Blade Runner star Rutger Hauer wasn’t a fan of Blade Runner 2049, feeling it lacked the ‘soul’ of the original movie. While Blade Runner was a critical and commercial disappointment following its 1982 release, the film’s themes, performances and gorgeous visuals saw its reputation grow over the intervening years. That only improved with the release of a Director’s Cut in 1991, which removed Harrison Ford’s lackluster voiceover – a device forced on the film by producers – and the addition of a subplot that strongly hints Deckard (Harrison Ford) is a replicant himself.
Making a sequel to an iconic film isn’t an easy task, but judging by the overwhelmingly positive reviews for Blade Runner 2049, critics and fans seem to agree the film did a great job living up to near impossible hype. Unfortunately, that critical success didn’t translate to the box office, with the film proving to be a financial failure. Those involved with the sequel have given their own theories on why it failed to connect with viewers, with Ridley Scott himself labeling it “Too long,” and director Denis Villeneuve saying that the film’s performance probably affected its awards seasons prospects.
Now in a new interview with THR, Blade Runner star Rutger Hauer - who played replicant Roy Batty - has given his thoughts on the belated sequel, and why he wasn’t a fan:
I sniff and scratch at it. It looks great but I struggle to see what that film was necessary. I just think if something is so beautiful, you should just leave it alone and make another film. Don't lean with one elbow on the success of that was earned over 30 years in the underground.
Hauer went on to clarify that he has issues with Blade Runner 2049 that go beyond its existence in the first place:
In many ways, Blade Runner wasn't about the replicants, it was about what does it mean to be human? It's like E.T.. But I'm not certain what the question was in the second Blade Runner. It's not a character-driven movie and there's no humor, there's no love, there's no soul. You can see the homage to the original. But that's not enough to me. I knew that wasn't going to work. But I think it's not important what I think.
While Blade Runner 2049 received near universal praise, the film’s slow pace, lack of action. and 163-minute runtime were all singled out as contributing factors to its box office run. Villeneuve himself has said he’ll never get another chance to make a similar “Arthouse” blockbuster again, and while Ridley Scott has a concept for a third Blade Runner film, the odds of another sequel being greenlit currently seem remote.
It was also felt that the advertising campaign for Blade Runner 2049 was much too mysterious and enigmatic, and instead of appealing to a brand new audience, it focused on fans of the original instead. For his part, Villeneuve wishes he could have been even more secretive during the film's promotional campaign.