One of the hardest tasks is cinema is delivering a sequel – but that pressure is ramped up to the extreme when it comes to following bona-fide classics.
Enter Blade Runner 2049, which serves as a direct sequel to Ridley Scott’s cult 1982 hit Blade Runner… a film considered by many to be one of the best science fiction offerings of all time.
Many feared that 2049, released 35 years after the original, would have no chance of measuring up to the noir sci-fi classic.
However, it turns out that director Denis Villeneuve was more than up to the task, with this second slice of Blade Runner action, dare I say it, certainly good enough to be considered on a par with (if not better than) the original.
Now, one of 2049’s secret weapons is that the marketing team managed to give very little away in the build-up to the film. So, I’ll not undo their fine work and serve up any spoilers for you, as it’s certainly best viewed that way.
In a lot of ways, the storyline this time around is the same as the original.
Ryan Gosling leads the way this time as Agent K – a Blade Runner working the dystopian streets of Los Angeles.
Like Deckard (we’ll get to him) before him, he’s tasked with tracking down and “retiring” replicants (humanoid androids to the uninitiated).
And what of the replicants? When we left them in the original, it felt like Roy Batty’s rampage would essentially spell the end of their kind.
That’s certainly not the case, with a new line of them – courtesy of Jared Leto’s Wallace, who has taken over Tyrell’s empire – managing to blur the lines between man and machine.
Anyhow, K’s investigations into missing older replicants – ordered by Robin Wright’s Lieutenant Joshi – put him on a collision course with Harrison Ford’s Deckard, who has gone into hiding after the events of the original.
His arrival is a long time coming, but certainly worth the wait. And his significance to the story is major, making his latest return to a beloved role very much worthwhile.
While I can’t delve into that too much, what I can tell you about is the beauty of the Los Angeles setting. It feels much like a beautifully evolved version of the original, which ensures that we’re still very much in Deckard’s world. We also get to see the Nevada desert, too.
The soundtrack, featuring Benjamin Wallfisch and Hans Zimmer, is also a highlight.
Gosling, as expected, is superb as the lead. He feels like a battle-weary secret agent who has had enough of his life, while also being the go-to guy to get the job done. His screen time with Ford is a real highlight.
Likewise, Ana de Armas is incredible as his love interest Joi, while Sylvia Hoeks’ Luv is menacingly good as Wallace’s right-hand woman.
Throw in strong cameos from Dave Bautista, The Walking Dead’s Lennie James and Mackenzie Davis’s streetwalker Mariette and you have a top cast all in fantastic form.
Much like the original, you’ll leave the cinema with more questions than answers, which is always great.
And, if you get the chance to see the 3D version, it also utilises the technology much better than most.
Simply put, this is a stellar sequel that you really need to see at the cinema.
Voice Verdict: 9.5/10 (Reviewed at Boston West End Cinema)
+ Amazing visuals
+ Top acting across the board, led by Gosling
+ Stays true to the original…
+..but transcends it
Boston’s West End Cinema (Fri, Oct 13 to Thurs, Oct 19)
**THE SNOWMAN (15)
12.20pm (Sat/Sun), 3pm (Sat/Sun), 6pm (daily), 8.40pm (daily)
**THE RITUAL (15)
4.15pm (Sat/Sun), 6.30pm (daily), 8.45pm (daily)
BLADE RUNNER 2049 (15)
2D – 10.45am (Sat/Sun), 1pm (Sat/Sun), 4.40pm (Sun), 5.15pm (Fri/Mon/Wed), 8pm (daily)
THE LEGO NINJAGO MOVIE (U)
2D – 10am (Sat/Sun), 12.20pm (Sat/Sun), 2.45pm (Sat/Sun), 6pm (daily)
THE MOUNTAIN BETWEEN US (12A)
1.40pm (Sat/Sun), 5.45pm (not Tue)
KINGSMAN: THE GOLDEN CIRCLE (15)
2.20pm (Sat/Sun), 8.20pm (daily)
THE JUNGLE BUNCH (U)
THE EMOJI MOVIE (U)
8.20pm (not Sat/Tue/Thu)
Sat/Sun 10.15am – Despicable Me 3 (U)
Wed 11.30am – Kingsman: The Golden Circle (15)
Tuesday 6pm – The Mountain Between Us (12A)
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