Features Live Action Movies

Blade Runner –
The Director’s Cut

Director – Ridley Scott – 1993 (1982) – US – 15 – 116 mins 29 secs



One of the two main motivating forces behind the current Tetsuo II: Body Hammer (Shinya Tsukamoto, 1992) – the other was Videodrome, (David Cronenberg, 1983) – Blade Runner turns up in the cinema here some ten years after its original release in a Director’s Cut.

According to the press handouts, this isn’t just the original cut prior to Warner Bros.’ encouraging director Ridley Scott to remove the downbeat ending and insert a film noir voice over to explain what was going on – the film has additionally been re-edited by the director to make it work for a nineties audience.

Thus, the redundant voice over has gone and the original down ending is back – to make more sense of the story. There’s also a new and crucial sequence in which Harrison Ford as Deckard (an ex-cop, or ‘blade runner’, who forcibly retires renegade androids known as ‘replicants’) dreams of a unicorn which looks suspiciously like an out-take from the director’s later big budget fairytale flop Legend (1985). The relationship between Deckard and the state-of-the-art replicant Rachel (Sean Young) (“she doesn’t even know,” he comments bitterly) is expanded too.

This new version works much better than the 1982 version; one wonders what on earth the executives who originally pressured Scott into their changes thought they were doing.

For those who missed it first time round, the fusion of heavily-polluted future cityscape (comparable to silent epic Metropolis, Fritz Lang, 1927) and down-at-heel film noir private dick still looks impressive. Ford (en route from Star Wars / Indiana Jones actioners to ‘serious’ roles like Witness, Peter Weir, 1985) has never been better, while Rutger Hauer shot to stardom playing the replicant leader. The source material is Philip K.Dick’s novel Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep; the more recent megabuck Dick adaptation Total Recall (Paul Verhoeven, 1990) looks cut-price by comparison.

Review originally published in What’s On In London in 1993.

Blade Runner trailer A (1982, voice over, 3m 27s):

Blade Runner trailer B (1982, music, 1m37s):

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