I know that at some point in the past I have watched Blade Runner. I do not know what version it was. I also am very aware that it has become a huge pop culture reference so that my memories of the film have most likely been altered by that fact. But I do think that I enjoyed it. I have never read the original short story.
So, a rewatch of a film I don’t really recall but know all about, that’s a strange thing. Especially knowing the central arguments/themes of a film before they are developed on screen. Makes it an interesting experience.
I have to say that I really enjoyed Blade Runner. I loved the look, although I hadn’t a clue where it was supposed to be set. There was all this Asian writing and a hugely diverse background cast, but all the main peeps seemed to be white US dudes. That confused me, were they like colonial powers or something? But no, the background was mere background and set dressing, this was set in a future L.A.
A future where the powerful and the rich have begun to go “off-world”, leaving the poor and the unhappy behind. A future where replicants are built to be the slaves. A future where some of those replicants rebel and are hunted down and “retired” by the Blade Runner unit. Which is where Harrison Ford’s Deckard character fits in. His job is to locate and terminate.
It is also a future that is only two years away, but you have to ignore that fact, this is an alternate timeline. And not a very pleasant one.
Watching it one of my main thoughts was why on earth would anyone see Deckard as any sort of hero? I guess it depends on your view of the replicants, and possibly my viewing is tainted because I was aware of the debate over their humanity, plus years of Star Trek watching have pre-disposed me to thinking of robot beings as being equal to humans. From that point of view Deckard’s role is horrendous. These replicants are rebelling against their own slavery, plus they’ll only live a few years, and Deckard goes out hunting them down and murdering them. That is not the job of a hero.
Now, you may argue that these four in particular are murderers, there’s something about a spaceship and its inhabitants being murdered, but that comes from the oppressing force, we don’t know it to be true. Plus, in any rebellion the innocent suffer. It doesn’t make it right, but it also doesn’t mean that the oppressed should stay in that position simply because they’ll have to fight for their rights.
There is also the whole argument over whether or not Deckard is a replicant himself. He probably is, but I don’t think that it absolutely matters, what matters is that the argument can be made either way. If you can argue for it, then what is the difference between replicants and humans? And doesn’t that make the Blade Runner role all the more horrendous.