Certificate: 15

Running Time: 163 mins

Star Rating: 4/5

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THE imperfect, rain-lashed future of the original Blade Runner is almost upon us. Released in 1982, Ridley Scott's ground-breaking fantasy conjured a breathtaking vision of a dystopian Los Angeles in 2019, festooned with alluring holograms that flicker to the mournful strains of Vangelis' electronic score. The eagerly awaited sequel, directed by Denis Villeneuve, honours the past and respectfully expands the nihilistic universe imagined by Philip K Dick. Motifs from the earlier mission reverberate tantalisingly throughout, deftly stitching together two timelines without completely excluding audiences who are blissfully ignorant of the original picture. The laconic hero is officer KD6-3.7 (Ryan Gosling), one of a new breed of grizzled blade runners, who "retire" genetically engineered replicants. In the course of his work, K uncovers a shocking secret and the subsequent quest for painful answers leads K to Deckard (Harrison Ford), who is reluctant to venture back into the automated world that almost destroyed him.

Blade Runner 2049 is a beautifully crafted thriller that sustains a pedestrian pace, allowing us to second-guess K. Ford eases back gruffly into a familiar role, noticeably with less spring in his step, while composers Benjamin Wallfisch and Hans Zimmer crank up the volume on their bombastic score. Villeneuve's muscular, brooding film does not fade quietly.