Blade Runner 2049: Where are the Flame Towers?

Seriously, where’d they go? Throughout this sprawling, 160 minute epic we get shot after shot of the near-future LA skyline, and none of the flame-spitting spires from the original film are anywhere to be seen. I don’t even know what those things were for, but they were everywhere in 2019. What changed? Maybe the locals learned they were just there for atmosphere and decided to quit wasting money on them.

Well, aside from that gross oversight, the movie was great. We seem to be living through a time of sequel fatigue with Hollywood audiences, but this one was a worthy follow-up to the original Blade Runner. LA is still gritty and full of crazies, the Replicants are still trying to find their own place in society, and the movie ends up leaving plenty of unanswered questions while answering the ones that matter to the here-and-now.

Fans of the original should love this film. If you’re looking for a straight-up action sci-fi, this probably isn’t for you. The fight scenes are intense, but are few and far between. The main focus is Officer K (Ryan Gossling) trying to solve a mystery after he “retires” a rogue Replicant at the beginning of the film.

There are a pair of badass heroes, a pair of badass villains, and a whole lot of CG that doesn’t overshadow the rest of the film. It’s all blended in nicely, and has the look and feel of the original film. About the only thing missing from an atmospheric standpoint was the creepy vocal track that would play throughout the first film. I just rewatched the original Blade Runner a couple days ago in preparation for this film, and now I know where Ghost in the Shell gets it from.

Overall, a 4.5/5.0 from me. I had to deduct something due to the whole flame tower thing. It’s iconic, man!

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