You've Never Seen Harrison Ford Laugh This Hard

WARNER BROS

Back in 2019 Los Angeles had a problem with four rogue replicants that had started trouble on a satellite colony.

"Blade Runner 2049", starring Harrison Ford and Ryan Gosling, is one of the most buzzed about movies of the fall. At close to three hours, "Blade Runner 2049" is a long film, but it's unlikely that true partisans will notice, or mind.

What happens in Blade Runner 2049?

The assumption is the affection for the original will allow them to get away with this, but this may be a problem when the young'uns wander in expecting some kind of futuristic action flick. More than 35 years later, it's here. The director of Blade Runner 2049, Sicario and Arrival was said to be on a shortlist of directors for Bond 25, and star Daniel Craig himself is said to favor the French-Canadian filmmaker.

The acting of the central characters blends nicely to the first film and with only slightly modified details needed to bring you up to date.

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Early in the slow-burning and sometimes very violent and graphic movie, set in 2049 LA, you'll meet star Ryan Gosling's blade runner, Officer K. And, as previews for the film make very clear, he eventually will come into contact with Ford's aged Deckard. By the one-minute mark, Ford is grinning and giving Hammond shit for their introduction, and Gosling is emptying a minibar-sized whiskey into the Blade Runner prop glass. Ana de Armas, in particular, seems to be an actress to watch out for, while Jared Leto is predictably unsettling.

While dispatching his victim, K discovers something that, in the words of his supervisor (Robin Wright), "breaks the world".

Villenueve pulls out all the stops here, creating a multi-aesthetic world of Egyptian-scale ruins, steam-punk factories and grim slums that combine the worst of Brazil and Berlin. But when the results are both this challenging and stylish, who's complaining?

The reappearance of Ford as Deckard isn't as emotionally satisfying as we might like, and it marks the moment when this almost three-hour film begins to lose momentum. I'll save my analysis of that for a spoiler-y post next week, but it's safe to say that 2049 is simultaneously a compelling sequel to the original Blade Runner, a worthwhile standalone sci-fi/mystery blockbuster, and a reintroduction to the dystopian Blade Runner universe that whets the appetite for more. If "Blade Runner" was the nightmare of being soulless, "2049" is the dream of being real, with a leather jacket-clad Pinocchio in a flying vehicle.

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