Sharp sequel outruns original
Joi is delightfully creative and there’s much more to Robin Wright’s Lieutenant Joshi than initially meets the eye.
Jared Leto’s (Niander Wallace) Zen-like company head is an ominous, little-used presence, but it’s Dutch actress Sylvia Hoeks’ (Luv) chilling, relentless enforcer who leads the way in terms of villainy.
Harrison Ford’s Deckard is back and the 75-year-old takes a similar stance to his role in Star Wars: The Force Awakens by adding oldschool charisma and a grouchy tongue in small doses as he steps back and allows his younger co-stars to breathe in a world he helped make famous.
But even if the acting wasn’t so strong, Blade Runner 2049 would still rate as a resplendent gift to the senses. Villeneuve and the digital effects team have built vast landscapes and huge sets that lend the sequel a grandiose scale.
From the scorched, desert-like ruins of Las Vegas to use of haunting fog, shadow, water, snow and, of course, rain, Villeneuve is a visionary working at the peak of his powers.
He delivers on the emotional beats too; who would’ve thought Luv’s destruction of a couple of inches of plastic could mean so much?
Villeneuve also knows when best to utilise Hans Zimmer and Benjamin Wallfisch’s haunting, hypnotic score, dropping it out completely for tender moments and a few bruising brawls.
Blade Runner 2049 is weighty, brain-testing, top sci-fi that promises more interesting developments ahead that we surely won’t have to wait another 35 years to see.
Spelling out the future Ryan Gosling stars as blade runner K