'Blade Runner 2049' - Movie Review

35 years after the original movie, Denis Villeneuve directed this sequel (which is set 30 years later in the movies' internal timeline). Ryan Gosling is KD6-3.7, a new model replicant who is also a blade runner - although a "Nexus 9" model, stronger and more compliant than the older models. Near the beginning of the film he "retires" (just like the last movie, that's their euphemism for "kills") Sapper Morton (Dave Bautista), a Nexus 8 replicant who was in hiding. "K" discovers a buried box near Sapper's home which contains a skeleton. The skeleton shows the marks of an emergency caesarean section ... but is also a replicant. This is the big driver of the story as replicants can't reproduce and this could cause another replicant uprising.

Other players include: "Joi" (Ana de Armas), a hologram AI who is K's companion. Niander Wallace (Jared Leto) who has bought up the Tyrell corporation and is now the replicant manufacturer (and makes Tyrell look like a kindly old man). Luv (Sylvia Hoeks) is Wallace's enforcer replicant. And Lt. Joshi (Robin Wright) is K's boss at the police.

When not being deliberately grubby and polluted, the cinematography is astonishing with an aesthetic that beautifully recalls the original. The movie spends most of its over-long 2h43m run-time making you think about replicants and their servitude: in case you weren't getting it, early on Niander Wallace goes on a heavy-handed rant about the utility of slavery - and kills a brand new replicant because he feels like it. He's made out to be a truly horrible person, and you're forced to think about what it says about a society that's willing to accept intelligent beings as indentured slaves. But in the end, a whole bunch of people (well, you know, mostly worthless replicants) suffer and die so two people can meet - and not a damn thing is done about the whole slavery thing. So, as pretty and well acted as it was, I found it deeply unsatisfying.