Blade Runner: the Unkindest Cut of All


sean young


Like Walt Whitman who revised Leaves of Grass until he reached the last page on his deathbed, Ridley Scott has been tinkering with his classic Blade Runner.

After various “Director’s Cuts,” Scott has gone the butcher shop by coming up with chopped liver and Salisbury steaks. He has swept up the bits from the cutting room floor and installed them in the butcher’s window.

We finally got around to seeing the 2007 Blade Runner: The Final Cut.

If we settle upon this one as the cut above the rest, we’d be rejecting all those versions that made 1982’s Blade Runner one of the most mind-boggling and influential movies of its time.

Two movies changed the sci-fi landscape forever: Mad Max and Blade Runner. They made the future ugly and dirty, crowded and unpleasant. Throw in Alien (also by Scott) and you have a futuristic mess.

No, Ridley has not cleaned up the set. He now revels in the messiness. Gone is the wonderful narrative voice of Harrison Ford, explaining to us what was going on. It’s not necessary because we’ve all seen the film before.

Adding a few moments amplifies the characters without a narrative megaphone. The film is striking—especially from Sean Young’s Joan Crawford look to the smoky offices in the skyscrapers, and we still love Ford’s fey impersonation that loses nothing on Bogart’s fey impersonator scene in The Big Sleep.

This 1940s detective film set in the 21st century lacks only Dooley Wilson, leaving Ridley Scott to play it again and again.

We wanted to see again if Deckard is really another ‘replicant’ sent to retire other replicants. We have wondered about this for 30 years.

The Final Cut is brilliant. It’s hard to do more than polish a diamond, even if you want to cut it into smaller segments to add more jewel facets.

In the meantime we wait for Ridley’s deathbed version.