“BR2: The Replicants Within” takes place two years after the film “Blade Runner” and follows a replicant prostitute named Ridley (a not-too-subtle way to honor Ridley Scott). She is one of the original Nexus-6 replicants being hunted by Deckard (Harrison Ford’s character from the original film), but she was never retired. However, her machinery is winding down and she is due to expire in two months. She is trying to get to Paris in order to expand her life span by 25 years.
Damian, Ridley’s back-stabbing boyfriend, is actually preparing to sell off her Nexus-6 brain to a French replicant company. The only person who actually cares for Ridley is her pimp.
When Ridley kills one of her tricks who happens to be a blade runner, the hunt begins. Blade Runner Hoffman is assigned the task of hunting Ridley down and retiring her before the French company acquires her.
“Blade Runner” is a difficult film to pay homage to with little or no budget. Part of the allure and power of the Ridley Scott classic was the ahead-of-its-time vision, production design and special effects. It is one of those rare films that has such needful visual elements to augment the story.
This is one of the biggest things working against “BR2: The Replicants Within.” There is no attempt to expand the look of the film past present-day Los Angeles. Part of the realism found in “Blade Runner” was the mixture of modern-day fashions with accelerated technology. Director Pozderac uses similar clothing on Hoffman (a trench coat and fedora hat), but the sets are nothing more elaborate than an apartment, an alleyway, or a bedroom. Not even small items, such as the weapons, are expanded upon and updated for the future.
Additionally, the movie is presented in black and white, except for a single shot at the end and some titles, which makes it look even more drab in contrast to the original. The cinematography is equally drab with an abundance of lock-down shots and long one-takes that linger too long on a character or scene.
It probably wasn’t a great idea to bill it as a sequel to “Blade Runner” with “BR2” in its title. Rather, it would work better as a story within the “Blade Runner” universe.
However, the story does work. It expands on the original ideas of “Blade Runner” without relying too much on the original film. In other words, if you’ve never seen “Blade Runner,” you won’t be left out in the cold. And, if you’re a “Blade Runner” fan, it’s a nice chance to see where someone else will take the story.