RATED-(R)-164 MIN-1982

          Blade Runner 2049 is a Rich and Stunning Sequel

If I had to choose one director to helm a sequel to (Ridley Scott's) thought-provoking classic (Blade Runner), I couldn't think of a better person than the truly talented and gifted director Denis Villeneuve. I think he is one of the most visionary filmmakers to come along in some time. Villeneuve doesn't make candy bar films, and if you are looking for a grand final answer to all your questions regarding the Blade Runner mythology, you aren't getting one. He doesn't roll that way. You'll have to come to some of your own conclusions. If you are however, looking for an intriguing, thought-provoking, suspenseful, continuation of the Blade Runner story, you will be pleased. This is a stunning looking and sounding film, and I sure hope that the brilliant Roger Deakins finally gets his long-delayed and deserved Oscar for this beautiful movie.

Set some 30 years later in the even grimmer future of Los Angeles, where food is now very scarce and farmed synthetically by the blind genius Niander Wallace (Jared Leto) the CEO of Wallace Corporation. The Tyrell Corporation has disappeared after all the issues they had earlier with their new generation Replicants going rogue: The Nexus 6. Wallace has taken what is left of Tyrell's company and began producing a new line of improved Replicants: Nexus 9. They are much more compliant than the Nexus 6 through 8 that caused all the problems. They also have open-ended life spans, but they are still servants and slaves.

Officer K (Ryan Gosling in a very somber and minimalistic performance which is right on) is a Blade Runner. He is also a Nexus 9. When the movie begins, he is off to retire another found rogue Nexus 8 Replicant, on orders from his boss, the rather cold and terse Lieutenant Joshi (an underused and underwritten Robin Wright). She tells him where to go and who to retire. There are still many older models out there and maybe the authorities are worried that they will start another revolt.

K takes his Police spinner to a farm out of the city, where a rather large man Sapper Morton (Dave Bautista, who is very good in this small role) looks like he is growing grubs or something. K is there to retire this old Nexus 8 and Sapper knows it. Before a violent struggle, Sapper tells K, who he knows is also a Replicant, that he would not hurt his own kind and help humans if he had seen the miracle he has. K doesn't know what this means. What miracle?

Outside, by a bare single white tree, as he calls in for Sapper's body to be retrieved, K sees a suitcase that is buried there. It has a woman's remains inside. Back at the station, it is discovered that this woman was a replicant and apparently gave birth to a child, then died. If this is true, and replicants can multiply and have children, humans will have big problems controlling them. Apparently, the woman, a Nexus 6 later model named Rachael, took off with a retired Blade Runner named Deckard and disappeared after all the shit went down. Tyrell designed her in a special way. Joshi orders K back to the farm to destroy the evidence and to find this child that was born and retire it. K isn't too happy about this, and he keeps having these fragments of memories about a boy in an old factory.What could this all mean? I kept thinking of (Pinocchio) while watching this movie.

Back at the apartment where K lives, he has a holographic companion Joi (Ana de Armas) who is very fond of K, as he is of her.
She seems to be a program that K can update and give more options, like freeing her from a projector in his apartment if he does a good job for Joi. That is his incentive... do a good job, and we'll upgrade your girl. She also seems to be thinking for herself and evolving. K keeps having odd memories.

Meanwhile, at Wallace headquarters, Neander seems to be coming close to producing a Replicant who can give birth, but he is missing the key. He must find this child born by a synthetic, to build his ultimate Nexus. He dispatches his number one Nexus, Luv (Sylvia Hoeks) to leave breadcrumbs for K to help in finding the child. After visiting the Wallace Corp with an eyeball from the dead woman, K learns more from Luv about who this woman Rachael was and her relationship with Deckard. This also sends him to see an interesting woman who designs the memory for Wallace's creations Ana Stelline (Carla Juri) who has to live in a glass enclosure because of an immune deficiency. K, haunted by his own fragmented thoughts, wonders if they may be real..could his be real and not implanted? She is an expert and can tell the difference between one's real and ones inserted. With the information she gives, K decides he must find this Deckard. This will lead him to a radioactive Las Vegas, where old Deckard is hiding out, and more importantly, keeping secrets about this child and what the hell is going on.

K and his now freed Joi  fly to Vegas to meet up with you know who. Once, there, we start to unravel the plot a bit more, but  Villeneuve respects this material too much and the layered questions and dilemmas this story and it's universe pose. It requires that he leave some smoke. That is the right decision. When (Harrison Ford) does show up, his Deckard is hardened more, and content to live out his days in this rather strange place among the dust and radiation. He is actually one of the most emotive characters in the film, and it is one of his best performances. He hits the notes right.(Hans Zimmer's) score is a thunderous tribute to (Vangelis's) groundbreaking original, but I would have loved to hear what Villeneuve regular (Jóhann Jóhannsson) would have come up with. He was an original and vibrant composer, who will be missed.

I honestly don't think a film by Villeneuve should be reviewed fairly after one time. His movies are so nuanced and rich, multiple viewings are a requirement to fully experience what this fantastic filmmaker has created. I will say that the things that didn't work for me were (Leto) as the GOD complex obsessed Wallace. I like Leto very much, but his role is a bit shallow, with him coming in and spouting some religious and power hungry hokum and then disappearing. Perhaps I'll understand better after another viewing, but it didn't work for me. The other thing, that is surprising considering its length, is it felt a bit fragmented at times like some important stuff might have been cut out.

Nevertheless, Blade Runner 2049 is a fine, rich, complex and stunning film, that is very rewarding if you have the patience to ponder a bit while you watch.This isn't just about plot points, it's about what it means to be human. I can't wait to see this again.
You should see this movie.

watch the trailer: