Blade Runner 2049

6.6 Overall Score
Performances: 8/10
Production: 9/10
Writing: 3/10

It's beautiful.

It's boring, bad, and self-indulgent.

 

Blade Runner 2049

Director: Denis Villeneuve

Stars: Harrison Ford, Ryan Gosling, Ana de Armas

Warner Bros. Pictures

2017

Thirty years after the events of the first film, a new blade runner, LAPD Officer K (Ryan Gosling), unearths a long-buried secret that has the potential to plunge what’s left of society into chaos. K’s discovery leads him on a quest to find Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), a former LAPD blade runner who has been missing for 30 years.

The Sad Little Toaster Wants to be Loved Like a Real Boy is irredeemably awful. You find yourself wishing that Ryan Gosling would shoot you instead of the replicants. It’s boring, predictable, derivative, self-indulgent, undisciplined, and two hours, forty-three minutes long. The director and the writers owe the audience an apology. We have been Prometheus-ed again.

Artificial intelligence has dominated science fiction for fifty years, while stubbornly failing to materialize in the real world (as far as is known to we primates at the time of this writing). It has also stubbornly refused to produce original themes or storylines. When does the machine become a human? I feel like I could cut-and-paste my criticisms of Westworld here. The answer is, the machine never becomes human. It may become intelligent enough that it should be afforded citizenship, but it never becomes human. It becomes a sentient machine.

The very question displays a narrow-minded prejudice. It says that thinking machines achieve value when their mode of thinking and feeling becomes indistinguishable from our own. It’s rather totalitarian and xenophobic in its rejection of everything that is not us.

But Bladerunner 2049 shoves all of that off the old replicant workbench and serves up the same old answer. The machine becomes human just about the time you decide you want to fuck it. The robofuture will arrive in a stampede of AI hookers. And assassins.

Another worn-out trope is that AIs must come in two flavors—sad and psychotic, like chocolate and vanilla. Ryan Gosling is a lonely chocolate replicant. Blade Runner 2049 is a nearly three-hours-long French-Canadian art house film about his futile longing for connection. Why do we always think of the future as being so lonely? And why is the answer to that pain always presented in the form of a hottie babe?

To give credit where credit should be given, the production value is sky high on this film. The performances are strong; even Dave Bautista’s brief appearance is quite memorable. It’s the bad writing and the masturbatory directing that turn this film into a cinematic torture session that makes the audience long even for the voice-over cut of its predecessor.

 

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Brian Downes
Author: Brian Downes View all posts by
Brian Downes is a writer who lives in Orlando, Florida. His novel, The Berlin Fraternity, about a man who hunts vampires for the Third Reich, is available on the Kindle and through Amazon.com. He enjoys pen and paper roleplaying games and geek culture. He clearly remembers waiting for The Empire Strikes Back to hit theaters, and vindicate his opinion that of course Vader was not Luke's father. You can't trust Vader's word!

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