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HARRISON FORD & RUTGER HAUR STARS WARRING IN 'BLADE RUNNER'

Harrison Ford and Sean Young adorn the classic artwork YEAR: 1982
By now, pretty much everyone has learned the part of INDIANA JONES was originally intended for Tom Selleck, whose producers for his fame-making television series MAGNUM P.I. kept him from starring in the pulpy adventure, RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK...

And, fewer might know that, during auditions, Sean Young fit with Tom pretty well in the role of Marion, but when he was definitely, literally out of the picture, and writer/producer George Lucas's stock Harrison Ford stepped up to the plate (thank heavens), was Young dismissed along with Selleck for not gelling with Ford (since actors and actresses are usually hired based on their chemistry) and thus, replaced with a more earthy, less glamorous Karen Allen?

Harrison Ford
Well, that's a rather useless question because there's no answer, at least not here; but in Ridley Scott's Neo Noir BLADE RUNNER, made in-between Han Solo being frozen in carbonite and with RETURN OF THE JEDI and TEMPLE OF DOOM on deck, Ford has terrific, brooding, melancholy chemistry with Sean Young, who, as Rachel, is the only of several hunted Replicants... more human than human "robots" with equal if higher intelligence yet having a mere four-year life span... who doesn't know what she is, and yet it's the famous saxophone-mellow, passionate love scene that, following a terrific gust of eclectic action, slows down the pace, considerably.

Sean Young
Then again, BLADE RUNNER was never intended to be a walloping STAR WARS (and/or galloping INDIANA JONES), although the special effects is of equal stature; only the slow-cruising space-ships within the illustrious, stunning future don't make battle but rather, glide smoothly from location to location or, the immense ones ominously hover perpetual consumer capitalism above the unlucky, impoverished humans left on the dying planet, most of who, like other Philip K. Dick stories, have moved to a better place on Mars (or... somewhere else).

Film Noir Sci-Fi
Meanwhile, the template of BLADE RUNNER, like any Noir, along with the leading man falling desperately in love with an endangered ingénue, share both complicated and simplistic elements...

That is, at first, the characters are complex while their goal isn't too difficult to follow until the second half when, as tables inevitably turn, the people shrink into the arduous maze in which they're lost, and often doomed, within. In this case, Ford's special agent, Rick Deckard... after Morgan Paull's Holden gets blasted during an interview with a thug named Leon... takes over to find and kill, or rather, "retire" the Replicants who violently stole a vessel in order to literally meet their maker...

Kubrick stock Joe Turkel
Especially our main villain, a homoerotic, sinister yet ultimately sympathetic Roy Batty, played with Marlon Brando-esque pathos by his Dutch doppelganger, Rutger Hauer, dead set on finding the man who created him: That being this film's director's favorite director's stock actor, Joe Turkel... as Dr. Eldon Tyrell, the reclusive head of an immense corporation bearing his name... who, along with only Philip Stone in common (Stone turned up with Ford in the next Indiana Jones, and both Stone and Turkel appeared in THE SHINING), was in three Stanley Kubrick films. Ironically, each Turkel/Kubrick "collaboration" have BLADE RUNNER similarities: the ensemble Noir of THE KILLING combined with the doomed characters with a short amount of time to live in PATHS OF GLORY to the downright terrifying SHINING, which, in the first of three RUNNER versions, there's deleted exterior footage of... 

Hannah and Hauer
And this particular review is of the FINAL CUT since the original had Harrison Ford speaking monotone Gumshoe narration [which has, since this was originally written, much preferred given he saw no damn unicorn), the movie works allowing the viewer to figure things on their own while Deckard's thoughts remain to himself. Which doesn't mean there isn't plenty of intriguing exposition to keep us in the-know, mostly from M. Emmett Walsh as Bryant, sending Deckard on the mission throughout dark streets, alleyways and abandoned buildings, including sporadic appearances by fellow Blade Runner, Edward James Olmos, whose mysterious Gaff leaves origami figures wherever he's been, literally making the ending of either version...

But the true climax involves, after an athletic battle with Daryl Hannah's sexually-inclined replicant, Pris... initially holed up with a man working for Tyrell, getting Batty access in the first place... is the dark, rain-soaked fight between Batty and the much weaker and vulnerable Deckard, who, earlier on, stood less of a chance against Brion James' immense Leon, whose cold-blooded violence with Morgan Paull as the first investigator, Holden, pretty much began everything... 

Brion James as Leon tested by Morgan Paull's Holden
Leading to one of several problems: for a movie with a plot involving one man's agenda to hunt several humanoids, particular scenes are too rushed and/or meshed together...

For instance, while the "end" of Pris is quickly followed by Batty vs Deckard; Joanna Cassidy's snake-charming, exotic dancing Zhora and Leon are, in their own way, the most intriguing and powerful Replicants, while their fates are sealed too close to each other, leaving much... more... time for those overlong love scenes, and other tedious bouts of dialogue, while, mesmerizing in its own right, might have worked better if each extermination were more distanced to keep the viewer as equally entertained as they are visually entranced and mentally enthralled. But BLADE RUNNER, usually in the top ten of any Best Cult Film list, pays off in a unique, creative, amazing precision, from beginning to end, and is hard to take your hypnotized albeit somewhat weary eyes from the screen during its two-hour life span.

RIP Paull
RATING: ****
TRIVIA: According to our last email/correspondence with Morgan Paull, whom Cult Film Freak might have provided his very last interview with (although he could have done ten more, who knows), he was happy to be cast in the upcoming, and now more fleshed-out sequel, at that time to be directed, rather than produced, by Ridley Scott, currently working on his ALIEN prequel projects. But alas, Paull died of stomach cancer, the reason why our email, with an agenda to tempt him to check out Mystery Science Theater's version of MITCHELL, which he would have probably enjoyed immensely, or not, was never answered • This motion picture was based on Philip K. Dick's novel DO ANDROIDS DREAM OF ELECTRIC SHEEP? A terrific book title; but boy does BLADE RUNNER sound cooler • And Philip Stone, mentioned as being a three-time Kubrick actor along with Turkel, is best known as Malcolm McDowell's father in A CLOCKWORK ORANGE and the politely notorious Grady (who successfully killed his family, unlike Jack Nicholson) in THE SHINING.
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