This review contains mild spoilers
It’s set 30 years apart from the original, leaving so big a space for vast development of plot and characters. Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford) could be probably told dead during The Black Out, leaving all records completely untraced. With the former lead dead and all paper data including notes and photographs were destroyed, a start of new chapter is thus understood. But the fact is quite the contrary. Deckard has survived the darkness, hence brought a necessary trouble for this sequel. Apparently, his romantic relationship with a replicant, Rachael (Sean Young), bears a child whose existence, is dilemmatic.
Denis Villeneuve (Sicario, Arrival) is the director so we all know what to expect and vice versa. Blade Runner 2049 is proven theatrically stunning that any unnecessary loudness potentially hurts. The visual features are both rich and dazzling, often accompanied by ambitious and stimulating electronic scores. The holographic city (read: Los Angeles) is seen never sleep since the blackout, probably as an anticipation of a similar future catastrophe. There we meet Joi (Ana de Armas), a holographic A.I who hosts every lost soul seeking for life and its means.
The particular elements above fit the new lead, LAPD Officer named just K (Ryan Gosling), whose nature is cold due to his setting of obedience. He’s introduced as a replicant but with minimum curiosity of cause of his presence as he often ignores such following questions; “Is he really made? Is he really a skinner?” Only when he explores this particular case deeper and deeper, his childhood memories begin to occupy, mind as well heart. Despite our initial thought refers K impossibly a human, he shows he takes control of his action, especially the desire to discover his true identity so eagerly.
The plot indeed wants us to believe in something which so far we still can’t. The question who are humans and replicants among the characters are still unanswered. How can’t humans recognize themselves while replicants can appear convincingly as humans? Above all, does it matter in which they are born into since both are designed to co-exist? Only the latter we can find hint of answer since Blade Runner 2049 plots all older replicants to be destroyed and creates brand new replicants only to obey. Generally, we can only believe replicants are just like humans; either good or bad, in their own terms.
LAPD is now monitored by Wallace Corporation‘s Niander Wallace (Jared Leto) who strictly keeps his manufactured replicants free of remnants. But once he discovers that a prospective anomaly in older replicants can lead his business towards a greater result, his interference in this case becomes unstoppable. The hunting scheme quickly starts on his side while LAPD led by K keeps exploring remaining materials on different areas.
The perspective of Villeneuve in directing this sequel is more into true self seeking rather than grueling loud between ideas and facts. The elements are to enrich K during his way to understand things beyond what his predecessors did. Gosling plays another charismatic role; similar to his nameless Driver in Drive (2011). Believed as a replicant, Gosling does his best being a skillful blade runner, a ruthless monster, as well a being with lost soul. His intimate interaction with lively Joi helps with the last, cracking the coldness inside him a bit, hinting his true self even in a shade of light. Only if he survived the critical final, he’d got the chance to believe whatever he wants to. Otherwise, K will never bear the name Joi gives him.
Director: Denis Villeneuve
Cast: Ryan Gosling, Harrison Ford, Ana de Armas, Robin Wright, Dave Bautista, Mackenzie Davis, Sean Young, Jared Leto
Duration: 162 mins