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This Review Reveals Minor Details About the Plot.

Dangerous Days

Blade Runner (1982) on IMDb

Plot Overview

The glossary for the film, which was included in the 1982 press-kit, defines a replicant as:

 A genetically engineered creature composed entirely of organic substance. Animal replicants (animoids) were developed first for use as pets and beasts of burden after most real animals became extinct. Later, humanoid replicants were created for military purposes and for the exploration and colonization of space. The Tyrell Corp. recently intro­duced the Nexus 6, the supreme replicant — much stronger and faster than, and virtually indistin­guish­able from, real human beings. Earth law forbids replicants on the planet, except in the huge industrial complex where they are created. The law does not consider replicants human and there­fore accords them no rights nor protection.

Replicants are used for menial labor, dangerous jobs, and pleasure. They are property, not people. Call them an ‘n-word’, if you will, for having appended an ‘nt’ to the end of replica forming the neologism replicant. Then lethally enforce the off-world segregation, but let a small contingent of them foment a rebellion, pirate a shuttle, and arrive in L.A., Nov. 2019, to petition their creator Dr. Eldon Tyrell (Joe Turkel) to remove their fail-safe termination date so they'll gain life span equality with humans. Now we're looking at sympathy for the robots here. How­ever, make them emotionally stilted, and the “blade runner” enforcer “Ricky boy” Deckard (Harrison Ford) just a poor bloke doing his job, and the sympathy shifts to the working man even though he's a cop. Pit man against uppity machine, and mostly we'll root for the man though the machine be tougher, stronger, and faster.


It rains every day in this movie— 60 days of shooting gave Harrison Ford what he called the worst experience of his life —evoking shades of the Noachian Flood. That past epoch is further evoked by the release of a dove at the end. The dove finds the Earth in various conditions depending on which version of “Blade Runner” you see, and for that matter which trip Noah's dove took. Noah saved all the animal kinds alive on the Ark, and “Blade” saves their forms as animoids when species are going extinct. From Noah's day when the nominal human life span was 900 years, it got reduced to some 60 odd years, a ratio of 15:1. The life span of replicants is designed to be 4 years, a 15:1 cut from the humans' 60. It behooves us to follow these parallels.

At the beginning of the film, new Tyrell employee Leon Kowalski (Brion James) is being given the Voight-Kampff (VK) test to determine if he's human or replicant. A machine measures his autonomic responses as blade runner Holden (Morgan Paull) asks him a series of formulaic questions designed to produce emotional responses. It goes like this:

Holden: You're in a desert, walking along in the sand, when all of a sudden you look down...

Leon: What one?

Holden: What?

Leon: What desert?

Holden: It doesn't make any difference what desert, it's completely hypothetical.

Leon: But, how come I'd be there?

Holden: Maybe you're fed up. Maybe you want to be by yourself. Who knows? You look down and see a tortoise, Leon. It's crawling toward you...

Leon: Tortoise? What's that?

Holden: [irritated by Leon's interruptions] You know what a turtle is?

Leon: Of course!

Holden: Same thing.

Leon: I've never seen a turtle... But I understand what you mean.

Holden: You reach down and you flip the tortoise over on its back, Leon.

Leon: Do you make up these questions, Mr. Holden? Or do they write 'em down for you?

Holden: The tortoise lays on its back, its belly baking in the hot sun, beating its legs trying to turn itself over, but it can't. Not with­out your help. But you're not helping.

Leon: [angry at the suggestion] What do you mean, I'm not helping?

Holden: I mean: you're not helping! Why is that, Leon?

[Leon has become visibly shaken]

Holden: They're just questions, Leon. In answer to your query, they're written down for me. It's a test, designed to provoke an emotional response... Shall we continue?
In the Bible there was a test of sorts regarding the humanity of Noah's three sons Shem, Ham and Japheth.
(Gen. 9:20-23) “And Noah began to be an husbandman, and he planted a vineyard: And he drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent. And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the naked­ness of his father, and told his two brethren with­out. And Shem and Japheth took a garment, and laid it upon both their shoulders, and went back­ward, and covered the naked­ness of their father; and their faces were back­ward, and they saw not their father's naked­ness.”
Humans have the dignity to help their father or the tortoise be covered, subhumans do not.
(Gen. 9:24-27) “And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done unto him. And he said, Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren. And he said, Blessed be the LORD God of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant. God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.”

Ham had turned his father over to face up and left him uncovered, but Shem and Japheth remedied the situation. In the movie geneticist Hannibal Chew (James Hong) evokes images of Shem on account of their names looking similar, Chew & Shem, and that Chew needed his coat to cover him­self with in the subfreezing lab. Geneticist J.F. Sebastian (William Sanderson) evokes images of Japheth, because Japheth means “enlarge”—also per Noah's prophesy—and Sebastion's digs were expansive. There was refuse out­side his place, as well, for home­less girl Pris (Daryl Hannah) to cover her­self with. Ham is evoked by snake stripper Zhora (Joanna Cassidy) who had no sense of shame about self-exposure.

Deckard: Have you felt yourself to be exploited in any way?

Zhora: Like what?

Deckard: Well... well, like to get this job. I mean, did... did you do, or... or were you asked to do any­thing lewd... or unsavory, or... or, other­wise repulsive to your... your person, huh?

Zhora: [laughs] Are you for real?

Since “Japheth shall dwell in the tents of Shem,” this human side of humanity will be what we'd call integrated. “Canaan shall be his servant” indicates that the Ham side, represented by Ham's son Canaan, will be a segregated servant class. The movie helps us work out the bowdlerized formula by the turtle/tortoise question. According to Webster's definition: “tortoise 1: turtle; esp. a land turtle.” It's not that Ham's whole side wasn't cursed in that only Canaan is mentioned, but that Ham's son Canaan's line was especially cursed. The latter people were an especial vexation to the Semites in the Promised Land, i.e. the Gibeonites of Josh. 9:23. The Phoenicians, too, who were defeated at the battle of Carthage were of Canaanite descent.

Researcher Bodie Hodge confirms that “As a general trend, Ham is the father of many peoples in Africa” (122). Dr. Ide adds, “Ham sired four sons: Cush (translates as ‘black’) … and Canaan the youngest” (62). Names get passed down through the generations, and Cush being Hebrew for ‘black’ eventually becomes, (Acts 13:1) “Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as … Simeon that was called Niger.” Niger is Latin for ‘black’, eventually becoming nègre French for ‘black’ and Negro Spanish for ‘black’ (and similar words in Italian and Portuguese.) There are various ‘n’ words in English, or just plain black. As a matter of political cor­rectness the (PC) term of choice here in the USA is African-American being a moniker that doesn't go back as far as Cush or Ham.

Pris does her makeup with a band of blackface covering her eyes. Black is beautiful on her, and one wonders if it would not have been more just to color-code the replicants than to genetically curtail their natural life spans to cover for the difficulty of telling them apart from the rest.

Looking at origins, (Gen. 6:10) “And Noah begat three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth,” and these three fathered the human race alive today. From Shem and/or Japheth came White Europeans (and others). Ham's descendants settled largely in Africa becoming the black races. Researcher Mark DeWayne Combs posits that, “Although Jasher specific­ally references the births of Japheth and Shem, there is no such reference to the birth of Ham. … that Ham may have been much younger than his brothers and that he may have had a different mother” (389). (See my review of “Project Almanac” for a fuller explanation.) In our movie Leon over­reacted when asked by Holden: “Describe in single words only the good things that come into your mind about... your mother.” Tyrell's personal assistant Rachael (Sean Young) had pictures of her “mother” to bolster her faith she's not a replicant, but she shows us that if she's some man's possession, she might not have much say about having sex with him. Noah's (first) wife was about 100 years older than he, and if she stopped bearing children after the first two, and Noah wanted one more, then the servant girl is up for procreation, and step­children have a notoriously hard time.

Production Values

This well known film “Blade Runner” (1982) was directed by Ridley Scott. The screen­play was written by Hampton Fancher and David Webb Peoples. It is loosely based on the novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick. The term Blade Runner was coined in the 1974 novel The Bladerunner by Alan E. Nourse & William Burroughs, in which a blade­runner is a person trafficking in illegal surgical instruments. The movie stars Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, and Sean Young. The acting from Ford and Sean Young as Rachael is quite good but it's Rutger Hauer who really shines as the paradoxical Batty. His final speech is one of film's greats.

MPAA rated it R for violence. In the "happy ending" Theatrical/­Inter­national cuts, the credits play over bucolic scenery. In the later Director/Final cuts, they play over a mundane black back­ground. This last also does away with super­fluous narration. The unusually effective 1980s synthesizer score, with lots of bass, has a mesmerizing effect. The term replicant was suggested by the writer's daughter from her Biology.

Review Conclusion w/ Christian Recommendation

This Sci-Fi film did well with pre-CGI effects. The movie future, by the way, has not totally caught up with our technology of today, , but who in 1982 would have thought of a lot of the stuff we have now? It does have flying cars, though, that we are slow at implementing. The plot is tense and moves right along. The (final) version I saw spared us a lot of explanation, trusting us to piece it together. I found “Blade Runner” a rather satisfying viewing experience. You may like it, too, if you can cut the "future" some slack.

Movie Ratings

Action factor: Edge of your seat action-packed. Suitability For Children: Not Suitable for Children of Any Age. Special effects: Well done special effects. Video Occasion: Fit For a Friday Evening. Suspense: Keeps you on the edge of your seat. Overall product rating: Five stars out of five.

Works Cited

Scripture is quoted from the King James Version. Pub. 1611, rev. 1769. Software.

Combs, Mark DeWayne. End the Beginning. USA: Splinter in the Mind's Eye Pub., 2014. Print.

Hodge, Bodie. Tower of Babel: The Cultural History of Our Ancestors. Green Forest, AR: New Leaf Pub., 2013. Print.

Ide, Arthur Frederick. Noah & the Ark: The Influence of Sex, Homo­phobia and Hetero­sexism in the Flood Story and its Writing. Las Colinas: Monument Press, 1992. Print.

Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary. Springfield, Mass.: MERRIAM-WEBSTER. 1984. Print.