This review is of the edited TV-14 version of the film. A review of the unedited version would be even more negative. All thoughts below should be addressed as such
It’s time for a sci-fi film that had potential but chose to go for oscar bait moments instead of quality. What should have been an action thriller with lots of epic fight scenes turns into a very melodramatic film with the pacing of a snail. Good luck trying to keep up with the film as you’ll just start to lose interest once the main character doesn’t appear for about 30 minutes. Even when he does appear it’s not as if he’s a good character anyway so then you just want him to go away.
The film starts with Rick humble bragging as he tries to eat some ramen. The cops catch him though and bring him back to the Blade Runner program. He is ordered to murder 3 remnants (androids) who have managed to make it to Earth. He tries to talk a good game about not doing it, but they threaten him so he quickly folds. He retired from this business because it was starting to be too much for him, but he doesn’t have a choice now. He finds one of the remnants pretty easily through his lie detector test and gradually goes looking for the others. The problem is that these remnants have plans of their own and they’re all a lot stronger than Rick. Can he handle them?
Honestly, the long paragraphs of plot details in the intro sounded like they would have made for a better film. I’d love to have actually seen an army of androids revolt and attack the humans. Many good films have been made about that kind of plot. Why do we need to see the aftermath where humans seem to have already won the war. Furthermore, why is our tech so bad when this is the future? It feels like we should be able to damage the androids a lot easier by this point to be honest. Part of the fault lies with Rick though since he has no reaction times and walks into every trap imaginable. If not for the villains taking pity on him or other characters saving him, he’d be dead by now.
As I mentioned earlier, one of the biggest problems with the film is how slowly the film moves. We get extremely long sequences with the villains where they just threaten people and you wonder what the main character is doing. Instead he has a very sketchy romance with Rachael that was pretty disgraceful. It definitely wouldn’t fly nowadays and it was definitely not going to make him a likable character. His only good trait is the internal monologue he is always having. That part was enjoyable at least since most films don’t do that anymore.
The writing is also pretty bad to be honest. The characters talk about random things that have no point. Rick uses very odd questions for the lie detector test which probably serve some kind of point in his mind, but the film should have made the questions better. Even the opening scene just makes you wonder how the humans have lived for so long as a remnant is interrogated in a small room where they let him keep his gun and the interrogator has no weapon. I mean, I could have told those guys that was probably a bad idea. They may not have known for sure that the guy was a remnant yet, but since the point of the interview is that they suspect him, they should have had some defenses ready.
The effects don’t look so good since the film is trying to look bad on purpose. It’s a film set in the future that wants to look like it’s in the past which is a pretty bad mix. Ghost in the Shell did a much better job with the overall design of the city while Terminator did a better job with the actual android designs. As a result, there’s nothing really going well for this film. Even the soundtrack is basically nonexistent.
Watch out as this film can be rather violent as well. It wasn’t too crazy although I did see the edited version, but enough to be worth noting. If you’re not a main character you better watch out as well since the villains effectively have free reign on the whole city. Rick isn’t protecting anything aside from himself so everyone else is on their own. It can be a little frustrating, but since I didn’t like any of the characters it wasn’t as bad as it could have been. It would be worse if his lack of skills caused good characters to die.
Roy is the main villain but his name is the only cool thing about him. He’s just another random villain who tries to have some justifications and moral dilemmas to show that he’s not all bad, but he’s just another villain at the end of the day. He can’t even fully commit to this as he saved Rick towards the end which didn’t make much sense if you ask me. He has his reasons, but it was only a good way for destroying whatever hype Rick might have had left. It was virtually at 0 already though. There’s not much to say about Rachael except that she has no will power and just lets everyone walk over her. So much for a tough personality.
Overall, The biggest problem this film has is that it feels pointless. The plot takes forever to progress. You could watch the opening 20 minutes as they explain Rick’s mission and then skip to the end. You’d basically have a coherent plot, minus one Remnant who was taken down near the middle. The bulk of the film has nothing to do with his mission as the film just lost sight of what was happening. It’s hardly the only problem of course as Rick was definitely terrible and the Rachael was bad as well for letting him have his way. I feel like the sequel should definitely be better, but I can’t say that I have a lot of hope in its chances. This is probably just one series that is beyond saving without some kind of remake.