"They don’t advertise for killers in the newspaper. That was my profession. Ex-cop. Ex-blade runner. Ex-killer." That’s Harrison Ford, voice-overing in hardboiled noir style, in the studio version of Blade Runner, Ridley Scott’s seminal sci-fi thriller. You won’t hear the narration in Scott’s director’s cut version, but you can see the unicorn dream sequence, and so, let the debate rage on. Warner Bros.’ theatrical release version? Director Scott’s final cut release? Or how about a workprint version, first screened to test audiences three months before Blade Runner's June, 1982 release?
Well, Warner Home Video has just come out with its Blade Runner 30th Anniversary Blu-Ray extravaganza, in a 4-disc combo pack ($64.99) and 3-disc Blu-ray Book ($34.99) editions. Sure there have been anniversary and collector editions before (including the 2007 “Ultimate Collector’s Edition” – how do you think those ultimate collectors feel now?), but this one has more bells and whistles, Easter eggs, bonus content and production info than ever before -- not to mention the movie itself, in its “final cut” iteration and the 1992 director’s cut, the domestic and international studio versions and the aforementioned workprint.
Take a look at Looper, at Cloud Atlas, at this year’s Total Recall remake and the prison-riot-in-space B-movie, Lockout, and you can see that even 30 years after it was made, the influence of Blade Runner – its noirish vision of a dystopian future, its moody androids, its soul-searching ruminations on the nature of identity in a cold, corporate world – lives on.