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Blade Runner

"Blade Runner," adapted from Philip K. Dick's 1968 novel "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep", is by far the best cinematic realization of a cyberpunk world to date. Set in the perpetual rainy night of Los Angeles in 2019, "Blade Runner" is about a cop (Harrison Ford) whose job it is to "retire" (read: "kill") replicants built by the genetic engineers at Tyrell Corporation. The replicants, designed to work as slaves in off-world space colonies, sometimes escape to Earth and try to hide their synthetic identities.

Ford's character is dispatched to track down and kill four of these escaped rebels (played by Brion James, Joanna Cassidy, Darryl Hannah and the seasoned psycho-actor Rutger Hauer). While the story is a bit weak and the Chandleresque gumshoe voice-overs by Ford an embarrassment, this movie has a visionary intensity unmatched in SF film-making.

Also starring Sean Young and William Sanderson. Brilliantly directed by Ridley Scott ("Alien," "Black Rain") with "retro- futuristic" sets by conceptual artist Syd Mead.

Interestingly enough, the name "Blade Runner" was taken from the 1974 novel "The Bladerunner" by Alan Nourse. Other than the title heist, there is no connection between this book, the film, or the P.K. Dick book.

(G. Branwyn)



1982, The Ladd Company
Directed by Ridley Scott


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There is a "Director's Cut" of "Blade Runner" currently making the rounds. Apparently, Scott was very unhappy with the final edit, especially Harrison Ford's narration. His version of the film does not include voice-overs.

William Gibson has said that he was halfway through "Neuromancer" when he went to see "Blade Runner." He ran from the theater a few minutes into the film because he was afraid it might influence the style and direction of his book.

I recently read the original screenplay [for "Blade Runner"], which was brilliant, nothing like what they did with the movie, one of the best screenplays I've ever read. Totally fucking gripping when you sit down and read it. It's very very evocative.

In the original screenplay, the opening sequence was that the Harrison Ford character goes up somewhere in Alaska, some remote place. He goes into a mining community and finds a replicant. The guy's got a dog there, and Ford jumps him. He shoots the guy. The dog runs away, and the dog turns out to be a replicant too, because its leg breaks when it's trying to run away, and it's kind of dragging around in a circle. Ford goes over to this guy, reaches into his mouth, pulls a switch and takes the lower jaw out for identification, while the crippled replicant dog runs in circles.

This is the opening scene, and I thought, Holy Christ, brilliant stuff. The rest of it's pretty much the same, just hacked up by the studio. You know at the end where they take you to the country and you live happily ever after? Well the screenplay takes you to the country. But in this final scene, he takes her out in the car, and they're sitting there and they kiss and he hands her the gun and walks away from the car. She shoots herself and it ends with the shot echoing, and the only voiceover that had been written into it is the guy saying: "I don't know, she said she wanted to see some flowers and I want to go back to San Francisco..." and it just sort of fades out. It's heavy. It's really fine stuff.

Hampton Fancher the guy's name was, he can write like a motherfucker. We tried to get him to do the "Neuromancer" script but he ran off to Paris. This guy's something, I'd really like to meet him.

- William Gibson in an interview for "SF Eye" #1


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