Sunday Showdown: AFI vs. IMDb (#97)

Blade Runner (AFI) vs. Gladiator (IMDb)

Or: Ridley Scott vs. himself.

I appreciate a young Harrison Ford and a robot snake lady in a clear plastic coat being shot in the back and falling – in slow motion – through multiple planes of glass as much as the next person. And I love Sci-Fi, so I always want to like Blade Runner more than I actually do in reality.

Really, Blade Runner is more neo-noir than anything. And like I said last week I find most film noirs to be gorgeously cynical.  Neo-noir is great too, even though there’s no Bogey.

There’s like seven different versions of Blade Runner now– theatrical cut, international cut, director’s cut, final cut, really-we’re-serious-this-time-final final cut, etc. If you’ve got a choice, try to watch one without Harrison Ford’s narration. Blade Runner is considerably better without the Philip Marlowe-esque narration attempt, but no matter what, the story line is a bit thin and pacing is a bit slow. But you can’t beat it in terms of atmosphere. And Harrison Ford’s fingers being broken one by one… priceless.

Gladiator, on the other hand, was just plain painful for me. It started sad and violent and ended sad and violent. Fortunately, the middle was filled with sadness and violence to break it up. Sigh.  Really, these are my least favorite kinds of films, no matter how well-acted, well-written, or well-produced.  Or how buff Russell Crowe looked:

Both movies were directed by Ridley Scott, and both have their own merits. My pick for this week, though, is Blade Runner, due to its cultural influence and cult favorite status, more than plot or story.

So after Week 4, score is AFI – 3, IMDb – 1.



3 thoughts on “Sunday Showdown: AFI vs. IMDb (#97)

  1. So… this is where we diverge. Here’s the thing, I’m not a big Gladiator fan. I find it enjoyable, but nothing more. The problem is that I find Blade Runner incredibly over rated. Now, I admit, I’ve only seen one version (and hell if I know which one it was). I don’t think it was with Ford narration. Maybe that would help. I doubt it, but anything is possible. Honestly I think these are both very weak entries in both lists. You should keep a separate tally for “Audience Loses Either way” and this week would get that mark.

    • Blade Runner definitely hasn’t aged as well as one might hope. I’m trying to think of which of Scott’s movies would be a better pick for a Top 100. “Alien” shows up somewhere, I know, but I don’t think any of his others are on either list. Poor Thelma & Louise…

  2. I still have a special place in my nerdy heart for Blade Runner. I believe I found the original theatrical cut around the same time I read Gibson’s “Neuromancer” and the aesthetic just clicked for me. Granted, the middle gets bogged down into a rainy grey mess; but I still find the final act thrilling – you just know that Decker is going to bite it at any second and that there’s no way he can win the fight. And while it may be noir to the nth degree, at least it sci-fi noir. Hover cars make everything better!

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