I enjoy Blade Runner so much – are there any other movies or TV that might interest me that you can recommend?
Well, basically, every SF movie made after 1982.
Seriously, though, BR has been enormously influential; its powerful visual style, a look at an all too plausible near-future, has been copied countless times.
A.I. Artificial Intelligence
Is it Kubrick or is it Spielberg? Well, both.
Is it anything like Blade Runner? Well, how can you discuss any film about androids and the question of “What is it that makes us human?” without referring to Blade Runner?
The themes are in the same arena as Blade Runner and some of the cityscape looks very similar (despite 19 years advancement and a huge budget). However, this is a different movie with a quite different story. Although very interesting, it doesn’t quite deliver in the end.
The anime that blew the socks off the West. A few may have experienced Japanimation before this came out, but this is the one that got the ball rolling. Still stands up as one of the best.
Post-apocalyptic intellectual evolution with biker kids and rock music. “Neo-Tokyo is about to E.X.P.L.O.D.E.”
The Limited Special Edition is now out in the USA!
Ghost In The Shell (Kokaku kidotai)
VERY BR-ish, dark and brooding, it even addresses some of the same themes as BR. Note for fans of “The Matrix”: this was almost certainly a major source of inspiration for the Wachowski bros. (In interview on The Matrix DVD, they do refer to inspiration by a particular anime film, but don’t name it.)
A girl turned into a cyborg, investigating an AI in A BR-type city. If you switch your brain on while watching, you’ll see more than just great animation – you’ll see the film really is questioning the nature of humanity.
Reality and dreams become one as the nightmares merge into the daytime and we lose track of what is real. Even a Replicant would feel the paranoia and fear when watching this. One of the very best examples of how an animated movie can succeed with a psychological thriller.
Terry Gilliam’s masterpiece with even more producer difficulties than BR. The DC is a completely different movie to the “Love Conquers All” version and considerably longer as well. This ranks right up there with Blade Runner. The dark future is not a happy place. Being outside the system, just like the Reps in BR, is a dangerous place to be.
Note: The 3-DVD set is one of the most complete packages of any movie; with just about everything you could ask for, including both versions of the films.
Are they manipulating our lives? What is real? Why does everything keep changing? A stunning movie that once again leaves us questioning our existence.
Alex Proyas succeeds in bringing us a film where memory is in question, where being paranoid is probably good, because you don’t know what is real and they really are out to get you …
One of those movies that donated a large chunk of plot to The Matrix.
Heavy Metal (1981)
Animated anthology movie based on the SF magazine of the same name. Of interest to BR fans for several reasons. Also, people who have seen “The Fifth Element” may be interested in the first segment of the film…
[See also: "Origins of Blade Runner"]
Based on a PKD story, it is 2079 and Earth is at war with alien invaders. Gary Sinise plays a well-known scientist who is accused of being an Impostor – the suggestion being that he has been replaced by a replicant that thinks it is the real person, but is programmed to explode when it gets in proximity to a certain target. He desperately tries to evade capture to prove he is human and not a replicant.
The Grandfather of Science Fiction films. One of the earliest but STILL one of the best. Also, one of the only films on this list that could be said to have influenced Blade Runner, rather than the other way around!
The robot creation rejecting its master and fighting the revolution. The rich elite don’t care at all about the poor workers, but that is about to end!
Be warned, this film was redone with modern music by Giorgio Moroder – some think that is sacrilege and destroys the movie, others think it improves the film. Both versions are available so take your pick. Note: In 2002, a restored version was released, getting as close as possible to the original, and including the original orchestral accompaniment.
A Japanese animation that is not just for anime fans. With inspiration drawn from both Fritz Lang’s Metropolis and from Blade Runner, this is a well told story, beautifully presented and with great music. In a future where robots and humans co-exist (with robots mainly acting as servants), some still don’t like the presence of these robots. A new robot has been developed and there follows a story of friendship, distrust and adventure. A great film that can stand alongside Akira and GitS.
Blade Runner doesn’t have a sequel, but some refer to this as the “sidequel”. David Peoples, (BR scriptwriter), wrote the script. He contrasts the soldier trained from birth with the new breed of soldier that are genetically engineered. The two come into conflict and Kurt Russell kicks ass.
Not the best film as there are a number of bad points in it, but worth a watch.
Note: there are a number of references to BR; at least once, a spinner from BR can be spotted. In the beginning of the movie, among medals Todd (Russell) has earned, we also get a few BR references such as his fighting at Tannhauser Gate and also the Shoulder of Orion. Tannhauser Gate is even mentioned in dialogue.
Paul Verhoeven brings aspects of another of Philip K. Dick’s books to the screen, (“We Can Remember It for You Wholesale.”) It was also, together with Blade Runner, the inspiration for the TV series, Total Recall 2070″.
Messing with man’s brains and memories again – fighting for truth and reality and people’s freedom. “They stole his mind, now he wants it back.”
The threat this time is from a genetically created virus. The difference is – it’s already happened.
Bruce Willis is sent hurtling backwards and forwards in time trying to find the secret of the Twelve Monkeys and the plague that swept the world and has trouble keeping track of his memory and his sanity.
This is yet another David Peoples script, (based on French art film “La JetÈe”), this time brought to screen by Terry Gilliam.
Brandon Lee showing what a great future he could have had. Another dark Alex Proyas movie with many undertones. Excellent acting, stunning visuals and originality make this a must-see.
The Thirteenth Floor
“Question reality.” Are we manipulating them, or are we being manipulated? What is real? What happens when the characters in your virtual reality appear in your real world and you don’t remember the murder you committed?
Don’t look too closely at the cover if you haven’t seen the movie.
One of the interiors looks kind of familiar…
Some people love it. Some people make a noise about hating it. Chances are you’ve already seen it and made up your own mind anyway.
If you are a Keanu-hater, then you just need to get over it and enjoy the action. There may not be any original ideas in the film, but they are put together well and perhaps presented to a new audience. And the Kung Fu and other SFX are stunning.
What is the real reality? And is it better than the false one? If we climb out of reality, can we then manipulate it?
And whether you like it or not, Matrix 2 and 3 are coming.
Chances are if you didn’t like Keanu in The Matrix, you won’t like him in this either. Based on a William Gibson short story, it is rather disappointing compared to what it should have been. It was originally meant to be a small film, but studio money made it into a larger budget movie and it suffered from that.
However, this is very solid cyberpunk. The dystopian future, memory dumps in the brain, bits of tech all over and a pretty cyberspace representation.
“The danger is all in his head.”
Scientists messing around with humanity. The plight of the not genetically perfect human has parallels with the Reps in BR. Deception, a warped future, and warnings for humanity.
If we are so similar, then what is the difference? Commenting on discrimination based on genes is as valid to us today as to the extrapolation into the Gattaca future world.
“There is no gene for the human spirit.”
When computer games become reality. A movie that makes many SF fans top 10 lists David Cronenberg revisits and updates the very organic technology and the world of fantasy/reality he first explored in “Videodrome”. (See that as well if you haven’t!)
Computer generated villains escaping into reality again! (When will those darn VR programmers learn?) This time Russell Crowe is chased by Denzel Washington.
The VR entity, created from the personalities of over 150 serial killers takes control and downloads himself into a nano created android and proceeds to wreak havoc. (Obviously!)
Not original, but the acting is good and the whole is fun to watch if you switch off the critical eye.
The cybernetic organism – once again leading to the question of “what is human?”
A B-movie perhaps, but a decent Sci-Fi B-movie with cyborgs and stylish directing is better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick.
“In the future …. it pays to be more than human.”
(Also stars Brion “Leon Kowalski” James!)
Low-budget cross between BR and “The Terminator”, starring Tim Thomerson as “hardboiled detective” trancer-hunter, Jack Deth aka Future Cop. We revisit the bleak future of L.A. then go back in time.
Given the number of dark, depressing movies on this list, this is perhaps one of those to watch when you are in a good mood and feel in need of a chuckle.
The Fifth Element
A designed person comes to earth to save us from evil. Although she has to be recreated by Earth scientists in a handy genetic recreation chamber that works just dandy! There is a lot of shooting along the way and aliens pretending to be humans. Not to mention the exciting flying car chase amongst the BR inspired cityscape.
Not to be taken too seriously, there is plenty to entertain. Gary Oldman is the epitome of an updated Tyrell. And watch out for Brion James.
Directed by Luc Besson, you know it will be stylish. Other of his films to try are “Nikita” and the superb “LÈon: The Professional” (international cut).
The City of Lost Children (La CitÈ des Enfants Perdus)
Brains in jars, artificial humans, strange things happening in a post-apocalyptic style world. Original, surreal fantasy against a marvellously created backdrop.
Krank is the genius created by a mad scientist, (Tyrellesque?). But as clever as he is, he cannot dream. Children are kidnapped so that Krank can steal their dreams, but all he gets are nightmares.
Made by the same lot who created the amazing “Delicatessen”.
The Batman Movies
Well, there are four of them – surely you must like at least one?
Dark ponderings on the nature of being are mixed into action and combating strange enemies.
Some cyberpunk elements brought forward to link into Y2K. The date may have passed, but the memory experiences are put on discs for all to share.
James Cameron writes a story exploring that “classic” cyberpunk element of memories, emotions and experiences stored on a disc and sold. The problem comes when a disc turns up that is witness to murder. An ex-cop, played by Ralph Fiennes, investigates murder, rape and corruption. The film captures the maximum angst of a world rapidly approaching the year 2000.
“You know you want it.”
Rather weird but enjoyable cyberpunk thriller with Christopher Lambert, which among other things, deals with artificial beings questioning their existence, while Lambert has some issues of his own to deal with. The brooding mood is lifted somewhat by some nice touches of humour, so the movie never takes itself too seriously.
There are some imaginative futuristic backdrops in the movie, but the BR influence is unmistakable (or should that be “unavoidable”?).
Based on the comic book character, but toned down [a lot] in its Hollywood incarnation. The most interesting thing about the film is probably it’s visual style, which is like a “BR meets Total Recall”, picturing a BR-ish overgrown “Mega-City”. It also deals with artificially created humans; Dredd (in this movie, anyway) turns out to be a clone created from an amalgamation of various people – to become the embodiment of the law. Nice soundtrack by Alan Sylvestri, too.
Futuristic chase movie with cyberpunk elements thrown in; a race car driver from the year 1991 (played by Emilio Estevez) is about to die in a fatal accident, when suddenly he is whisked away to the year 2009 where some rich guy, a powerful multinational’s CEO, wants to use his body for a mind transfer. Estevez escapes, though, and lots of mayhem follow. Very loosely related (as there are a couple of BR-inspired street scenes in there too…)
It is an Arnie film so expect plenty of action. But there is far more to this movie than that. Once you accept the premise of creating adult human cloned duplicates, there are a number of ideas explored in this movie. (Particularly the clone that doesn’t know he is the copy until he is told – sound familiar at all?)
Set in the near future, (they had to bring it even closer because of rapid real world advances in cloning technology), they have created a very realistic view of how technology may be integrated into our everyday lives in the next decade.
“There’s been a Sixth Day violation. A human was cloned. That human was you.”
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