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Blade Runner: The Final Cut (TheaterByte 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Review)

Blade Runner: The Final Cut 4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + Digital Cover ArtTwenty five years after its original theatrical release, Blade Runner: The Final Cut was re-released and it reflected director Ridley Scott’s ultimate thoughts about his futuristic neo-noir masterpiece that added a complete version of the “unicorn dream,” and violence and alternate edits from the international cut. Based on sci-fi author Philip K. Dick’s 1968 novel, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, Hampton Fancher and David Peoples crafted a compelling adaptation that still resonates with audiences, thirty-five years later, and now receives a 4K UHD restoration.

2019 Los Angeles is a dystopian megatropolis drenched in acid rain. Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford) is a former “blade runner” who “retired,” i.e., executed, rogue replicants. These sophisticated androids are manufactured in Dr. Eldon Tyrell’s (Joe Turkel) huge corporation and endowed with superior strength, human-like intelligence but only a four-year life span. Although Deckard is no longer officially a policeman, officer Gaff (Edward James Olmos) takes him to his former boss Bryant (M. Emmet Walsh) who convinces him to retire four Nexus 6 model replicants that have illegally returned to Earth from Off World. The replicants in question are ammunition-loader Leon Kowalski (Brion James), combat-model Roy Batty (Rutger Hauer), trained killer Zhora Salome (Joanna Cassidy), and pleasure model Pris Stratton (Daryl Hannah). Since these creations appear to be human, the only way to reveal their true identity is by gauging their emotional responses to specially designed Voight-Kampff test questions.

Deckard visits the Tyrell Corporation and administers the V-K test to Tyrell’s attractive assistant Rachael (Sean Young). It takes Deckard a long time to expose her as a replicant, as Tyrell explains that Rachael is unaware that she is not human. Gaff and Deckard search Kowalski’s apartment and find snake scales in his bathtub that will eventually lead them to the replicants’ whereabouts, and kick-start the mission to eliminate them. This film ultimately raises fundamental questions about what makes us human and, as will be revealed by android genetic designer J.F. Sebastian (William Sanderson), the boundaries between humans and their artificial counterparts turn out to be quite narrow. As the relationship between Deckard and Rachael simmers, his knowledge that her lifespan is limited clouds their possible future together. Perhaps the symbolic unicorn leaves open the hope that anything is possible.

For sci-fi films, Blade Runner was exceptionally well cast, strongly directed, and used camera techniques that for the times were quite innovative and produced visually stunning imagery.

The Video

In spite of 4K and 6K scanning of the original 35 mm negatives, anyone expecting a stunning makeover of Blade Runner: The Final Cut will be disappointed as the grain of the original print makes its presence known from the get go. Some of the background scenes, particularly at the opening, now look clearly painted in. There are sequences like the rainy LA downtown and the Tyrell Corporate headquarters that appear more detailed but, for the most part, the improvement over the remastered Blu-ray version (also included) is subtle at best. Where I noted the most effective enhancement was in the facial close-ups that brought out details in pores or stubble.

The Audio

Sourced from a 70 mm 6-track original, the remastered Dolby Atmos soundtrack (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 default) is stunning and immersive. The Vangelis score has never sounded better and the intermittent overhead traffic, crowd scenes and combat noises are extremely well realized.

The Supplements

Disc 1 – Blade Runner: The Final Cut – 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray

  • 4K remastered trailer
  • Introduction and Commentary by Director Ridley Scott
  • Commentary by Executive Producer/Screenwriter Hampton Fancher, Screenwriter David    Peoples, Producer Michael Deeley and Production Executive Katherine Haber
  • Commentary by Visual Futurist Syd Mead, Production Designer Lawrence G. Paull, Art Director David Snyder and Special Photographic Effects Supervisors Douglas Trumbull, Richard Yuricich and David Dryer

Disc 2 – Blade Runner: The Final Cut Blu-ray

  • Introduction and Commentary by Director Ridley Scott
  • Commentary by Executive Producer/Screenwriter Hampton Fancher, Screenwriter David Peoples, Producer Michael Deeley and Production Executive Katherine Haber
  • Commentary by Visual Futurist Syd Mead, Production Designer Lawrence G. Paull, Art DirectorDavid Snyder and Special Photographic Effects Supervisors Douglas Trumbull, Richard Yuricich and David Dryer

Disc 3 – Blade Runner Bonus Disc 1 Blu-ray

  • U.S. Theatrical Cut (1982)
  • International Theatrical Cut (1982)
  • Director’s Cut (1992)

Disc 4 – Blade Runner Bonus Disc 2 DVD

  • Dangerous Days: Making Blade Runner –The Ultimate Documentary on the Making of the Film, Culled from Over 80 Interviews with Cast, Crew and Colleagues and Hours of Outtakes and On-Set Footage.

UltraViolet Digital Download

The Final Assessment

One of the all-time great sci-fi flicks, Blade Runner:The Final Cut gets its ultimate audio/video makeover. If not the last word in visuals by today’s standards, this 4K Ulra HD Blu-ray with HDR version is the best that I have yet to see and the soundtrack is simply sensational. A must-get reissue, this film has always been in my top ten list. Highest recommendation.

Own Blade Runner: The Final Cut on 4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + Digital from Warner Bros. September 5, 2017

[youtube httpss://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qoEyZoOTtss?ecver=2]

[amazon_auto_links id=”104261″]

4.4 / 5 TheaterByte Rating
{{ reviewsOverall }} / 5 User Rating (0 votes)
R (Violence, Brief Nudity)Rating Certificate
The Ladd Company | Shaw Brothers | Warner BrothersStudios & Distributors
Ridley ScottDirector
Hampton Fancher | David PeoplesWriter
117 Mins.Run Time
$42.95MSRP
5 Sep. 2017Release Date
2.40:1Aspect Ratio
HEVC (H.265) 2160p | AVC 1080p (Blu-ray)Video
HDR10HDR Format
4000 NitsMaximum Luminance
0.005 NitsMinimum Luminance
English Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 Compatible)Primary Audio
French/Spanish/Italian/German/Portuguese/Czech/Polish/Russian Dolby Digital 5.1Secondary Audio
English | Spanish | English SDH | French | German | Dutch | Chinese | Korean | Portuguese | Arabic | Czech | Danish | Finnish | Hebrew | Norwegian | Polish | Swedish | TurkishSubtitles
The Creative Content
The Video (Overall)
HDR Effect (If Applicable)
The Audio
The Supplements
Summary
A sci-fi classic film that receives a mostly marvelous Ultra HD makeover and arrives chockfull of terrific extras.
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