A small group of Replicants make their way back to Earth after being excommunicated indefinitely. It’s up to the Blade Runner to locate and retire them before they can unleash their master plan.
There are a handful of Sci-Fi films that stand the test of time, and Blade Runner is easily one of those films. The film depicts a dystopian future; filled with advertisements, over-crowding, lots of neon, and lots of rain. Its film-noir style makes the detective mystery very compelling as well. What makes this story unique is how artificial intelligence played a role in its recent past. Replicants were created as a clone workforce when humans started going off-planet. They looked human, worked like machines, and didn’t require nourishment. As the Tyrell Corporation continued to advance these beings, they came out with newer and more life-like versions. The last bunch were called Nexus-6, and they were the most convincing and realistic Replicants ever made. They emulated emotion and were indistinguishable from humans. They were faster, stronger, and intelligent as their makers. This also made them very dangerous. Before the main story begins, viewers learn that a group of Nexus-6 Replicants went rouge on an off-world colony. It was this event that deemed them terrorists and a threat to mankind. Thus, all Nexus-6 Replicants were excommunicated from Earth forever. This didn’t stop them from trying to return though.
In the beginning of the film, viewers learn about a militant group of Replicants who stole a spaceship and returned to Earth illegally. Things don’t go exactly to plan though, and two of the six Replicants are quickly eliminated. A third one named Leon Kowalski (Brion James) nearly escapes capture from a test conducted within the Tyrell Corporation too. Their Leader, Roy Batty (Rutger Hauer) and Pris (Daryl Hannah) seem to be the only ones who can evade those looking for the Replicants. While their motives are unclear, it’s known they are trying to infiltrate the massive Tyrell Corporation. It seems the creations are attempting to come home and meet their Maker. Dr. Eldon Tyrell is a hard man to reach though. He’s only accessible to a limited few, and he’s cautious of them even. Dr. Tyrell is recognized by his peers as a genius. He’s highly respected for a man who created the worst threat to the human species. Luckily, he implemented a fail-safe in the Nexus-6 Replicants. They only have a four-year life cycle.
Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford) is an old Blade Runner who tracked down Replicants back in his hay-day. He’s out of the biz now, but this rouge team of Replicants gets him pulled back in. Deckard really doesn’t want to get back into the Blade Running business, but it doesn’t seem like he has much choice. They need him and he knows it. Reluctantly, Deckard takes on the job to search and destroy the remaining Replicants.
Think Deckard can locate and retire the Replicants before they wreak havoc on the Tyrell Corporation? You’ll have to tune in to find out!
Enough about that…let’s take a look at what’s included with this epic 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray release.
The menu design consists of a static image from a scene to n the film. The menu options are listed along the bottom of the screen, and include: Play, Scene Selections, Audio, Subtitles, and Special Features. The ‘Audio’ languages include: English Dolby Atmos TrueHD, English 5.1 Dolby TrueHD, French 5.1 Dolby Digital, and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital. The ‘Subtitle’ options consist of the same languages. The ‘Scene Selection’ option displays five chapters at a time. Each one is numbered and includes a snapshot from the scene.
Now let’s take a look at the Special Features included with this release.
It’s worth noting this 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray collection is missing some features that were included in the 2007 Blu-ray release of Blade Runner. Below is a list of the Special Features included with this set.
Disk 1 (1080p HD):
– This is the ‘Final Cut’ version of the film. It was originally released back in 2007, and includes the Audio Commentaries and Director Introduction.
– This disc has all the juicy extras, folks. It includes the “Dangerous Days” documentary that talks about the making of the film, and includes clips from over 80-interviews with the cast and crew!
Disk 3 (1080p HD):
– US Theatrical Cut (1982)
– International Theatrical Cut (1982)
– Director’s Cut (1992)
Disk 4 (4K Ultra HD Disc):
– Introduction with Director Ridley Scott (0:35): This is a brief feature with Ridley Scott discussing the recent remaster to 4K. He oversaw and approved every bit of the 4K process, and said it’s his favorite version of the film to date. That’s pretty cool.
– Commentaries: Director Commentary by Ridley Scott, Writer/Producer Commentary by Hampton Fancher, David Peoples, Michael Deeley and Katherine Haber, and Crew Commentary by Syd Mead, Lawrence G. Paull, David L. Snyder, Douglas Trumbull, Richard Yuricich and David Dryer.
– Blade Runner: The Final Cut – 4K remastered Trailer
Now let’s take a look at the technical side of this release.
The 2160p 4K Ultra HD image with High Dynamic Range (HDR), comes with an aspect ratio of 2.40:1. This means there will be black bars along the top and bottom of your 4K display. No need to worry though, as the high quality of this remastered transfer looks amazing! Seeing an older film restored and tweaked can really look great in 4K. This is one of those films. When comparing the 4K to the Standard Blu-ray and earlier Theatrical/Director’s Cut versions, viewers will see a big difference. There’s a lot of enhancements from the 2007 Blu-ray transfer as well, but the 4K takes it up a notch. Looking at similar frames side-by-side, viewers will notice an increase in contrast, brightness, hue, clarity, detail and more in the 4K and Standard Blu-ray transfers. The US Theatrical Release included in this set has a warmer look and feel to it. There’s a green hue that’s constant throughout the film. In the ‘Final Cut’ versions in HD and 4K UHD, that green hue is practically gone. Instead, there’s a colder, blue hue that reveals a lot more clarity. Black levels are enhanced as well, drastically improving the outdoor and above-city shots. This does bring out the grain at times, but I prefer the 4K transfer above all the others. Ridley Scott oversaw this 4K transfer, and it really shows. At times, viewers may think they are watching a brand new Sci-Fi film. This says a lot about the practical effects used in those days. I’d take practical over CGI any day.
The additional pixels allow for extra detail to be seen in the actor’s clothing, facial expressions, and even individual hairs. The lighting was superb in Blade Runner, and it really shows. This film does contain a lot of grain, and one of the harsh-looking moments was the scene with Dr. Tyrell and Roy Batty. This is a shame, because it’s a very intense and memorable scene. Nevertheless, viewers and fans alike will be very impressed by the overall clarity of this transfer.
The Dolby Atmos track does a great job encompassing the viewer/listener. In a lot of ways, the soundtrack is a character itself in this film. It carries us from scene to scene, and sounds pretty awesome at the same time. It’s eerie, mysterious, and completely 80’s. The surrounding channels are in use throughout the entirety of the film. One subtle shot consisted of several folks riding by on bicycles. As they zoomed passed the actor and through the frame, the ambient sounds were all over the place. Add in the constant rain, city effects, and epic soundtrack, you have something sweeter than Yoo-Hoo. I will say the musical score did overtake the dialog from time to time though. If you’re watching this film late at night, you may want to keep the remote in hand. This track has some booming moments!
Overall, Blade Runner: The Final Cut on 4K UltraHD is the best transfer to date. The image and audio quality alone make this a must have for fans. The film noir style makes this a classic detective story that’ll certainly stand the test of time. It’s a dark depiction of our potential future, even though the story takes place in 2019. We don’t have flying cars or organic artificial intelligence just yet, but we’re getting there. Nevertheless, Blade Runner is a very compelling film. It teaches us about the human condition, and what could possibly happen if the machines we create start to experience emotions. In short…it could be very bad for us!
If you’re a fan of the film or Sci-Fi in general, don’t hesitate to pick up this 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray. It may be missing some of the bonus features seen in previous releases, but it’s still the best-looking version thus far. Pick it up on 4K Blu-ray today!