“Blade Runner 2049”: Running Toward Destruction

Denis Villeneuve directs the sequel of “Blade Runner.” “Blade Runner 2049” picks up 30 years after the first movie ends, with the Tyrell Corporation disbanded and a new one, named the Wallace Corporation, picking up where they left off. The business is that of creating ‘replicants,’ bioengineered humans, who are designed to be the new slave labor class. They are almost indistinguishable from actual humans. Officer K (Ryan Gosling) is one such replicant who works for the Los Angeles Police Department and hunts down older replicant models to ‘retire’ or, more accurately, kill.

On what appears to be a normal retirement, Officer K discovers a secret that could literally change the world as it is known — forever.

I have a surprising amount to say about this film. First off, there were definitely good elements. Gosling did an absolutely phenomenal job in his role. The music was also really well done, as was the scenery, both Villeneuve touches that added to the futuristic world he was setting up.

The movie is being called amazing and was even called “The best sequel ever made” by one critic. The movie scored an 88 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, which is surprising for a movie of this caliber.

However, I cannot agree, because there was a lot wrong with this film that I couldn’t overlook.

The first is Villeneuve’s style. At first, I was fairly impressed with the look of it all. I imagined that, when the first dystopian worlds were created, this is how the visual of these movies was always meant to look. This was, of course, unachievable, because technology had not yet caught up with the sprawling and intricate worlds the directors of those films wanted to create. Now they are free to create amazing visuals and depressing landscapes to their heart’s content. In this case, Villeneuve achieved this spectacularly.

But, Villeneuve’s style turned showboat-y very quickly. Scenes that should have been more focused on the plot were, instead, way too often focused upon setting up the scenery, dragging the movie out with little plot for far longer than it should have been.

The second element that made it horrendous is the treatment of women.

I’ve talked a lot in past reviews about the treatment of women in Hollywood films. More often than not, a movie will lose a star in ratings, simply because of this fact. However, all of the injustice done to women in other films absolutely pales in comparison to this.

It wasn’t violence painted in huge overtones. In fact, the makers of this movie probably applauded themselves. There were visible women on screen. But, it would be a joke to think that their appearance was anything but as puppets.

Joi (Ana de Armas) is a prime example of this. Joi is K’s holographic girlfriend, which is disturbing in and of itself. She’s literally a programmable girl who will do whatever K wants and has to be happy about it. But then it gets worse. Joi literally cannot exist outside of K’s grasp, thanks to the holographic technology that keeps her bound to him.

Another issue was the sheer amount of violence against women on screen. Most, if not all, women died on screen in some violent way, but not before their naked bodies were displayed for the audience to see.

Honestly, the only bad stereotype that didn’t happen in this movie was an onscreen rape scene (although you clearly heard this multiple times in the background, if you listened closely enough).

Despite the fact that there were good elements that I did enjoy about this movie, there was just too much of a dark underbelly for me to truly enjoy, or even like, this film.

For that, I give it 1.5 out of 5 stars.

“Blade Runner 2049” is currently playing at Blue Jay Cinema. For show times and tickets, visit www.bluejaycinema.com or call (909) 337-8404.