Given the amount of movies that Ridley Scott and Harrison Ford are widely recognized for, it makes perfect sense that Blade Runner flies under the radar in their respective filmographies. Rick Deckard doesn’t carry the name recognition of some of Harrison Ford’s other characters, but he’s definitely one of the actor’s strongest. If 2001: A Space Odyssey and Star Wars represented the polar opposites of early science fiction, Blade Runner met them somewhere in between with it’s slow paced film noir style that was not without the classic action scenes that have come to define Ford’s career.
Blade Runner is an adaptation of the classic science fiction novella Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick. The film’s plot is set in motion when Rick Deckard (Ford) comes out of retirement to hunt down a rogue group of replicants, which are androids with superior strength and intelligence to humans. The film is incredibly dark as Deckard struggles with his own views of morality as he tries to complete his task. The setting is in a dystopian futuristic Los Angeles doesn’t exactly help set a positive mood either.
Like Star Wars, Blade Runner has undergone several changes since its release in 1982. Whereas the changes to Star Wars have been negatively received, Blade Runner has improved with Scott’s tinkering Then again, Blade Runner benefited from not having a cantina scene where Deckard was facing death at the hands of a Rodian bounty hunter even though shooting him could potentially cast a negative perception of his character to the audience (Han shot first).
Even though Blade Runner is held in high regard nowadays, it was a pretty big failure when it was first released. The film barely made back its budget and the critics hated it. Despite this, Blade Runner managed to get a place on top movie lists such as AFI’s 100 Years… 100 Movies list and Time Magazine’s 100 Best Movies. Cult films are rarely major successes at the box office, though to Blade Runner’s credit mainstream critics also rarely hold them in such high regard.
Blade Runner is a classic film for science fiction and cult movie fans. It’s helped shape many modern day science fiction films and it’s one of the high points of both Scott and Ford’s storied careers. Debates may go own as to whether or not Deckard was a replicant himself, but I’m sure we can all agree that Blade Runner most certainly rocks.
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