A blade runner must pursue and terminate four replicants who stole a ship in space, and have returned to Earth to find their creator.
The movie says it is Los Angeles, November 2019. I guess LA has become a massive hellscape of gasoline refineries and endless rain. Now we are treated to a cautionary tale of the pointless and sometimes dangerous field of amateur psychology. What is the purpose of dictating to a person the torturing of an animal? The subject, who obviously has deep rooted maternal issues, then justifiably lashes out due to the bumbling of the administrator. He clearly needs the assistance of an actual licensed professional.
Now we are introduced to Deckard (Harrison Ford). He is a retired cop assassin (as if there is any other kind). He doesn’t even get five minutes looking through the want ads before another cop shows up and drags him back into the station. I guess the chief wants him back, and he literally has no choice.
It turns out the deep rooted mommy issues that Leon (Brion James) has are because he is a life model decoy of someone who was never alive. In their vernacular, a replicant. Deckard is the best, the best at hunting down these filthy robots who just want to live on Earth and have a longer than four year life span. The nerve of some robots! We are told the birth years of the principal replicants, the most telling one is Roy, with a date in 2016. Which means he is only three years old. More on that later.
Chief Bryant (M. Emmet Walsh) tells Deckard that six replicants escaped from some colony, killed a bunch of people, and showed up on Earth. Three days ago they tried to break into the Tyrell Corporation (their manufacturers) and one of them was fried. By my math that leaves five unaccounted for replicants. Deckard is assigned to look for 4 of them. Maybe that crippled origami guy (Edward James Olmos) was assigned the fifth, or, maybe this movie can’t count to six even with two hands. (I know there are like 8 different versions of the movie, and in some they have redubbed the numbers to try and make them right, but none of those were the version that Apple TV presented me to rent).
Deckard is asked to go to Tyrel corporation to see if their amateur psychology can drive another replicant to murder. Rachel (Sean Young) delivers such a wooden performance you can’t help but think she is a robot, and lo and behold, she is. She must be defective though, because she doesn’t murder Deckard. Next Deckard travels to Leon’s hotel room to do some actual police work. He finds something that looks like a fingernail and steals some photos.
Meanwhile, our renegade replicants go to visit Hannibal Chew (James Hong) as a man who builds eyes for the replicants. Roy (Rutget Hauer) seems to take extra pleasure as they torture Chew trying to find out about Tyrell. Chew cowardly gives them the name J.F. Sebastian (William Sanderson). Back to Deckard, he is at his apartment and Rachel visits him. And here we see once again a future society with these super advanced robots and Deckard’s apartment is filthy, and he can’t even find a clean glass to offer Rachel a drink before she runs away (apparently he forgot she is a replicant and doesn’t need alcohol, even though he literally just confirmed it to her like 2 minutes ago). This society fails to capitalize on humanoid robots in the same way Automata does. The people live in squalor anyways.
Deckard finally decides to do an honest day’s work and is able to trace that finger nail to be an artificial snake scale, so he goes in search of some guy who deals in artificial snakes. Eventually his alcoholism leads him to Zhora (Joanna Cassidy) one of the escaped replicants. She is an exotic dancer. Deckard then somehow talks his way into her dressing room claiming to be protecting her from perverts even though he seems to be one. She then runs off in a weird bikini covered by a plastic clear rain coat. Did I mention it is always raining in this nightmarish LA? Well it is. She easily outruns Deckard and escapes into the crowd, never to be seen again. Oh wait, somehow Deckard actually does find her, and he shoots her in the back as she is running away. A chillingly accurate portrayal of a 2019 police officer.
When the police show up to clean up all the collateral damage Bryant shows up too. Deckard says three to go, then Bryant says actually four (Oh good, Bryant realizes he made a simple adding mistake earlier and has come to correct it). Then Bryant tells Deckard that Rachel the Robot has run away, and she also must now be Blade Ran (or whatever the correct verb conjugation would be). So I guess math is still hard. Deckard sees Rachel in the crowd and runs after her, only to be attacked by Leon. Leon easy knocks the policeman’s gun away and commences to interrogate / beat him. Just before Leon gets his vengeance, Rachel shoots him with Deckard’s gun.
Jump over to the last two replicants. Pris (Daryl Hannah) the robot prostitute tracks down Sebastian and is able to befriend him using her artificial feminine wiles. Sebastian is a prematurely aged toy maker and genetic engineer who lives in a condemned building. He has also been instrumental in building these replicants. He sure is naïve, and eventually lets Roy show up and convince him to take him to see Tyrell.
Back at Deckard’s apartment, Rachel and he decide to have the sexy times. They clearly never watched the Futurama video about the dangers of human and robot relations.
Sebastian takes Roy to see Tyrell. So far everything I know about Roy is that he is a psychotic replicant who seems to love killing people. Wouldn’t you know it, when he learns from Tyrell that his battery cannot be replaced, he kills him and Sebastian. Tyrell should have taken a page from Anthony Hopkins in WestWorld and made his robot slaves completely subservient to him. Oh well live and learn, or not in the case of Tyrell.
Deckard is alerted to Tyrell and Sebastian’s deaths and immediately goes to Sebastian’s giant hovel. Deckard fights Kris, who nearly kills him, but for some reason then decides to run down the hall and then get shot. Roy comes back from a day rich with killing and finds Kris dead. He then runs around and taunts Deckard, breaking his fingers then giving him his gun back. For reasons that aren’t clear he strips down to his undergarments and jams a nail through his hand. The movie then leads us up and around this building as Deckard tries to evade Roy. Ultimately Deckard finds himself out on a ledge, and Roy shows up and saves him. Then Roy’s battery runs out and he goes dark. But wait? I thought Roy was only 3, he should have another year of life. The movie cannot relent from its ‘math is hard’ message.
Deckard is supposedly the best Blade Runner there has ever been. By my count he killed an exotic dancer and a prostitute. When faced with actual replicant soldiers he was saved by another replicant and an adding error. Deckard then goes back to his apartment and he and Rachel go off to live in the country. Did I mention that Deckard has been narrating throughout this whole movie providing exposition? Well he does and it is annoying.
At the end of the day Deckard is a species traitor either way you look at it. Either he is a human who ran off to live with a replicant rather than doing his solemn duty of shooting her in the back while she flees unarmed. Or he is a replicant who kills his own kind (albeit poorly) for fun and profit.