Blade Runner 2049

     By Khaleel Herbert       

After the original Blade Runner hit screens in the ‘80s (excluding the home video director’s cut and final cut versions), fans may be wondering, how could 2049 match its predecessor?

Ryan Gosling is K, short for his serial number, the Blade Runner of the future. He locates and retires replicants (robots that are so life-like that they have their own human emotions and memories). After retiring Sapper Morton (Dave Bautista), a bug farmer in the rural California regions, K discovers a tree in the backyard. Underneath the tree is a box.

The LAPD excavate the box and bring it back to the precinct. The forensics team finds bones and remains of a replicant from the previous age around the time of the major blackout. The replicant died giving birth to a human/replicant baby. Lieutenant Joshi (Robin Wright) orders K to find the child.

K, although he’s good at his job, doesn’t know where he comes from. His memories as a child are not his own. In pursuit of this child, he learns more about himself than ever before and the previous Blade Runner before him, Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford).

Blade Runner 2049, like its predecessor, has tons of visually-stunning scenes. Los Angeles is done up in a futuristic way with the same flying cars, active and more interactive holograms including holograms of Marilyn Monroe, Frank Sinatra and Elvis. Blade Runner fans will go nuts over the sudden turns in plot and the ending, let’s just say, has closure.

There’s one question I had on my mental throughout the whole film: Why the hell would Ridley Scott and friends wait 30 plus years to make a sequel? The ending in the final cut was ambiguous. Although 2049 fills the holes, I would have liked to see it happen on screen in the ‘80s or even early ‘90s. These decades were Ford’s movie-prime–the age of Han Solo, Indiana Jones and so much more. 

What was life like for Rachel and Deckard on the run? What was is it like for them to fully love each other?

The movie felt long, but what would you cut? All of it is essential to the story. However, for me, the movie picked up when Harrison Ford graced the silver screen and beat the crap out of Gosling. I put my money on Ford, because even though it’s almost been a year, Gosling still left a bad taste in my mouth from La La Land. His acting was far more superior here.

Blade Runner 2049 does its predecessor justice visually and plot-wise. But I won’t cry about it if I never ever see this movie again.


The Mountain Between Us

By Samantha Ofole-Prince        

This survival yarn in which a pair of plane-crash victims struggle to survive, sustains some suspense and a dark atmosphere for the first 40 minutes, but eventually the clichés of the characters and the predictability of the drama drag it severely down.

The film stars Idris Elba and Kate Winslet as a couple of extremely accomplished professionals, who decide to charter a plane after a storm forces the cancellation of their scheduled flights. Alex (Winslet) is due to get married in 24 hours, and Ben (Elba), a skilled British neurosurgeon, is due back on the East Coast to perform a critical, life-saving operation.

The unlikely strangers join forces and charter a small plan to Denver in hopes of connecting to their respective destinations from there, but when their pilot Walter (Beau Bridges) suffers a stroke, the airplane crashes in the deep snows of the Uinta Mountains in northeastern Utah and their mission becomes a quest to survive.

Trapped in the remote region with meager supplies, that include four individual packs of almonds and a couple of candy bars, the two (three if we count Walter’s dog) embark on an transformative trip across the vast, rugged terrain to find help and fall in love along the way.

The most primal story Hollywood can tell; this is not a gritty realistic survival film, and is as predictable as a funeral. It's pretty convenient, Elba's character is a skilled doctor, and Winslet is a talented photojournalist, for her camera lens and his medical skills are certainly put to good use.

With his medical training, Ben saves Alex’s life after she is injured in the crash, and with her long lens camera, Alex able to find an abandoned cottage where they eventually seek refuge and swap relationship stories while sharing a can of soup.

The Mountain Between Us clocks in at 100 minutes and the premise follows the duo falling in love after four weeks, while battling sub-zero temperatures, hunger and hygiene. Elba and Winslet are both engaging actors, but there's nothing memorable about this soppy love story.

This action adventure drama is many things: a meditation on human nature, a tale of survival, and a love story, but overall, it’s a glum, frozen fray which will appeal to Elba's fans, but all others beware.