Blade Runner: The Final Cut (Ridley Scott, 1982/2007)

I think I’ve now seen the definitive version of Blade Runner. The Final Cut, which I’ve stupidly had in my possession for almost a decade, is now firmly in the number one spot. For the first time, Scott is firmly in charge and has been able to create the vision he had over 30 years ago. In beautiful HD transfer (4K, 6K or 8K depending on the scene) and 5.1 surround sound, it provides the ultimate viewing experience even before you consider the content of the film is spot on.

There are, if you are unaware, five common versions of the film: Workprint (1982), Original Theatrical Cut (1982), International Cut (1982), Director’s Cut (1992) and Final Cut (2007). However, there are more detailed in an excellent article on Wikipedia. [1]

That there are so many versions clearly implies that the fans of the film are so enthusiastic that they keep coming back for more. Different people have their favourites but I’m on the Final Cut bandwagon.

The film is based in 2019 L.A. and centres around police officer Deckard, played by Harrison Ford, as he comes out of retirement to complete one final task as a “Blade Runner”. His job is to track down and kill four Tyrell Corporation Nexus-6 replicants (bioengineered humanoid robots) who have come to Earth illegally, possibly to extend their lives beyond their standard four year lifespan. As he tracks each down, he begins to question his own moral outlook and the nature of the replicants and his own humanity.

It's amazing what can be achieved when you eschew using digital effects.

It’s amazing what can be achieved when you eschew using digital effects.

Fans of sci-fi keep coming back to this film, and for good reason. Stylistically it was way ahead of its time and still looks stunning. It was a creation that predates CGI and the result is that there isn’t one set that doesn’t look like you could inhabit it. It’s a grim, dark look into a future which, at the time, seemed a long time away. Adjusted for inflation, the film cost just $70m, which is less than, for example, the entirely naff looking Dracula Untold.

A beautiful film with one of the greatest soundtracks of all time is all well and good, but it has to be driven by a gripping storyline. In my opinion, one of the enduring factors in the continued conversation is the many unanswered questions left after the original versions. The Final Cut does clear up at least one of the very critical questions. I imagine that advocates of previous versions would prefer to not have these questions answered but this is just the side of the fence I sit.

If you’ve not seen this film yet and have any inkling towards sci-fi of any kind, or indeed film noir, police dramas or classic cinema, then you need to put this right at the top of your “to watch” list. It simply needs to be seen and now that this definitive version is available there are no excuses.

I picked up this version of the film. It contains all five versions, heaps of bonus material, an artbook and a Syd Mead-designed collectible car model. There are other packages available but this, for me, is the ultimate package.

This 30th Anniversary Collector's Edition package is the ultimate version available in the UK.

This 30th Anniversary Collector’s Edition package is the ultimate version available in the UK.

[1] The three additional versions are San Diego Sneak Preview version, the US Broadcast version and a four-hour version shown to studio execs by Ridley Scott early in the film’s edit.

[2] This beautiful poster was designed by Jeremy Romand otherwise known as Caparzofpc.

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