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Blade Runner 2049 is a 2017 American science fiction film directed by Denis Villeneuve and written by Hampton Fancher and Michael Green. A sequel to the 1982 film Blade Runner, the film stars Ryan Gosling and Harrison Ford, with Ana de Armas, Sylvia Hoeks, Robin Wright, Mackenzie Davis, Carla Juri, Lennie James, Dave Bautista, and Jared Leto in supporting roles. Set thirty years after the first film, Gosling plays K, a blade runner who uncovers a secret that threatens to instigate a war between humans and replicants.
Principal photography took place between July and November 2016, mainly in Budapest, Hungary. Blade Runner 2049 premiered in Los Angeles on October 3, 2017 and was released in the United States in 2D, 3D and IMAX on October 6, 2017. The film was praised by critics for its performances, direction, cinematography, musical score, production design, and faithfulness to the original film. Despite positive reviews, the film was a box office disappointment, grossing just $92 million in North America and $259 million worldwide.
Blade Runner 2049 received five nominations at the 90th Academy Awards, including Best Production Design, Best Visual Effects and Best Cinematography. It received eight nominations at the 71st British Academy Film Awards, including Best Director, Best Cinematography, Best Production Design and Best Special Visual Effects.
In 2049, replicants (bioengineered humans) are servants and slaves in society. K, a replicant, works for the LAPD as a “Blade Runner”, an officer who hunts down and “retires” (kills) rogue replicants. At a protein farm, he retires rogue replicant Sapper Morton and finds a box buried under a tree. The box contains the remains of a female replicant who died during an emergency caesarean section, demonstrating that replicants can reproduce sexually, previously thought impossible. K’s superior Lieutenant Joshi is fearful this knowledge could lead to a war between humans and replicants. She orders K to find and retire the replicant child to prevent the truth from coming out.
K visits the Wallace Corporation headquarters (the successor-in-interest in the manufacturing of replicants to the Tyrell Corporation, which went out of business), where the deceased female is identified from DNA archives as Rachael, an experimental replicant designed by Dr. Tyrell. K learns of Rachael’s romantic ties with former blade runner Rick Deckard. Wallace CEO Niander Wallace wants to discover the secret to replicant reproduction to expand interstellar colonization. He sends his replicant enforcer Luv to steal Rachael’s remains from LAPD headquarters and follow K to Rachael’s child.
At Morton’s farm, K sees the date 6-10-21 carved into the tree trunk and recognizes it from a childhood memory of a wooden toy horse. Because replicants’ memories are artificial, K’s holographic girlfriend Joi believes this is evidence that K was born, not created. K burns down the farm and leaves. He searches the LAPD records and discovers twins born on that date with identical DNA aside from the sex chromosome, but only the boy is listed as alive. K tracks the child to an orphanage in ruined San Diego, but discovers that the records from that year are missing. K recognizes the orphanage from his memories, and finds the toy horse where he remembers having hidden it.
Dr. Ana Stelline, a designer of replicant memories, confirms that his memory of the orphanage is real, and K concludes that he is Rachael’s son. At the LAPD headquarters, K fails a post-traumatic baseline test. He talks with his superior Joshi and lies by implying he killed the replicant child. Joshi gives K a chance to escape within 48 hours. At Joi’s request, K transfers Joi to a mobile emitter, an emanator. He has the toy horse analyzed, revealing traces of radiation that lead him to the ruins of Las Vegas. There he finds Deckard, who reveals that he is the father of Rachael’s child and that he scrambled the birth records to protect the child’s identity; Deckard left the child in the custody of the replicant freedom movement.
After killing Joshi, Luv tracks K to Deckard’s hiding place in Las Vegas. She kidnaps Deckard, destroys Joi and leaves K to die. The replicant freedom movement rescues K. Their leader Freysa informs him that Rachael’s child is female and he is not Rachael’s son. To prevent Deckard from leading Wallace to the child or the freedom movement, Freysa asks K to kill Deckard for the greater good of all replicants.
Luv brings Deckard to Wallace Co. headquarters to meet Niander Wallace. He offers Deckard a clone of Rachael for revealing what he knows. Deckard refuses and Luv kills the clone. As Luv is transporting Deckard to a ship to take him off-world for interrogation by torture, K intercepts and kills Luv, but is severely injured in the fight. He stages Deckard’s death to protect him from Wallace and the rogue replicants, and leads Deckard to Stelline’s office, having deduced that she is his daughter and that the memory of the toy horse is hers. K dies peacefully from his injuries while Deckard approaches Stelline.