“Cells, cells interlinked.” Thus begins the rapidfire “baseline response test” undergone by every blade runner after returning from days spent “retiring” artificial replicants. An inversion of a quote from Nabokov’s Pale Fire , the statement itself feels like a pretty succinct approximation of the 35-year-old Blade Runner franchise’s spirit, with questions of the man within the machine still more persistent than ever. It’s 2049 in the long-awaited sequel, but the landscape hasn’t changed much since 2019, when retired LAPD officer Rick Deckard (played by Harrison Ford) first stepped out into the gritty streets of Los Angeles in search of rogue replicants loose throughout the city. Even as the rule of the land has shifted to favor the newly-formed Wallace Corporation instead of the first film’s Tyrell Corporation, Blade Runner 2049 brings us back to the same enrapturing universe. Neck-deep in a visual signifiers of a culture anxious about its own fleeting elitism, Los Angeles continues to look straight out of mid-80s Tokyo as Officer KD6.3-7 (Ryan Gosling), or K for short, slowly unravels the mysteries behind a new form of reproductive artificial intelligence. After stumbling onto the buried bones of a replicant who, according to an LAPD autopsy, mysteriously […]

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