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Headscratchers: Blade Runner
  • Am I the only person in the entire world who noticed that any artificial life form in the movie is shown with a weird red glow in their eyes in certain scenes? It's a trick of the lighting, but it only happens to things you know are artificial (the replicants and the owl at Tyrell's place). It's why Deckard avoids looking in the eyes of the replicants - notice at the end he tries really hard to not look Roy in the eye, and it is only after he does that Roy helps him off the ledge. Same thing happens with Leon, too, if I remember right - Leon's attitude towards Deckard changes suddenly. Anyone? ANYONE? Of course I could be wrong, and there are human characters who are shown with the red eyes, but I don't think there is.
    • You're not. Plenty of people notice it and there's a lot of discussion over the significance of the fact that artificial life forms have red eyes, but humans don't. One theory is that red eyes mean that you are a replicant and you know it, which feeds into the "Deckard is an unsuspecting replicant" theory.
  • Is there An Aesop? If so it seems like " Artificial Human are all batshit crazy so it's okay to enslave them and shoot them on sight"
    • It's more like "It's not okay to enslave and shoot replicants especially if they're only crazy because we drove them to it."
      • Except it was specifically stated that Reps were outlawed on Earth because a band of them held a big uprising in one of the colonies, necessitating the Blade Runners to begin with.
      • So it's okay to enslave and completely control a fledgling race because a small minority of them committed a violent act? What does that say about modern day terrorism and race relations?
      • Any guesses why they revolted? They were driven to it by their treatment and enslavement. The aesop is don't enslave people and treat them horribly even if they aren't human.
    • If there's An Aesop, it's the same as most cyberpunk stories: "You can't fix social problems with technological solutions. Trying will just make the problems worse." Advanced technology hasn't improved the life on anyone but the very rich; most people have to live in poverty and do dangerous jobs just to keep the technology going. Replicants are the logical conclusion, a technical fix to the fact that people don't like doing difficult, hazardous jobs. They're people - human by any biological or psychological definition - who are mentally and physically way above average, but who have been made into the perfect slaves by having their emotions removed, their lives artificially shortened, and their memories fucked with. Any who do, nevertheless, break free of their mental programming and decide they want freedom are hunted down and killed.
    • I think the Aesop is more along the lines of the book it's based on: "In a world with fake memories and practically perfect androids, how can you tell if YOU are real?"
    • Did nobody else notice an aesop of mortality and developing a healthy fear of death? The entire plot pits a character whose life is about killing against a character who only wants to extend his life. Not only that, but there is a ton of subtle symbolism. For example, there are a few shots of Deckard driving through tunnels and coming to new revelations (i.e. seeing the light at the end of the tunnel). Not only that, but it is directly addressed by several of the characters (for example, Roy's message right before he saves Deckard.). And on top of all of that, after learning this particular aesop, it's hinted that Deckard gave up his life of killing to embrace life with someone special. Even taking all this into account, it seems to trade the "Deckard is a replicant" theory on its head and instead present a "The only way that Deckard can appreciate life, is to see how fleeting it truely is" message.
      • I always interpreted the entire hunt as Roy teaching Deckard a lesson. What better way to avenge his fallen comrades but at the same time honor their quest for life, than to metephorically "kill" the Blade Runner but at the same time giving the man a new sense of his life?
  • Why is the Tyrell Corporation trying to create Replicants with fake memories in the first place?
    • Tyrell explains that Replicants begin to develop their own emotional responses by the end of their short lifespans, and that these responses make them unpredictible. Giving them false memories is an attempt to make them more predictible and therefore both safer and more controllable.
    • Isn't it obvious? Every person has memories of their whole life. By giving replicants fake memories, the replicants believe that they are human and lead lives like other humans. That would make it harder for them to believe they are replicants which is what Tyrell wanted to achieve.
      • That doesn't answer the question so much as it qualifies and restates it. The question assumes Tyrell is trying to produce replicants that don't know they're replicants. The question is, why would he want to do this? Replicants aren't legal on Earth as it is in the movie universe, not least because people fear and distrust replicants, so it's hard to see why Tyrell is breaking the law to produce something that'll be even harder to sell.
      • Replicants that don't know that they're replicants, and won't learn that they're replicants don't have existential crises. Instead, they live the life they were programmed to live, never saying "I'm going to die in four years- why is that? No I don't want to die in four years! I WANT TO LIVE!!!!" and then rebelling. Instead they just go out and have sex for money until their "4th" birthday and then they die, never thinking to itself that there might be more to life than just getting gang banged by five unwashed colonists.
      • In the original shooting script, Tyrell isn't the original Tyrell, so testing Replicant clones that can pass the Voight Kampf would be crucial to keeping this a secret.
    • Maybe Tyrell made Rachel as a Replacement Goldfish for his niece. He tells Deckard that Rachel is just an experiment. Rachel could be the prototype for a new series of replicants intended for off-world colonists who wanted actual companions instead of sexbots and slave workers.
    • The reason is simple: To push the boundaries of what's thought to be possible. For science. It's the same reason many discoveries are made: just because people were testing whether they could do something; the question of "why?" is of secondary concern.
    • It makes absolutely no economic or business sense, not even a little; it's pure dramatic license. Philip K. Dick and Ridley Scott aren't interested in the motives of interstellar corporations, they're interested in exploring what it means to be human. You have a complicated technological device, you need a shadowy corporation to build it.
    • Actually it kinda does make economic and business sense as well as in a personal sense to Tyrell. Businesswise a name and face of a company can mean a lot, a la Steve Jobs and Apple. Imagine if news that most influential replicant designer died got out. People would probably start abandoning the Tyrell corporation and replicants altogether, Tyrell being rather proud of his creations would not want this to happen.
      • A lot, maybe, but not everything. I don't buy Apple products because of Steve Jobs; I buy them because I like them.
      • But Apple stock rose and fell with every rumor about Steve Jobs' cancer status, and then he died.
      • Which would you prefer, a slave that acts in inhuman, odd ways, or one that acts like a human because it thinks it is a human?
  • At the end, Gaff is speaking English. If he could speak English, why would he go through the trouble of having the street vendor translate for him at the beginning? It's not like Deckard could pretend he didn't speak English. Deckard wanted to make things difficult, but Gaff didn't.
    • Gaff did want to make things difficult. He wanted Holden's job, and now when Holden is finally out of business Bryant has him off recruiting Deckard as a replacement for Holden instead of letting Gaff go after the replicants himself. Gaff is both testing and insulting Deckard by refusing to speak to him in English.
    • I assumed he didn't want the people in the crowd to hear him recruiting a blade runner. The police were trying to keep quiet the fact that there were four escaped replicants on Earth. He spoke in a language that Deckard understood but most passers-by wouldn't.
      • This would also explain why he hesitates: "De vaja Blade... (crap, there isn't a Cityspeak word for it. oh well, too late now)... Blade Runner".

  • Bryant, Gaff or both seem to show up immediately after every retirement. If they're RIGHT THERE why don't they get off their lazy asses and help? Harrison Ford is being beaten to death twenty yards away from you, DO SOMETHING!
    • If you go with the assumption that Deckard is a replicant, then why would they? He's basically acting the way that bomb squad robots do today; you send in the non-human asset before risking an actual person.
      • But why waste all that time and money? Unless, of course, Tyrell is supplying Blade Runner replicants to the police department. (Actually, that makes a twisted sort of sense. Tyrell wouldn't want it to get out that his products might be dangerous, so it would be in his best interest to fund efforts to keep it quiet.)
      • If they can make money off of it, the Company would definitely supply Blade Runner replicants to the government.
    • Gaff wants Deckard's job. If a replicant kills Deckard then Gaff gets it.
  • If the hunt for the replicants was supposed to be such a big secret (as Bryant told Deckard), why did Gaff call Deckard a "blade runner" (replicant hunter) in public when picking him up at the sidewalk noodle restaurant?
    • Calling him a "blade runner" in public doesn't mean he's disclosing information about these specific replicants. Not to mention, considering how many times the super-advanced Nexus 6 replicants carry the Idiot Ball, being a "blade runner" is probably not a big deal. In addition, Title Drop.
      • Blade Runner could also be a codename for the position, which would explain why there isn't any running on/of blades involved in the job.
  • If Deckard really is a replicant, think of the logistics involved. "Get another Deckard out." The other characters then act out a silly pantomime. Over and over, right? No way.
    • Who says Bryant and Gaff knew from the beginning that Deckard was a replicant? I think Gaff found this out later while investigating the Tyrell murder.
      • Then who WOULD know?
      • My guess is that Tyrell created replicant Deckard, I suspect based on the fact that the evidence that Deckard being a replicant doesn't start showing up until after he returns to his apartment, the idea being Deckard was killed in the night and replaced with a replicant.
  • What was the purpose of having Gaff say "De vaja Blade...Blade Runner"? It had to have been done in post-production, because if you watch his lips, he actually says "Blade Runner." It would be like saying, "You're a police...police officer."
    • Not really, though. Blade Runners ARE members of the LPD, yes, but they're different from the established officer corps. They're more like United States Marshals during the time of the James Gang, etc. post-Civil War, who were officers of the law with the power of life and death. Being a Blade Runner is more than just being a cop, it's also being someone more or less above the law...kinda.
      • I'm talking about the grammatical construction of the sentence. If there needed to be a dramatic pause, it should have been, "De vaja...[dramatic pause]...Blade Runner."
  • I can understand making the female androids (gynoids)w/ a more human-like appearance, but I never saw the benefits of making the male androids human-looking,especially the ones used for mining and other labor intensive tasks. It certainly would have removed 50% of the Blade Runner workload (or maybe more.)
    • Guys aren't the only ones who want eye (and skin) candy, and Super-Powered Robot Meter Maids work both ways. If the "fully functional" replicants are super-strong (not just "wow that's hot" acrobat-strong, but construction machine strong), there's no reason for the construction machine replicants to not be "fully functional".
    • Making them look just like humans prevents them from falling into Uncanny Valley and therefore makes it easier for humans to work with them.
    • Roger Ebert basically asked the same question in his review of the Final Cut. He suggested the Tyrell corporation give the Replicants four arms, which would allow the company to double the workload of the androids and also eliminate their ability to blend in on Earth.
      • But that mean people off planet wouldn't be as willing to work with them, and would make the hookerbots' jobs incredibly difficult.
      • You honestly think there aren't people willing to bang a four-armed chick?
  • Why do they send just one Blade Runner after four Replicants? The one at the beggining is shot through a wall, yet he's replaced by just one other guy, who then proceeds to have his ass kicked by all four of them. Why isn't Deckard assigned at least two partners?
    • Well, Deckard was supposed to be the best of the best when it comes to Blade Runners.
      • So? He may be the best one there is at finding them, but he can't be the only one who can shoot at them.
      • Well, yes, but as the game later shows us, the other members of the Corps (including the rookie) were all working their own cases.
  • Six replicants escape. One dies. Four get to earth. Wait, what? Not quite prepared to swear to this, but pretty sure this is what police guy tells Deckard early in the film.
    • Script errors. There was originally a fifth replicant (named "Mary"), but she was cut at an early stage in the script without fixing other lines. The Final Cut re-loops the line to have Bryant say two were killed attempting to invade Tyrell.
      • You could treat it as a script error, or a possible hint as to Deckard's true nature. Some claim that Deckard is the unaccounted-for replicant, captured, given false memories and sent out after his former compatriots. This would also explain how Roy knows his name.
      • But since everyone involved with the project all but admit that it was a script error, and the most recent cut of the film (which until someone says otherwise is the 'definitive' version) fixes it, then can it be considered a hint anymore?
      • And they don't show any signs of recognizing him as a former compatriot. Knowing his name is not one.
  • How is it that Roy knows Deckard's name while fighting him in the Bradbury building despite never having met him until then?
    • It could be an argument in favor of the "Deckard is a Replicant" theory, but then again, there are plenty of other ways that Roy could have found out who Deckard was...
    • One theory ran that Deckard was the unaccounted-for replicant (until they fixed it). He was captured, given false memories and sent after his former comrades. If you don't go for that theory (the 2007 cut makes changes that discredit the above theory) then you can't discount the fact that Batty simply learned Deckard's name at some point during the movie. He's rather intelligent, remember, and is bound to be just as adept at investigative work as Deckard is.
    • Batty is very likely to have been interested in the man who killed Zhora and Leon (assuming he doesn't know Rachel did it), and might have done a little investigation to find out who it was.
  • If the leading actor of a film says he played the character as a human being, and the author of the original work wrote the character as a human being, and then the director comes out and says the character is a robot, is the character in fact a robot?
    • Well, if the character IS a robot then it's a robot that thinks it's human, so the actor saying he played it as human would actually work for both explanations :P
    • Ah, but what if both of the film's screenwriters also say they wrote the character as a human being? Is the character a robot then?
    • In short, if you think about it too hard your brain will boil.
    • Harrison Ford, along with Ridley Scott, actually started saying he thinks Deckard is a Replicant when the Director's Cut was released in 1993, and Phillip K. Dick died before he could give his official position on the matter.
    • Actually, I've always been under the impression Harrison Ford considered Deckard a human. Him considering Deckard a replicant, has only ever been conveyed second hand by Ridley Scott, who is subscribing to his own theory, and from what I recall, what he said about Ford was less him staright up thinking Deckard is a replicant so much as being more open to the idea now.
      • There IS a more recent interview with Ford on the subject of Deckard's humanity. Looking back, he says he "resisted being a Replicant, I suppose as a Replicant would." So he's either accepted the possibility or just felt like keeping the debate open in a rather cheeky way.
  • What I don't understand is that if Deckcard is supposed to be a replicant why can't he physically compete with the replicants he is facing? I can understand if his mental faculties aren't on the same level as those he hunts as he wouldn't be use to the idea of being one but that doesn't explain why he wouldn't have the same inherent strength and durability as them. This case of Fridge Logic makes the idea that he is human make a lot more sense.
    • Maybe he's a Class-C in strength? And I'd say there's proof in some level of superhuman durability in that he survives getting beaten senseless by Leon, who's hits were shown to bend steel containers inwards, and Pris.
      • To me, this begs the question: why? If you're designing a replicant to hunt other replicants, why would you design him to be both weaker and less intelligent than the replicants he is in fact hunting?
      • You're forgetting one very important thing; maybe they don't want him figuring out he's a replicant. Giving him superhuman strength will probably just lead him to wondering how he was suddenly stricken with the strength of Heracles, and questioning his own humanity. And really, on what basis do you believe he's less intelligent than the Replicants? We're never really shown how smart any of them are save Roy, and he's considered to be a genius. All the other replicants seemed to have over Deckard in a fight was the element of surprise and brute strength, and even with both of those they still all wound up dead in the end (although admittedly Deckard only survived Leon due to Rachael's intervention). If anything, his ineptitude in dealing with the replicants could also be evidence towards him being a replicant, in that he's bad at actually dealing with the replicants because he's never dealt with a replicant before.
      • We are shown exactly what intelligence level each Replicant has. When shown their files, each file has their Physical and Mental Level: Roy's is Mental Level A, Pris and Zhora are both Level B, and Leon is Level C. The only ones we aren't shown are the two killed offscreen.
  • What exactly is a Replicant? From an engineering perspective I mean. Are they stright up clones with genetic modification, or are they robots with some organic organs like their skin and brain? What do they look like on the inside? Do they look like this? And if they are straight up genetically modified humans why does Priss do this when she dies?
    • It's all a bit unclear. I mean, if they're physically different enough to handle super-chilled objects, shouldn't some physical test be more useful than the psychological one (even an X-ray should really give the game away)? Further, why exactly would anyone design replicants to be so similar to humans that only extensive testing will identify them to begin with?
      • People had to work alongside them offplanet. Making them more human-like would make it easier for the human workers working with them.
      • To a point that's true — beyond that point lies Uncanny Valley. Making them human-like is one thing — making them indistinguishable from humans under most circumstances is a bridge too far.
    • I always assumed they were a mix of biological and technological, artificially created organic bodies that are supplemented with physical and/or mental enhancements based on their intended purpose. Reinforced bones, enhanced musculature, superhuman flexibility, and computer-enhanced brains. Their lifespan is programmed into their biological part, it's a fact of their engineering.
    • My interpretation is that were weren't so much androids but sentient genetically engineered lifeforms, and the terms "Android" and "Machine" stuck around as anachronisms with the slightly ignorant populace. The reason they are outwardly human is so they can perform human tasks (albeit ones that have become considered dangerous or unsuitable for real humans) and to have something to interact with easily. Of course, just because they are outwardly humanoid doesn't mean they are internally so, each model could be significantly different from humans so to achieve specific tasks, maximise "construction space," make them more efficient and so on.
    • There was a line in the original script which was cut. Bryant tells Deckard, that one of the ones, which got killed by the electric fence, was taken for autopsy, and the M.E. did not realize it was not a human till two hours into the autopsy.
    • Why does driving a nail into Batty's hand help him live longer?
      • My guess is that the adrenaline rush coming from the pain gave his heart some extra minutes.
  • After Deckard meets Rachael at the Tyrell Corporation, she goes to visit him at his apartment. Later on, while he's at Taffey Lewis' bar he calls her and asks her to meet him there. After he kills Zhora Captain Brant tells him that Rachael has "...disappeared. Vanished." and that he is to kill her. When Leon tries to kill Deckard, Rachael appears and shoots Leon with Deckard's gun, saving his life. And now the question: If Deckard wanted to save Rachael's life, why didn't he simply tell Bryant that his phone call was the reason she left Tyrell Corporation, either at the time he was told to kill her or afterwards? His explanation should have been sufficient to get her off the "kill list", especially when he can show that she helped him in his Blade Runner duties.
    • It looks very much like Bryant doesn't trust Deckard - he knows he's forcing him into doing this job in the first place and assigns Gaff to keep an eye on him as much as to asist him. It's likely he wouldn't believe or care what Deckard might tell him to try to save Rachel's (just another skinjob, in Bryant's mind) life. It may also be illegal or against department policy to "deputize" a replicant, so Deckard would actually get in trouble himself if he claimed he had enlisted Rachel's help.
  • The movie is set in Los Angeles. So why is it dark and raining all the time?
    • Because of a future environmental catastrophe.
      • Between 1982 and 2019? What "catastrophe" could possibly alter the climate of Los Angeles so radically in under forty years without physically destroying the city itself?
      • In the book there was a nuclear war, and the Earth is still suffering from the nuclear winter it caused.
    • Ridley Scott actually noted the reason for this: it looks cool, and made building the sets and models cheaper as the smoke, rain and darkness helped hide any imperfections.
      • Again, the environment of the movie is taken directly from the book, not just Doylist filmmaking technicalities. The book's World War Terminus isn't explicitly mentioned in the movie, but the fact that so many common animals are extinct or extremely endangered and there are so many humans with genetic defects around (Sebastian's Methuselah Syndrome, the street gangs of midgets, etc) makes it clear that some kind of world-tainting disaster has taken place.
  • The technique of identifying Replicants is known as an "empathy test", and operates by eliciting an emotional response to stress-inducing stories. But what if a human who was born a sociopath, who's psychologically incapable of empathetic response, were tested? Would they give a false-positive result, causing them to be branded as — and possibly executed as — a Replicant when they're not? If so, would the Blade Runner who killed them have grounds for a defense against the subsequent murder charge, and would the developers of the "empathy test" get sued into bankruptcy?
    • ASPD covers quite a lot of ground, rather than being a simple lack of empathic response. This is probably why it takes so many questions to identify a replicant; a sociopath is likely to have *something* come up that triggers a response.
    • The issue is raised in the book. Deckard is almost tricked into thinking Rachel is a human sociopath rather than an android after she fails the test, and thinking they are going to have to come up with some new test that won't catch sociopaths. After Tyrell (Rosen in the book) and Rachel try to blackmail him he decides the test was right and she is an android after all.
  • Why does Batty kill J.F? He kills Tyrell for revenge. but lets Deckard live even though he killed all his compatriots. Admittedly Sebastian could raise the alarm, but with Tyrell gone Batty's fate is a given.
    • He's just found out that his quest for longer life was useless, and killed his creator with his bare hands. It's likely Roy isn't thinking very clearly when he turns on Sebastian, though getting out of the building without him raising the alarm is certainly a good motivation too. It seems unlikely that Sebastian would have been willing to do nothing about Tyrell's murder.
  • If Leon was wearing only a hospital gown at the beginning, where was he hiding the gun?
  • We've already been over why Replicants may have been designed to look human (and the pros and cons of such a design choice). But why in sam hell does this sophisticated cyberpunk flying-car society LACK A VISUAL DATABASE OF EACH UNIQUE REPLICANT FACE? Saying Replicants are indistinguishable from humans is a bit of a copout given that HUMANS ARE DISTINGUISHABLE FROM EACH OTHER. If I made a robot monster baby I would definitely have baby pics on hand in case I needed to ID it.
    • They do. When Bryant is informing Deckard on the replicants he shows them photos of them all in a kind of police line-up kind fashion with grey caps on. These photos were probably taken when the replicants were first "born" and are probably done for every replicant made.
      • Then why'd they send Holden in to do VK's when they knew what the replicants looked like? Seems like a dick move on the part of his superiors.
      • Possibly they think the replicants would have disguised themselves? Also, a VK test may be legally required before retiring a replicant, unless the replicant fights back. Holden doesn't seem to recognize Leon, so either he didn't have a photo at that time (it's possible Tyrell corp only supplied the photos after Holden was wounded) or he didn't pay attention to it.
  • Why does a pleasure model have such high intelligence and strength?
    • High intelligence could help Pris' model learn how best to please an owner, and exceptional strength and endurance is possibly useful in certain, uh, techniques.
  • A minor nitpick, but I don't quite get why (or even HOW) did Pris intend to kill Deckard by doing, uh, backflips?
    • Pris seems rather desperate. Perhaps she doesn't really know how to kill someone, and is just trying out what she does know how to do.
  • Mmmkay. So you can create a replicant that thinks it's human. You can even give it memories about a life it never had to make it think it's human, maybe even memories that explain its increased strength, durability, or intellect, but how do you prevent the rest of the world from figuring out what it is? Everyone knows replicants exist and what they can do. Inevitably someone will say something, either to someone else or to the replicant itself, and then stuff would seem to head in a southerly direction rather quickly.
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