November 21, 2012

Versions of Blade Runner

I know that every reader of this blog, upon reading my incredibly insightful and brilliant review of Blade Runner, immediately wanted to run out and watch it, even if she's already seen it, because I'm just that good. "But Carl Eusebius" I hear you asking, "there are lots of versions of Blade Runner. Which one should I watch?"

Well, if you're truly committed to art, as I am, you'll watch all of them for the sake of comparison. But since I know none of you can aspire to my own greatness, I'll help you choose the best version, the one that is truly one of the greatest films of our time.

Because major film studios were once even more convinced we're all morons, Blade Runner exists in three versions. (Actually there are more, but most people only have easy access to three.) The first is the version released to theatres in 1982. It adds completely unnecessary narration* to tell us things we don't need to know--things the film establishes visually or through context or dialogue, things we don't care to know because they aren't important, and things the film leaves ambiguous--but apparently we gibbering baboons in the audience need to have everything spelled out for us. Needless to say, this version removes several indicators that Deckard is a replicant. Its worst sin of all is replacing the original ambiguous ending with a bullshit "happy" ending that's as tacked on as the flamboyantly gay character in every sitcom made in the '90s.

The original "Director's Cut" of Blade Runner, released in 1992, is the primary impetus for the current plague of "director's cuts" for films that appear to have been directed by computers and exist solely as an excuse to get fans to buy two versions on DVD. In Blade Runner this wasn't the case, since there were significant differences between the theatrical version and director Ridley Scott's original vision. Fan edits--composed of footage available from foreign and television versions and from the bootlegged "workprint" version--had attempted to restore Scott's original vision for a decade, and so it was finally decided to undertake an "official" restoration of Scott's Blade Runner. This version isn't a director's cut in the strictest sense, as Scott was busy with other projects and at the time didn't have time to supervise the cut directly. Instead, he sent notes to the people in charge of it explaining what he'd meant to do ten years ago. This version removes the godawful voice-over and restores both the original ending and the "unicorn" sequence that implies Deckard is a replicant. This version is the most ambiguous, partly because Scott, probably working from memory, missed a number of small changes, and partly because Scott's busyness prevented him from fucking up his own film.

The "Final Cut", released in 2007, was under Ridley Scott's control, is generally considered his true director's cut, and is such a horrible abomination of humankind that it had me praying for death by the time it was over. It clarifies a number of murky areas in earlier versions, primarily by correcting errors. For instance, in every previous cut, Deckard's boss says there were originally six replicants, with one being killed before they reached Earth. Yet only four replicants are dealt with in the film, creating a "missing replicant" that was the subject of fan discussion for 25 years. (The script originally called for five replicants in the movie, but budget constraints forced the producers to cut one.) Now he says two were killed, removing the missing replicant. Other continuity and special effects issues are cleared up, which is all well and good...but then Scott goes on to show that he's lost some trust in his audience over the years.

Old Ridley he doesn't think we can, like, figure stuff out with clues provided by the film, but must have everything clearly spelled out for us. For instance, villain Roy Batty and a human companion ride the elevator up to the top floor of a massive office building, where they meet with a man that Batty eventually murders. Going back down the elevator, Batty is alone. Now because my brain isn't made of Roquefort cheese, I sussed out the fate of Batty's companion, but Scott has to add a line to make sure we "get" that Batty killed the fellow.

The most egregious change is what was done to the sequence implying Deckard is a replicant. In the "Final Cut", the implication is much stronger, reflecting Old Ridley's utterly mistaken and ludicrous belief that Deckard is a replicant. While the film stops short of having a flashing sign over Deckard's head announcing that he isn't human (I expect Scott's associates talked him out of adding this sign), it just barely stops short of such a clumsy device.

So which cut is the one to watch? If you've been paying attention, you know the answer: The Director's Cut. That is, the 1992 cut-that-isn't-a-director's-cut-but-is-called-director's-cut, not the 2007 cut-that-is-a-director's-cut-but-is-called-final-cut. The reason for this is simple: The 1992 version is the cut that most resembles what Young Ridley wanted to do. This is the Ridley Scott of Alien, not the Ridley Scott of Prometheus. In 1992, only 10 years after the release of Blade Runner, Scott sent the editors a list of things that he remembered he wanted to do with the film but were denied him for one reason or another. I wouldn't be surprised if he didn't even watch the film again but relied entirely on his memory of what rankled him about studio meddling. That's why we get a great film. That's where there's ambiguity, because Young Ridley could be ambiguous. Ridley Scott wasn't quite so Old in 1992. He still remembered Young Ridley, and he was really trying to restore Young Ridley's film as best he could. In 2007, he was truly Old Ridley. Not 10 years later, but 25 years. This was the man who gave us Gladiator and Kingdom of Heaven. He didn't know who Young Ridley was, and wouldn't have cared if he had. Instead, he painstakingly went through Young Ridley's film and fixed it. He removed the ambiguity. Deckard is now clearly a replicant. He even changes Rutger Hauer's amazing delivery of the line "I want more life, father!" Or is it "fucker"? In the Director's Cut, it's unclear, and every time I watch it I hear it differently. This reflects Batty's conflicting relationship with his father and, really, the confusing relationship every son has with his father.

But Old Ridley doesn't like ambiguity. Old Ridley has to spell it out for us. So Old Ridley substitutes a take in which Hauer clearly says "father", so that we cretins in the audience won't have our puzzlers start a-hurtin'.

Ridley Scott, your Final Cut of Blade Runner is bad and you should feel bad.


* There is a persistent legend that Harrison Ford, openly against the narration, intentionally tanked it during recording because he was so unhappy with it. Ford denies this, claiming he gave it his best and it sounds terrible in the movie because, well, it was terrible. I hate to gainsay Ford, and his explanation is a good one (because the narration truly is terrible), but man, his reading of it is horrendous.


  1. See, I actually prefer the narrated version. Oh, I won't argue that the ending is better - but it's an ending, it's not worth trashing the rest of the movie about - but the narration gives Blade Runner the film noir feel that the director's cut (either of them) lacks.

    As far as the "Deckard is a replicant" position goes, my only comment is that if it is supposed to be the case, then Scott failed to deliver the evidence for it. One little piece of unicorn origami against everything else, it didn't scream "clue!" to me so much as "this guy has a weird origami fetish".

    1. I don't have a problem with narration per se, especially in a film noir. But I maintain that the narration for Blade Runner is horrendous. It spells out in detail things we don't need to be told. I mean, when Brandt says he has "four skinjobs walking the streets", did anyone watching not know he was making a disparaging remark about replicants?

      Scott certainly doesn't provide a definitive answer in the film. It's outside the film itself that he has gone on record with his intention. The unicorn origami is supposed to mean that Deckard's vision of the unicorn dream is actually one of Gaff's memories.

    2. It has been a while since I've seen it, but I'm not sure that the word 'replicant' was actually used before Brandt called them 'skinjobs'.

      "Already had an IQ test, don't think I've had one of these." I believe at no point during that scene did they ever actually tell you what the test was for, but it has been a while, as I say.

      However, let me rephrase my position. I am not saying that the director's cut you prefer is not a superior film. I am merely suggesting that:

      a) As a personal preference I actually liked the theatrical release better. Then again I'm a huge fan of Hudson Hawk; I am happy to concede that objectively it is an inferior movie.

      b) But it's not as bad as all that. Let us not forget that had the theatrical release sucked as hard as some people suggest, there would never have been enough interest in Blade Runner to justify releasing the director's cut at all.

    3. It isn't spoken onscreen, but it is used in the opening text crawl. Plus, the following dialogue establishes things well enough on its own. I don't think you can contest that the narration does, at least at times, explain things that don't need to be explained. The question is: Does that annoy you enough that it outweighs what the narration adds to the noir-ish feel of the film? For me, it does. (The fellow I quote positively below, Scott Ashlin, agrees with you that the narration adds to the noir-ish feel despite sometimes unnecessarily explaining things. I respectfully dissent.)

      The whole point of the Voight-Kampff test is that the person taking it isn't supposed to know what it's testing. Holden doesn't exactly lie about it, but he is evasive. And that's why Tyrell, when he first appears, immediately starts listing what it tests. The Tyrell corporation is trying to beat the test, and Tyrell uses Rachael to find out if he's been successful.

      I won't say the theatrical release was terrible, as it retains the film's essence. But it doesn't trust its audience to be able to figure stuff out or to handle an ambiguous ending, and for those reasons I don't like it.

    4. Yes, I cannot disagree with what you are saying. The narration could certainly have been cleverer, and less insulting (at times) to the intelligence of the viewer.

      I've always wondered what they told Leon the test was about. "Don't think I've ever had one of these before" suggests that he was given a name - possibly even told to report for a Voight-Kampff test (we must assume that this name is meaningless even to the smarter replicants such as Roy). Do they routinely test employees for certain jobs with one of these? (Something like random drug tests, perhaps?) It seems unlikely; the implication is that there are few skilled blade runners if only because replicants rarely make it to Earth. So you'd only haul in Holden or (especially) Deckard if you already had reason to suspect the target - which suggests that Holden had a death wish, he lacked any sort of caution (and remember, according to Deckard Holden was "good").

      But there's a more basic problem. When Deckard is first brought on board, we see him being shown pictures of the replicants he is contracted to retire. Now I will grant you that they still need to double check - plastic surgery could well be advanced enough to make it entirely possible that the replicants no longer look like their picture, and/or that non-replicants do - but you'd still be on your guard if the guy you were testing looked exactly like a military model replicant. The whole Holden scene bothered me as the only purpose for it seems to be in order to set up Rachel's test later - a completely different situation (at the time Deckard had no reason to believe Rachel was a replicant, and certainly no reason to believe there was any threat of violence). Holden's supposedly respected competence is essentially thrown under a bus to set up a future plot point; it seems this could have been handled better.

    5. Holden isn't prepared for how dangerously smart the Nexus 6 model is. Leon attacks him long before the test is over because he's at least figured out that he can't answer the question about his mother and that that's bad, even if he doesn't know the test's purpose. Being Leon, he shoots first and asks questions later. Holden figured that as long as he stayed cool, he'd determine whether Leon was a replicant and then be able to act before Leon had any idea he was even in danger. Holden was playing it the old way, which doesn't work with the Nexus 6.

      Still, your point about the photos is a good one. I think the mistake lies not in the Leon scene but in the fact that they have pictures of the replicants. Who needs the test when you have their mugshots? Of course, the movie would've been entirely different without the pictures, but it would've at least made the test a more integral part of the hunt for the replicants.

      I think the film can be forgiven for Holden's lack of caution as a way to show how much more dangerous the Nexus 6 is compared to what Deckard has faced before, but not when Holden has their mugshots!

    6. Interesting observation; the movie doesn't really dwell on that to my recollection, but you've seen it more recently than I have. Certainly I know the new Nexus models were the best (the whole reason for the 4 year lifespan), but I thought the implication was that they weren't THAT new. With any big technological leap, you expect the first few cabs off the rank to be broadly similar. For example, let's say that some clever engineers make a working 20 qbit quantum computer, and they've brought it to market. It will come in a standard case, probably in only 1 or 2 colours, and any new accessories that it can use will similarly be of broadly uniform appearance.

      The Nexus 6 replicants, however, are already specialised into different models ("standard pleasure model"; Zoe and Leon are both military models; I don't recall what Roy's model was stated as). That suggests that they're past the initial stages and, to continue our quantum computer analogy, are now being made with Alienware casings and being overclocked by talented amateurs.

      But in the end that's not strong evidence. The Nexus 6 are, evidently, at least the 6th generation of replicant technology and it wouldn't be unusual for them to offer, out of the gate, the same range of models that Nexus 5s had. Of course that implies that Nexus 5 military models existed as well, and as such I still think Holden was a bit cavalier.

    7. Well, to be fair, most of what I said there is my reading of the clues I believe the film gives us. It isn't directly stated. I'll explain why I think Holden's cavalier attitude (the perfect way to describe it, by the way) is defensible within the context of the movie. This isn't meant to convince you, necessarily, but more to give you an idea where I'm coming from:

      I got the impression that, even if they weren't brand-spanking-new, the Nexus 6s were at least new enough that the blade runners had little experience dealing with them. For example, when Bryant tells Deckard to test a Nexus 6, Deckard asks what he's supposed to do if the test doesn't work. The film cuts to Bryant looking concerned, and he doesn't answer. I take that to mean there's a real possibility the test won't work on Nexus 6s. If they'd been popping up on Earth for a while, shouldn't Bryant know whether or not the test works on them? In fact, that may be the very reason he has Deckard go test Rachael: Holden didn't get that experience, and he paid dearly for it.

      So I think what this implies is that Nexus 6s are a lot smarter than previous models, enough that at least some people are concerned they might avoid detection entirely. That, combined with their relative newness, meant that Holden walked into the test with Leon unprepared for what he would face.

      His whole demeanor radiates confidence, control, and efficiency. Holden is "good", and he's taken down plenty of replicants. Okay, so this model is an improvement over the others, but so was 5 over 4, and 4 over 3, and he handled them just fine. So he'll administer the test, catch the bad guy, and handle business. The idea that a replicant--a robot, basically--could figure out what was happening before he did and get the drop on him just didn't enter his mind. Nexus 6 is unlike anything he'd dealt with before. That's part of the reason Bryant made Deckard watch Holden get shot. He didn't want Deckard to make the same mistake.

      Of course, all of this ignores the photo thing you mentioned before, which as I said, is completely indefensible. I just sort of go, "Yeah, that's dumb, but I can get over it", just as you can get over the way the narration in the theatrical release tells us stuff we can perfectly well figure out on our own. And no, I can't explain why in one case I can get over it and in another I can't.

    8. Well, there is an out. We only know for sure that Deckard was shown the mug shots - Holden may not have been. It is possible to save it this way:
      - Original report is that 6/5/4 (whichever you think is most defensible and I'm not getting into the Deckard/replicant) Nexus 6 replicants have arrived on Earth. The investigators immediately try to salvage the ship's black box (or equivalent) but Nexus 6 replicants are very dangerous; Holden is instructed to proceed without waiting for the report.
      - As you Holden has handled Nexus 5s, 4s, and so on; he knows the 6s are better, but so what, he's Holden, he's a blade runner. He works out where the replicants may have gone to ground (using his extensive training and experience); perhaps where Leon works is the first place he tries, perhaps there is a false start or two. But he ends up interviewing Leon, and because of his overconfidence and inexperience with how smart the 6s are, he ends up getting "retired".
      - So the "good guys" have lost their best (or at least one of their best) active blade runners. They don't want to take any more chances; if Holden can't handle it, they need someone better than Holden. They need to bring Deckard out of retirement. And they aren't going in blind anymore; they've managed to recover photographs of 4 of the replicants, and they're certain that these 4 are definitely skin jobs because one of them killed Holden and the other three are known associates. We don't know who the other 2 are, and the movie doesn't seem to care, so we'll just ignore that with whatever your favourite explanation is (though let me suggest another possible explanation is "we don't know who the other two are; our tech guys are still working on it - take care of these 4 first").

      Of course this extrapolation is never hinted at in the movie, but for all that it's not beyond the pale. All of the ship investigation and recovery of the intel is not done by our protagonist and it is only a background part of the story; we don't need every detail spelled out.

      Just to go back to your observation that they weren't sure if the test would work - are you suggesting that it might take 100 or more questions to identify (say) Roy, Leon, and so on? I got the impression that Rachel was an exceptional case, even for a Nexus 6, and that the reason for the test was not because she was a Nexus 6 but rather because she was an experiment in the replicant being unaware of its true nature, and also in memory implants (which is one of those annoying sci-fi conceits where they casually introduce a technology with massive far reaching implications; with all the impressive traits of the replicants, I am personally more impressed with the evident ability to completely record memories, possibly of a dead individual and certainly a dying one, in such a way that these memories can be almost flawlessly transferred to an artificial substrate).

    9. I think you're giving me too much credit here. As you noted, none of that is hinted at in the movie. It's not contradicted, either, but when I defended Holden's laxness but for the photos, I tried to make my case--successful or not--using only what is suggested in the film. I could construct a plausible scenario of what could've happened that the movie doesn't outright contradict (as you've just done, probably better than I would have), but I don't think that's a fair response to your problem with the scene. I don't think Holden's attitude in the face of the photo evidence can be defended based only on what's at least implied in the movie, and that's why I conceded it. I can see why it would bother you, and I can't really defend it except to say it was a conceit I gave the movie because the Holden scene, though weakened by it, is still effective in doing what it sets out to do. That's why I compared it to how you saw my point about the narration but still preferred having it, and I think you're justified in being annoyed that the movie throws Holden under a bus just to up the stakes for Deckard, even as I say I didn't especially mind.

      I agree with everything you say about Rachael and her test from the perspective of the Tyrell Corporation. I was talking about the cops' perspective. They didn't know she was an experiment of that sort. Tyrell introduces her as human rather than the Nexus 6 Deckard is supposed to test, and Deckard expresses surprise when he realizes she doesn't know she's a replicant and that that's because she has memories. It's possible that Bryant was in on it--sending Deckard over to test "a Nexus 6" when he's really in cahoots with Tyrell to see if Deckard can finger Rachael despite the memory implants--but considering Deckard's reaction when Tyrell first appears listing off the things that the Voight-Kampff test measures, I got the feeling the police and the Tyrell Corporation are rivals: one trying to detect, the other trying to evade detection.

      I think Deckard's line about the test not working and Bryant's reaction just reflect their uncertainty of how to deal with the newest model (especially considering what happened to Holden). What if their tried-and-true, familiar tools don't work?

    10. Just to be clear, it doesn't bother me particularly - very few movies lack plot holes of some kind, and I'd rather movies were courageous enough to tell compelling stories rather than worry about nitpickers like me. :)

  2. So, fans knew that the “missing replicant” was a continuity error, but they still spend 25 years discussing its significance? My god, that really is something a bunch of “gibbering baboons” would do. So, well done Ridley Scott for kicking that particular piece of nonsense firmly in the head.

    1. No, Anonymous, they didn't. The "missing replicant" was used for years by the "Deckard is a replicant" people; Deckard was supposed to be the missing replicant. It only came out that it was just a budget limitation because people were debating what significance it had, if any.

    2. It really took fans 25 years of intense debate to work out that it was a continuity error? That's dumb. As is the idea that Deckard is the missing replicant. Surely Deckard would have known he was the missing Nexus Six? Surely the other replicants would have recognised him? Deckard clearly is a replicant, but the argument that he was the “missing replicant” makes no sense whatsoever. And to think, it took a quarter of a century for “Blade Runner” fans to work that out. Amazing. No wonder Ridley Scott thinks they're all “gibbering baboons”.

    3. Are you really this dense? Is this some sort of weak troll of my blog?

    4. Is this the level of debate on your blog, insults, evasion and accusations of being a troll? If you're not prepared to defend your views, why don't you just remove the comment box? Or better still, set it up so all comments have to be approved by your good self, before appearing on your blog. That way you can ignore anything you don't agree with and continue to live happy and alone in this hermetically sealed world of yours.

    5. I'm sorry you're all butthurt that I called you a troll, but frankly, I hope you are, since otherwise you're titanically stupid and incapable of understanding written English above the level of Dick and Jane. And if that hurts your feelings, you have my permission to go fuck yourself.

      Most of what you've written in your comments--including this one--bears no relationship to reality. If you read GAZZA's comments above, you'll see that he disagrees with me on at least two points and his comments are still there, and I responded by defending my views, which you claim I don't do. I even defend my views in my other reply to you. Do you have different personalities reading the two threads or something?

      I didn't respond to this particular comment because it isn't worth a response. Now are you going to respond to things I've actually said and stop making shit up, or are you going to continue to live in your own universe where I don't do things that I've already done on the very comment page you're posting on?

    6. There are two “ts” in “Butt hurt”. You don't defend your views. The views you express aren't yours. Everything you say about “Blade Runner” is cobbled together from things other people have said. You appear incapable of expressing an original opinion, and when challenged you either regurgitate even more received wisdom, or you get abusive. You've even starting to quote me, hence your reference to me “living in my own universe.” Evidently, if we continue this exchange much longer, every opinion I have on "Blade Runner" will eventually become yours, not because you've rationally picked over and analysed my arguments, but simply because you're that impressionable. You don't exist. You are just a collection of random data points, lazily accrued from the internet and your local pub.

    7. So I was right that you can't read, since my "butthurt" in fact has 2 ts.

      Everything you say is just a declaration. You say I don't defend my views, even though I have. You declare Deckard is a replicant, without offering any reason beyond "it's obvious". You declare that I'm obsessed with is-he-or-isn't-he, even though you've talked way more about it than I have.

      Throughout our entire exchange, you've declared you're right. You haven't offered any reason for why you're right; you just declare it, and in your mind, that's all you have to do.

      The rest of what you've said is just gibberish, part of your disconnect from the reality that the rest of us share.

    8. Your post only reads “butthurt” now because you've gone back and put in the missing “t”. But don't worry. It'll be our little secret.

      As for your laughable assertion that you defend your views, well, that's clearly not the case, because what you're actually doing is mindlessly defending someone else's. You may believe they are your views, but you didn't form them yourself, you're just parroting something you read, and half digested, on the internet.

      However, when I point this out, you throw a tantrum, become abusive and obfuscate. Talking to you is like having an argument with a record player with its needle stuck. No matter what anyone says to it, it'll still play the same damn track over and over again, because it doesn't know any better.

    9. My initial replies to you were perfectly civil. I thought you were genuinely mistaken. Perhaps I'd been unclear, so I took the opportunity to clarify. Once I realized you weren't interested in a serious discussion, I asked if you were either a troll or dense, and that sent you into Internet rage.

      And that's fine. No one says you have to have a serious discussion. You can post whatever ignorance you want, or not, as you please. I'm only disappointed in myself that I didn't peg you immediately as someone with an axe to grind. You have your little script for your highly original and unique and as-yet-unheard perspective on the film, and your attempts to get me back on script have become increasingly desperate. (I love the "QED" in your comment below. You might as well have said, "Oh, and I'm a pretentious pseudointellectual douchebag.")

      I should've spotted you right away, pointed, laughed, and moved on. I've been a bit slow, but this is me pointing, and laughing, and moving on.

    10. Oh and Blogger comments can't be edited, so I couldn't have gone back and changed it. So yeah, you're an idiot.

    11. “You said, “My initial replies to you were perfectly civil. I thought you were genuinely mistaken. Perhaps I'd been unclear, so I took the opportunity to clarify. Once I realized you weren't interested in serious discussion, I asked if you were either a troll or dense, and that sent you into internet rage.”

      What a total liar. Your second post to me said, “Are you really this dense? Is this some sort of weak troll on my blog?” and this was in response to my perfectly valid observation that it seemed extraordinary that fans of the show would spend 25 years arguing over what was evidently a continuity error. I am still quite prepared to have a serious discussion with you about “Blade Runner,” unfortunately, you appear to be finding every possible excuse not to engage in one with me, which makes me suspect that you are probably incapable of rational, analytical debate.

      You say: “Oh and Blogger comments can't be edited, so I couldn't have gone back and changed it.”

      However, these are the words of a proven liar, so I think it would be unwise to believe them.

    12. Okay, prove me a liar. Go to any of the comments you've posted as of the timestamp on this comment here and add anywhere in that comment the words "THIS IS THE EDIT I JUST ADDED TO PROVE CARL EUSEBIUS IS A LIAR." I won't hold my breath, since Blogger doesn't allow anyone to edit comments.

      That was my third post, not second. Counting! Check the timestamps on the comments. Oh, wait, I'm sure I changed those, too, even though that's also impossible. (Oh but I'm lying about its being impossible, too! Funny how no matter what I say, you always end up right!)

    13. To prove my point I have just altered the above post and added the words "THIS IS THE EDIT I JUST ADDED TO PROVE CARL EUSEBIUS IS A LIAR." Undoubtedly, you'll now come back and say you wrote it.

  3. Here are some “Blade Runner" questions you could have asked yourself:-

    Way does the aerial view of Los Angeles, circa November 2019, resemble the electron microscope image of a snake scale?

    Why do the stars in the heavens fly upwards and away from Roy Batty after he murders Tyrell?

    Why does Gaff leave a matchstick man with an erection at Leon's apartment?

    But instead you ask, “Is Deckard a Replicant?”

    He is. Now, get over it and move on.

    1. Anonymous, you've entirely missed the point of everything I said in this post and in my review of Blade Runner. Despite your list of unanswered questions here--which frankly are pretty weak; the Deckard-is-a-replicant case has stronger stuff than that, like the unicorn dream--the film as is doesn't make a definitive case. That's why people can still argue about it, even Ford and Scott, the two men arguably most influential in creating the evidence in the first place.

      No, the reason I said Deckard is not a replicant is not that I believe my case is stronger than yours. (It isn't.) The reason is that it's fucking stupid if Deckard is a replicant himself, since that fact destroys the very aspect that makes the movie so powerful. I can do no better than to quote Scott Ashlin here:

      "Simply put, it weakens the film tremendously if Deckard isn’t human. For one thing, it makes mincemeat of Blade Runner’s thematic thrust by removing the central irony that Deckard, the natural-born man, is infinitely colder and deader inside than even Leon, the most brutal and debased of the Replicants. It also undercuts the intensely moving scene on the roof of the Bradbury between the beaten Deckard and the dying Roy."

    2. You misunderstand. The questions I pose have nothing to do with whether Deckard is a replicant, or not? Indeed,the answer to that question is so mind numbingly obvious the question doesn't even need asking.

      And yet, fans and reviewers alike keep asking that same stupid reductive question, while acting as if provides some major insight into the film. As for Scott Ashlin, he has constructed an argument of made up facts that has no relation to the film at all.

      For a start he says, Leon is “brutal and debased,” but where is the evidence for that? He shoots Holden, but Holden is a blade runner, who would quite happily have “retired” Leon if he was found to be a replicant. It's true that Leon later beats the crap out of Deckard, but Deckard had just brutally gunned down his friend Zhora.

      As for the scene on the roof of the Bradbury, it's no less intense if you know they are both replicants, in fact, on second viewing the intensity is increased, because Deckard is now seen as a dupe, who just thinks he's human. But please, don't bother listening to me. Just keep asking the same tired old question “is Deckard a Replicant?” because clearly, for you, and millions of others, that's all the film equates to.

    3. Considering how much I've written so far and how much of it dealt with the is-he-or-isn't-he question, that you can say that question is clearly all the film equates to for me is asinine.

      You can keep declaring that the film makes it obvious you're right, but it doesn't, which is why even the people who made it disagree.

      What about Leon's murder of Chew and the men who worked with him? Why did Chew need to be killed?

    4. But everything you say about “Blade Runner” can be boild down to the “is-he-or-isn't-he question.” Here's an example from your review:-

      “Hints are dropped throughout the film that Deckard is himself a replicant, but the film as it is does not offer a definitive answer.(Decades later, Scott says yes, Ford no. Of course Ford is right. Don't get me started on why, though. That's another whole post.)


      “if you are such a person and you have anything that can be mistaken for a human soul, stop what you're doing right now and go watch Blade Runner. If you've ever wondered what it means to be human. If you've ever felt threatened by technology. If you've ever worried about being rendered obsolete. If you've ever questioned your emotional response. If you've ever felt alone with the world against you. If you've ever felt like an outcast. If you've ever wondered if humanity is worth saving.”


      “If you call yourself a human being--with all the good and the bad that entails--you need to see this film.”


      What I love about Blade Runner is that it doesn't answer these questions, at least before Ridley Scott decided to make sure everyone knows he doesn't understand why his own film is great. (See also Lucas, George.)

      Can't you see how all the above is simply about your reduction of a great film into an “is-he-or-isn't-he” scenario? The reason these questions you pose are never addressed by the film, is because the questions aren't posed by the film in the first place. You have set up a false dichotomy. Actually, no, that's wrong. You haven't set it up, someone else has set it up, and you're just copying it.

      As for Harrison Ford, well, it's true that Ridley Scott told him Deckard was human, but that's an old director's trick. Undoubtedly, Scott was concerned that if he'd told Ford he was a replicant, he would have telegraphed it to the audience through his performance. But see, we're still talking about the bloody “is-he-or-isn't-he” question!!!

      Also, you're clearly not familiar with the film at all. You ask me why Leon killed Chew and the men he worked with. When did we see that? Chew is killed, but we don't see Leon do it, and it's Roy who's in command. And yet, in your mind, Leon is totally responsible, because Scott Ashlin says so.

      Indeed, you also appear to believe that Leon is responsible for the murders of J. F. Sebastian and Tyrell, even though Leon was dead by the time these killing took place, and we see Roy kill Tyrell with his own bare hands.

      Are you perhaps confusing Leon with the character out of the Luc Besson film “Leon”? Because we certainly aren't talking about the Leon from Blade Runner.

      As for your question, “Why did Chew need to be killed?” I'm going to respectfully turn it around and ask you the same question, why do you think Chew was kill? Here's a clue. It has nothing to do with whether, or not, Deckard is a replicant.

    5. No, I can't see that, because it isn't. Are you seriously suggesting that one of Blade Runner's main themes is not what it means to be human? The film practically tells us that when Tyrell says, "More human than human. That's our motto." And not only am I not taking my ideas from Ashlin (I saw the film before his site even existed), he doesn't reduce everything to that question, either. So far, only you're doing that.

      Point out anywhere I even vaguely suggested that Leon is an any way responsible for anything that took place after his own death. This is why I think you're a troll, and a not very good one at that. I mean, your reading comprehension can't be that bad, so you must be blatantly making shit up. Right? Please?

      You don't see the men Chew worked with die. In fact, it's only implied that they're dead when Chew calls for their help (in Cantonese) on his radio, and no one answers. Chew's reaction makes it clear he thinks they've been killed or at least rendered unable to help him, since he gives up trying when they don't answer immediately.

      You're right, Chew's being killed has nothing to do with Deckard being a replicant. Again, you're the only one suggesting that.

    6. I know you can't see that, and that's the problem. The main themes of the film are not “what it means to be human?” How can it be? The question itself is entirely meaningless.

      I'm also not saying your reductive ““is-he-or-isn't-he” question was taken from Ashlin. I'm saying you're both picking up on a worn out discourse that's been around for years and makes no bloody sense at all.

      You say, “Point out anywhere I even vaguely suggested that Leon is an any way responsible for anything that took place after his own death.”

      And in answer here's a quote from your previous post, “What about Leon's murder of Chew and the men who worked with him?”

      So, there's you go. Chew was along in his laboratory, so unless you are under a powerful delusion that Chew was surrounded by loads of work mates, you must be referring to J.F. Sebastian and Tyrell when you say, “and the men who worked with him?” See, there's nothing wrong with my reading comprehension, however, you don't appear to be able to read or comprehend your own posts.

      However,you're now saying, “You don't see the men Chew worked with die. In fact, it's only implied that they're dead when Chew calls for their help (in Cantonese) on his radio, and no one answers.”

      Chew calls for help into some device on his coat, but there is no evidence they linked him to work mates. He might have been talking to security, he might have been talking to his mother. For all you know, it might not have been a communications device at all, but instead an attempt by Chew to bluff Roy and Leon. Also, there's no evidence that, if this was a communicator, that the person(s) at the other end of this alleged communications device were dead.

      Perhaps the communicator had stopped working? Maybe the big tug on his pipes had disconnected it? Even if we follow your leap of logic and say there were fellow workers on the other end of that line, who are now dead, it still doesn't mean that Leon was the one who killed them, and even if Leon was the culprit, this still doesn't mean that Deckard is “colder and deader” then Leon. Indeed, the complete opposite would be true, as Deckard wasn't a mass murderer, but rather a replicant under instructions from the authorities to hunt down a group of killer robots.

      Finally you say:

      “You're right, Chew's being killed has nothing to do with Deckard being a replicant. Again, you're the only one suggesting that.”

      No I'm not. In your previous post you quote Scott Ashlin who asserts that to reveal Deckard to be a replicant “makes mincemeat of Blade Runner’s thematic thrust by removing the central irony that Deckard, the natural-born man, is infinitely colder and deader inside than even Leon, the most brutal and debased of the Replicants.”

      Therefore, for Ashlin's contention to work, Leon has to act throughout the film in a “debased” and “brutal” way, and be far more excessive in his brutal actions that any other individual replicant, except Deckard. Your assertion that Leon killed Chew is clearly made in support of Ashlin's argument. However, there is no evidence that Leon has killed anyone except Holden, and that was in self defence. Leon is certainly complicit in the murder of Chew, but that doesn't make him more “debased” and “brutal” than Batty. It's perfectly possible, even, that Chew was murdered by Batty.

      The fact I've had to spell all this out, suggests to me that not only are you irrationally obsessed with the idea that Deckard is human, but also that you are incapable of following your own arguments.

    7. Okay Anonymous, if you can say with a straight face that the question "What does it mean to be human?" is meaningless, you're truly dead inside, and I pity you.

      I specifically said you don't see the deaths of the people I was talking about, so how could I possibly have meant Tyrell's death, when you clearly do see it on screen? I couldn't have, so as I said, you're either a troll or the biggest idiot I've ever encountered, and we already know you can't read. I said that Chew calls for help from his bodyguards/security people, and they don't respond. I'm sorry that since you don't understand Cantonese you can't follow this point, but there it is.

      Why would Chew assume that the replicants understand Cantonese? He doesn't speak to them in Cantonese, but only in English. So if he was bluffing them, why didn't he say it in English?

      I know why you have such a problem with what I've said about Blade Runner. You're a child who can't stand ambiguity. I only mentioned is-he-or-isn't-he a replicant as an example of the film's ambiguity, yet you switch it around, claiming everything I said about ambiguity actually refers to that particular question. I praised the film's ambiguous refusal to answer the questions it raises, and you claim it doesn't ask those questions, because you can't handle a film that raises questions it doesn't answer. That's why you have to say "it's obvious" Deckard is a replicant. You can't handle a mature film that doesn't give you a definitive answer. For your whole life, you've been handed answers. When someone introduces a bit of uncertainty, you respond, well, like the silly bitch you are.

      I won't even bring up the Nuremburg defense. Leon isn't just "complicit". He doesn't just stand there while Batty kills Chew. Leon kills Chew. So I maintain: The replicants have passion and a desire for life, while the humans we see are dead inside. I await your showing me that I'm misguided here, rather than simply asserting I'm wrong and misrepresenting what I've said. I think I'll be waiting a long time.......

    8. By you're own argument if I'm “dead inside” because I cannot answer the question "What does it mean to be human?" then the people who made “Blade Runner” must also be “dead inside”, because as you state in your above review the question remains unanswered by the film. Equally, the fact that you believe the question of "What does it mean to be human?" needs be be raised at all, would suggest that you are also “dead inside” because you don't know the answer. QED: You're an idiot.

      You said, “I specifically said you don't see the deaths of the people I was talking about, so how could I possibly have meant Tyrell's death, when you clearly do see it on screen?”

      Probably because that isn't what you said. What you do say, if you bother to exam your own post, is “What about Leon's murder of Chew and the men who worked with him? Why did Chew need to be killed? “

      See, it's completely different to what you're now trying to say.

      You say, “you're either a troll or the biggest idiot I've ever encountered”

      I'm sure you've met bigger idiots then me. Indeed, it's clear from your posts that they have been a massive influence on you.

      I don't speak Cantonese, and I'm sure that's true of most of the “Blade Runner” audience, however, in spite of that, the impression given by Chew, through his actions, is that he's calling for help. If the audience can pick up on that, then it's also certain the replicants did as well, whether they can speak Cantonese, or not.

      However, even if Chow is calling for a security team, it still doesn't make your assertion that Leon has killed them all any the more ludicrous.

      On a side point, I doubt very much you can speak Cantonese, however, I'm willing to give you the benefit of the doubt if, in your next post, you can provide a complete translation of everything Chow says.

      As for your question, “Why would Chew assume that the replicants understand Cantonese? If he was bluffing them, why didn't he say it in English?” there are three possible answers. A) that to speak in English would telegraph to the replicants that he was bluffing. B) that his security team/bodyguards/co-workers are also Cantonese, or C) he's trying to pretend that he can't speak English, so any attempt to get information out of him will be a none starter. Equally, it could be any combination of the above.

      There you go, that's an example of ambiguity for you that doesn't involve asking your moronic question about Deckard, which in every post now you've raised. It's a shame that it obsesses you so much, as it's clearly distorting your appreciation of a classic film.

      Finally, you state: “Leon kills Chew.” But the film provides no evidence that he did. I think you should go back and watch it again, because your memory of it appears pretty flaky. See, my answer to you didn't take that long, did it.....

    9. I didn't say you're dead inside if you can't answer the question. I said you're dead inside if you think the question is meaningless, because that's what you said: "The question itself is entirely meaningless." Comprehension!

      If what you say--that it's clear he's calling for help even though the replicants can't understand him--why don't they react at all? They don't even look at the door to see if someone might be coming. What you're arguing here actually supports my contention that the film implies the replicants have already eliminated anyone who might help Chew. They don't react because they know no one is coming.

      So now you're contesting that Chew dies in the scene? Earlier you accepted that he is killed. Leon is the one who removes Chew's protective clothing so that he will freeze to death. How is that not killing him?

      Hahaha all of your bluffing scenarios are stupid. Particularly the one about if the other people (who don't exist) speak Cantonese, and so somehow speaking to these (nonexistent) people in a language the replicants don't understand bluffs them.

    10. If the question is unanswerable, then the question is meaningless.

      “If what you say--that it's clear he's calling for help even though the replicants can't understand him--why don't they react at all? They don't even look at the door to see if someone might be coming.”

      That's a sensible question. If you watch the scene again, as I have just done, you'll see that Chew talks into his device, but gets no reply. Chew then shakes the device, gets a burst of static, does a double take, and finally casts a suspicious look at Roy and Leon. So, clearly, Chew was calling for help, and the fact that all he hears in reply is static, means that Leon and Roy have ensured that help is not coming. However, your contention that it means Leon has massacred Chew's bodyguards/workmates, has no evidence to support it. Indeed, the most likely scenario, is that Leon and Roy have somehow cut off Chew's communicator.

      You're right when you say Chew most likely froze to death, as this could be taken as an accident by investigators, whereas, if Chew was found with his skull smashed in, it would obviously be murder. However, if you're correct, and the replicants are covering their tracks, then it is very unlikely that Leon massacred a security team as a way of getting to Chew.

      As for who killed Chew, Leon removes Chew's coat but both Roy (who is leader) and Leon are equaly quilty.

      You say:- Hahaha all of your bluffing scenarios are stupid. Particularly the one about if the other people (who don't exist) speak Cantonese, and so somehow speaking to these (nonexistent) people in a language the replicants don't understand bluffs them.”

      I have no idea what this sentence is supposed to mean. Can you please translate.

  4. Technically, "butthurt" has three t's. I want there to be a solid foundation for this argument.

  5. I agree with you except for ford. To me he's always been a bad actor. Never owns the part. He's like it reads this so I'll do it. No movie to me is worth 7 remakes. Can't believessome of the chatter with above maybe he's the director in cognito. Butthurt does not have 3 t's.

    1. Then maybe Ridley Scott employed Ford because he knew he's get an unengaged performance from him. After all, Scott believed Deckard was a Replicant. If "Anonymous" is the director in cognito, then he sure as hell kicked Carl Eusebius' ass all round this comments page, although I think Scott's time would have been better spent working on the plot for Prometheus. And Butthurt does have 3 t's.