a recluse and has a deep connection to Joi. Their relationship is one of the many ways that the film toys with the idea of humanity in machines. K is even teased by another replicant for falling for Joi; a hierarchy amongst machines. Rarely does Joi seem like she is less than a fully realized person with emotional and desires. There is a particularly wonderful scene when K presents Joi with a device that he has bought for her that allows her to go outside. She stands in the rain and seems to actually feel it touching her body, bringing her actual joy. Joi's sweet nature and happy spirit bring a measure of levity to this dark film.
On the flipside of Joi is the character Luv ( Sylvia Hoeks) a replicant and the primary antagonist in Blade Runner 2049. Luv is beautiful. She is also ruthless and relentless in pursuit of her goals. Hoeks is truly frightening and has the best fight sequences of the film. I'm certain that we will see her in more action driven movies, she great in the part. She's fierce! Every time she was on the screen, I was creeped out!
I live in Los Angeles and I frequent Las Vegas, so I got a kick out of seeing the post-apocalyptic versions of these cities. It's bleak! Poor San Diego is a dump site! The fun part was seeing Vegas as it is imagined in the future, including a lounge with a holographic Elvis performing. It was the right mix between how we view Vegas now and what it might include over the next couple of decades.
Blade Runner 2049 has plenty of unexpected twists. I did not anticipate the big reveal at the end and I liked how the reveal allowed the audience to go along for the ride with Detective K. We discover the truth, as he discovers the truth. The writing is strong.
DISLIKE- At two hours and forty-four minutes, Blade Runner 2049 runs long. It feels long. Although I was mostly engaged, the pacing is uneven. Dan commented about the film's score. Normally, I don't pay much attention to the score, unless it's iconic, like the Jaws theme. In Blade Runner 2049 it was a lot of loud, jarring sounds. It was too on-point and distracting. We were making fun of it as we walked out of the theater.
RECOMMEND- Yes, if you're a fan of the original. I can't imagine anyone seeing this without seeing the original first, although it's not entirely necessary. The film gives you enough backstory to watch it as a stand-alone. Blade Runner 2049 is a big, epic action/Scifi/effects extravaganza, worthy of a big-screen splurge. We drove ninety miles each way to watch it on an Imax screen in Palm Springs. Worth it.