It's been 35 years since Ridley Scott's 1982 sci-fi classic, which was set in 2019. This sequel is once again a visual spectacle that mixes super-cool images with a jaggedly engaging noir-style mystery that grapples with issues of memory and identity. It's a staggeringly beautiful epic, as director Denis Villeneuve (Arrival) invests intelligence and artistry into each imaginative setting. He also avoids falling into the standard structure of an action blockbuster, skipping hackneyed things like chase scenes for much deeper emotions.
In the past 30 years, earth's eco-system has collapsed, leaving people scrambling for resources in grimy mega-cities like Los Angeles. Human-like replicants have been refined, but blade runners like K (Ryan Gosling) are still on hand to hunt down old models that have gone rogue. Then K discovers a skeleton of a replicant that apparently gave birth, which should be impossible. So K's boss (Robin Wright) instructs him to hunt down the child and erase all evidence. But Wallace (Jared Leto), head of the monolithic corporation that controls all technology, wants to find the child himself. He sends his favourite sidekick Luv (Sylvia Hoeks) to follow K and his virtual girlfriend Joi (Ana de Armas) as they track down long-lost blade runner Deckerd (Harrison Ford), who is hiding in radioactive Las Vegas and might have some answers.
The plot is packed with implications that get K's mind spinning with possibilities, and the audience's as well. And Gosling is terrific as a guy who is cold on the surface, only barely concealing his conflicting feelings. His scenes with de Armas are superb, as she offers him some romantic hope amid the doom and gloom. Gosling and Ford also generate some terrific chemistry, exchanging physical and verbal blows. And as the villain and his henchwoman, Leto and Hoeks bring plenty of menace.
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Either way, it's a dismal failure.
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Take a look back at October's inaugural event.
The film is expected to continue without Mendes' involvement.