It’s been 5 years since I wrote about the Blade Runner sequel but the wait was worth it!

A young blade runner’s discovery of a long-buried secret leads him to track down former blade runner Rick Deckard, who’s been missing for thirty years. — IMDB

TL;DR — Blade Runner 2049 captures the dark look and feel of the original while continuing the story that asks us to question our existence. The acting is powerful and the cinematography is epic.

Directed by Denis Villeneuve, Blade Runner 2049, in my opinion, easily does justice to the original. However, be warned, it’s a long movie. A little over two and a half hours. While that gives the audience time to soak up the stunning scenery, others feel some scenes dragged on. Regardless, it’s rich in design and mood — and continues the tone set by Ridley Scott in the first movie.

The rain, the neon, the massive holographic projections, and the use of shadow immediately takes us back to the dystopian world of 2019. This time it’s 30 years on from the original movie and the story takes us outside the LA city centre – where the desolation sprawls endlessly over dilapidated buildings and machinery.

Of course, Harrison Ford returns as Deckard. Now living like a hermit in a once grand hotel outside LA. Deckard has placed tripwires strategically around the building. So we know he’s wary of something…

Ryan Gosling plays “Officer K”, a Blade Runner with deep existential anxiety. Which is really the crux of the story – what does it mean to be human? Gosling’s performance reminds why he’s in so much demand lately. From quiet, robot calm to screaming angst as K uncovers more about himself. His relationship with Lieutenant Joshi (Robin Wright, so …Robin Wright!) is remarkably close.

For me, the stand out performance was Sylvia Hoeks. She has a mesmerising command of the screen. Hoeks plays a Nexus-9 replicant named Luv. The “best angel” according to her creator, Niander Wallace, played by Jared Leto.

Jared Leto is always good. He’s known for being a “method” actor. He humbly says that, “if he was a better actor, he wouldn’t have to”. Regardless, as Niander, he’s quite menacing.

Before seeing the film, it’s worth watching the three short films that fill in some of the story between 2019 and 2049. They’re linked below along with the trailer.

Watch the videos in the following order (left to right, or top to bottom):

  1. “2036: Nexus Dawn” Short (6:31)
  2. “2048: Nowhere to Run” Short (5:48)
  3. “Black Out 2022” Anime Short (15:45)

Blade Runner still photo courtesy of Warner Bros. and wegotthiscovered.