HOLLYWOOD—Be warned, be warned, “Blade Runner 2049” is an interesting flick, but it is a long movie to be honest. This film clocks in just less than 3 hours, and for most patrons that is a time frame that is excessive in the cinematic universe. The big question many have is rather you have to watch the original “Blade Runner” to keep up with its sequel. The answer is no, but I would make the argument, having a bit of a history of that flick, does help the audience connect possible plot holes, especially when it comes to Harrison Ford’s character, Rick Deckard.
The flick revolves around the growing tension between humans and replicants. Some of you might be asking what is a replicant? It’s a bioengineered individual who has become part of society as servants and slaves. This introduces the viewer to K (Ryan Gosling), who is also known as a ‘blade runner’ for the Los Angeles Police Department who takes out replicants. The interesting dynamic about K is he happens to be a replicant, and he is ready to unleash an uprising.
The big mystery involves the ability of replicants to actually reproduce and ties back to the 1982 original involving the long-lost daughter of Rachael who was portrayed by Sean Young in the original film. At its core, “Blade Runner 2049” is a big mystery and as the plot moves along more surprises are delivered to the audience. Some that deliver those aha moments, moviegoers revel in. Gosling is stellar in the role, as a rogue cop out to discover the truth at all costs. It’s reminiscent of a young Harrison Ford to say the least, and Ford, who is a lot older, a lot rustier and a bit disgruntled satisfies his iconic character. However, be warned, Ford’s presence is not as excessive as one would expect based on trailers and TV spots. I mean the character doesn’t really make its entrance until the second act of the movie, but he is a core element to the film; take that information as you will.
Ana de Armas is sensational as Joi, the holographic girlfriend of K, who provides him much more wisdom than he would expect. We also have appearances by Robin Wright, as K’s boss and Oscar-winner Jared Leto as the villain of the hour, Niander Wallace. Leto is known for portraying extravagant characters, and the role suits him well, even though as a viewer I wish his presence was bigger in the movie. Edward James Olmos, Barkhad Abdi, Dave Bustista, Lennie James, Sylvia Hoeks and Carla Juri round out supporting players in the flick.
Director Denis Villeneuve crafts a wonderful flick full of visual spectacles that are so amazing it’s impossible to grasp the concept that what you are watching isn’t real at all. Some might wish Ridley Scott, who directed the first flick was back to helm the sequel, but Villeneuve brings a level of charisma and intrigue to a movie that quite frankly I should have checked out on maybe 90 minutes into the movie. I will admit a 2 hour and 45 minute flick is excessive and about another 20 minutes could have been trimmed off to deliver better pacing for the film. “Blade Runner 2049” is a flick that you may be skeptical to give a shot, but trust me, if you do it is worth every single penny and every moment of your time.