Dave Bautista takes the lead in a brand new Blade Runner 2049 short that’s set a year before the events of the much-anticipated sequel. Director Denis Villeneuve introduces the film, which is the second of three planned shorts that will flesh out some of the new characters viewers will meet in the sequel.
The previous short – titled 2036: Nexus Dawn – focused on Jared Leto’s Niander Wallace, the blind villain of the story. The short filled in some of the gaps between the original and Blade Runner 2049, including the fact replicants had been outlawed by the government after the “blackout” of 2022. In Nexus Dawn, Wallace speaks with government officials in an attempt to get them to lift the ban, giving them a gruesome demonstration of how loyal his new breed of replicants will be.
The new short focuses on Bautista’s Sapper Mortan, a replicant on the run who’s struggling to get by in the harsh future of 2048. The short film – directed by Luke Scott – is a good showcase for Bautista as an actor, playing a soft spoken character who tries to keep himself out of trouble, but explodes into violence when a young friend is threatened by a gang. The ending also seems to directly set up Sapper’s eventual confrontation with Ryan Gosling’s K in the sequel.
The actor previously revealed his excitement at being part of the sequel, but also that he was terrified of accidentally letting spoilers slip, stating “The NDA on that film is ridiculous.” Bautista continues to impress since breaking through as Drax in Guardians Of The Galaxy. He’s obviously convincing as an action star, but he’s shown a knack for comedy and drama too. He stole the show once again in Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol.2 and received good reviews for his dramatic work in Bushwick and as the nearly unkillable henchman Hinx in Spectre.
Only time will tell if Blade Runner 2049 will live up its processor. The movie has certainly attracted a stellar line-up of talent in front of and behind the camera, with director Villeneuve coming off the back of acclaimed movies like Arrival, Enemy and Sicario. While there’s little doubt the film will attract good reviews, the question remains whether it will be a strong commercial hit. The original film may be iconic now, but it was a critical and commercial disappointment during its original release, and it took years for its reputation to build.
The film is currently projected to make $40 million in its opening weekend, and while Blade Runner 2049 doesn’t quite feel like blockbuster material, strong word of mouth could propel it towards a healthy profit.
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