So I’m going to do this in two parts.  First the non-spoiler review.

Blade Runner 2049 is the sequel to the amazing Blade Runner movie that came out in 1982.  Does it live up to the original?  No.  Swing and a miss.  Although Ryan Gosling is pretty good and Harrison Ford is good, the premise undercuts the weight of the entire plot.  The visuals are incredible, but that’s like serving you a cake that’s all icing and no cake.  After a while, you want…well, SOMETHING.  It also didn’t help that I was watching the movie at the AMC Marlton 8 which decided that if you weren’t watching the movie in 3-D, you had to sit in a vibrating torture chair through the film.  I’m not kidding.  When watching an almost three hour movie, a little massage vibration would’ve been nice.  This chair was set on “vibrate any time there is a sweeping shot of desolate landscape” which, as it turns out, is quite a lot.  I actually appreciated the comfort of my car seat getting back into the car.

Okay, now the SPOILER review where I explain why the plot just doesn’t work.

Gosling plays K, a Blade Runner.  He’s also a replicant.  He’s hunting down other replicants just like Harrison Ford did in the first film.  However, the back story is that the Tyrell Corporation fell apart after the events of the first movie.  There was a “blackout” where the power was off for a few years and now there’s a new corporation run by Jared Leto.  Leto, by the way, is just terrible as the villain.  It’s never explained who he is and there is precious little depth in his evil corporate guy character.

But the big thing that undermines the whole movie is why are they still hunting the same replicants?  There’s really no reason to do so.  The Tyrell Corporation is gone.  Their old replicants running away was an embarrassment.  Why does this new company have to continue to hunt them?  It’s never explained and the runaway replicants don’t seem to be hurting anyone.

The movie does try to explore what it means to be human.  There’s a great relationships between K and his holographic girlfriend, but ultimately there’s no real payoff.

Leto’s evil replicant assassin is very one-dimensional.  She’s a replicant, but she’s constantly tearing up and killing various people.  It’s never explained.  Leto has a scene where a replicant is “born” but because it cannot have children, Leto kills it.  I guess to show he’s evil?  Except during his boring and pretentious speech, he complains that he can’t make enough replicants and that’s why he needs them to have children.  Then why kill one?  Why not send her to the acid mines or whatever?  Again, never explained.

That’s the biggest weakness here, the villains.  Tyrell from the first movie had some weight.  Leto had none and his psychotic replicant/secretary can’t make up for it.  The movie is so murky, you’re not even sure who is a human and who is a replicant.  Leto is clearly a cyborg, but is he also a replicant?  Why would the guy who makes replicants create a sidekick that’s kind of an asshole for no reason?  Leto is blind?  Or has robot eyes or something?  Never explained.  In the director’s cut, Deckard is a replicant, but here maybe?  I’m not sure.  Nothing is clear!

Parts of the movie are good.  K’s quest makes sense as he uncovers the past about Deckard and the twists and turns there were okay.  But the movie probably would’ve been better served with a more straight forward narrative.  There was just too much of “dystopian future”  ooooo!  And, of course, the resistance!  Unfortunately, that has become tired cliche in these films.  The first movie reveled in bleakness for a purpose.  This movie is too bleak for its own good.  Every scene is like, “Hey, look how horrible THIS is!”  A real daring move might’ve been to go in some new, non-distopian direction.

Technology is a huge problem too.  One minute, K is being watched from the sky at every possible angle, but somehow he’s able to hide certain things?  We have the technology to watch people 24/7 NOW.  If you have a replicant cop you NEED to watch in 2049 it will be SUPER easy.  The screenwriters either dropped the ball or it was all ignored by the director.

Finally, the ending just doesn’t work.  The whole fake-your-own-death and live in obscurity?  Okay, sure that works.  But not if you go back to one of the major locations of the movie!  You know, the one where one of the characters got caught at by the cops!  How the fuck are you going to stay hidden if you do that?!  Not to mention the fact that we put body cameras on cops NOW.  Now imagine how many cameras would be in a cop car in 2049.

Lazy.  There’s no other word for it.  The script for this movie was just too damned lazy.  Any fan fic motherfucker on the Internet could’ve written a better sequel than this and not crammed it full of moments that don’t pay off.  In one scene, Gosling discovers beehives and places his hand in one so it gets covered by bees.  “Okay, then what?” you might ask.  “NOTHING!”  WTF was that scene for?  It’s NEVER explained.  You’re just supposed to assume (I guess) that Harrison Ford is raising the bees in the middle of a radioactive wasteland for their radioactive honey.

That’s not to say the movie is awful to watch (you know, minus the vibrating chair).  Things flow.  It’s paced well, but ultimately it’s just a bunch of shit that happens.  The big ending?  No.  It just kinda ends.

If you’re a big fan of the first movie, my advice is stay away.  You’re going to hate it.  Wait for cable.  You’ll thank me.  If you’re a movie freak, we’ll you’re gonna go see it.  The visuals are great, just keep your expectations low.  And if you’ve never seen the first one?  I guess you can go watch Ryan Gosling act for two and a half hours.

I give Blade Runner 2049 a disappointing 5 out of 10 keggers.  And seriously, could you not throw Sean Young a bone?