Blade Runner: The Final Cut

This version is the "final cut" only because Warner Bros., director Ridley Scott and the producers have run out of cuts to peddle 25 years after its initial release. By most estimations, the latest offering—in which the biggest change is the revelation that Harrison Ford's 21st-century Bogie is really a "skin job"—marks the seventh iteration of the film, counting international versions and TV variations. (Which doesn't even count the 46-minute mini-film soon to be available on the Final Cut's generous multi-DVD boxed set, fashioned from even more excised and extended scenes—most featuring the Ford narration grafted to the theatrical version and shorn from most subsequent takes.) Is it better? Well, than what, precisely? Only the hard-core acolytes will be able to spot the differences, which are copious but also microscopic—save for the unicorn sequence, now shown at a different point and placed in a different context. What's astounding is how well Scott's vision of a decrepit, dystopian future has held up; most future-gazing sci-fi movies look dated a week before their release, but not Scott's, which still packs the wallop of the truly influential. Course, it's still as cramped, smoky and moody as ever, only now not nearly as hopeful. As director Frank Darabont points out on a forthcoming DVD-only doc, in its rush to reveal the oft-discussed, never-confirmed detail that Ford's Rick Deckard is a replicant, the filmmakers now strip from Blade Runner the only bit of humanity it had—the hero's just a tin man.


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