Since this futuristic sci-fi sequel is designed as a series of
vignettes, so is this review.
The introduction sets the stage:
the new human replicants are superior to the old models, which were
a little too realistic in their replication of humanity, and therefore
contained the capacity for rebellion and independent thinking.
But some of the old models are still out there, and need hunting
down and eliminating like old Nazi war criminals.
Ryan Gosling stars as “K,” one of the newer replicants, who
serves on the LAPD. He's part
of the detail that's hunting down the old replicants, and he's obedient,
to his boss Lieutenant Joshi (Robin Wright), but he also begins to
question the necessity, which in itself is a dangerous tendency.
He takes some comfort in having a virtual girlfriend, Joi (Ana de
Armas), but even she recognizes her limitations in being only visual, so
she actually helps enlist a human hooker, Mariette (Mackenzie Davis), so
her man can actually “feel” the love.
It's an interesting gambit from Director Denis Villenueve, who
treats the attempted fusion like a pretty picture just slightly out of
The sets are stark. Los
Angeles in 32 years is expected to be denser, but also foreboding.
Many scenes are dark, lots of rain, and what little glimpses of the
populace project as grim and foreboding.
The background music is very loud.
But then, there are some playful musical moments, as well:
in the old abandoned casino, the Elvis act flickers on stage, and
in the jukebox you can play a visual Frank Sinatra.
It's as if iconic performances never really disappear, they just
change mediums of conveyance.
Harrison Ford returns as Rick Deckard.
Not exactly to reprise his role as the hero (is he limping when he
runs?). When he first meets up
with his potential nemesis, K, they have a fistfight, but after a few
punchless punches, it's clear to both of them that Rick Deckard has seen
better fighting days. So he
just offers K a drink instead. And
they have a civilzed conversation instead of an attempted brawl.
What's the plot? Something
about K's discovery that a couple of the replicants actually were able to
reproduce, when they supposedly weren't able to do that. (The ancients
made servants into eunuchs, as well.)
This possibility scares the “real” humans, because they fear a
replicant uprising. And it
seems their fears are well-founded.
There's a fair amount of nudity, but it's mostly of the robotic
variety, so those images seem more like memes, which renders them a kind
of ironic iconic.
Most of the time, the scenes are pared down to one or two actors on
a particular set, which lends a kind of stage-set quality to the film.
The cinematography is vivid and creative.
But the story line seems to take a back seat to the visuals.
There's an actual direct quote of scripture, Genesis 30:22.
It has to do with what happened to the “miracle child” of the
replicants. For a while there,
we were worried that we were going to develop a Star Wars-type of
obsession with parental lineage. But
this series doesn't possess any of the playfulness of the “Star Wars”
saga, nor is it nearly as clear who the good guys and bad guys are.
The air-cars are cool-looking, and are also amusingly similar to
those in the 1960's cartoon series “The Jetsons.”
But in this movie, the future is dark and foreboding enough to make
us not want to go there.