Parents need to know that "Blade Runner 2049" is the highly anticipated sequel to the 1982 sci-fi classic "Blade Runner," set 30 years after the events of the original and again starring Harrison Ford (as well as Ryan Gosling). Violence is frequent and strong, with brutal fighting, guns and shooting, stabbing, crashes and explosions, and bloody wounds/blood spurts. Women (some human, some holograms/sculptures) are shown naked – mainly breasts and bottoms – and a man's pubic hair is shown. It's implied that the main character has sex with a prostitute, with his hologram girlfriend superimposed over her. Sex noises are heard in a red-light district, with vague sexual images glimpsed through frosted glass. Expect a few uses of "f--k"; characters also drink from time to time, but never to excess. The movie isn't without its flaws, and it certainly could have gone a bit deeper, but there's enough thoughtful, visually spellbinding stuff here to make it well worth seeing.
WHAT'S THE STORY?
In "Blade Runner 2049," a new breed of replicants has been created to serve without rebellion. K (Ryan Gosling) is one of them, working for the LAPD as a "blade runner." While on a routine hunt for one of the older, renegade breeds of replicant (Dave Bautista), K discovers clues – a box buried in the ground and a date carved at the base of a dead tree – that send him on a new mission. One of the clues is a carved wooden horse, which leads him to a woman (Carla Juri) who creates memories for replicants. From there, K tracks down former blade runner Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), who has gone into hiding. As K gets closer to the solution of his puzzle, powerful replicant maker Niander Wallace (Jared Leto) and his super-strong henchwoman (Sylvia Hoeks) attempt to bring him down.
IS IT ANY GOOD?
Coming 35 years after the iconic original, Denis Villeneuve's sequel is a little heavier on spellbinding visuals than emotions or profound themes, but it still provides worthy food for thought. Villeneuve's best films – "Enemy," "Sicario," "Arrival" – are masterful at placing characters in unfamiliar or alien spaces and drawing memorable ideas and feelings from that clash. While "Blade Runner 2049" doesn't quite reach that level, it still has many strong sequences that ponder themes of what it means to be alive – or even human.
Certainly movies like "A.I. Artificial Intelligence" and "Her" – not to mention the original "Blade Runner" – probed a little deeper, but this sequel has more than its share of amazing, provocative moments. The spaces and images frequently clash; the cityscape and giant holograms or sculptures that are created by humans feel so inhuman at the same time. Images of wood and water also contribute to more primal themes. Not to mention that it's great to see Ford again, and he finds new levels in his old character. The movie's extreme length wears a bit, as does a slight detour into sillier, more ordinary sci-fi storytelling. And Leto overacts in an unappealing way. But these flaws are few, and the overall trip is well worth taking.
RATING AND CONTENT
Recommended for ages 15 and older
Quality: 4 out of 5
Positive messages: 2 out of 5
Positive role models: 1 out of 5
Violence: 4 out of 5
Sex: 4 out of 5
Language: 4 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, and smoking: 1 out of 5
Consumerism: 2 out of 5 (Are products/advertisements embedded? Is the title part of a broader marketing initiative/empire? Is the intent to sell things to kids?)
In theaters: October 6, 2017
Director: Denis Villeneuve
Studio: Warner Bros.
Genre: Science Fiction
Run time: 164 minutes
MPAA rating: R
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