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Film review: Blade Runner

"Blade Runner" has a different, perhaps more typical history. When Ridley Scott turned in the movie in 1982 it was rejected by the studio, which went forward with a number of changes.

This "restored" version of "Blade Runner," released for the film's 10th anniversary - and because Scott has gone on to even greater success, especially with last year's multiple Oscar-nominated "Thelma & Louise" - is merely Scott's return to making the film represent his view.

"Blade Runner" is based on a Phillip K. Dick story and has Harrison Ford as an assassin of runaway androids in the future, which is seedy, rainy 2019 Los Angeles. The special effects and production design remain astonishing and there are several supporting actors who have gone on to greater fame - Rutger Hauer, Sean Young, Edward James Olmos and Joanna Cassidy.

The most noticeable change is the removal of the original film's obtrusive voice-over narration by Ford, which always seemed redundant with the action. It is not missed.

Scott has also added a fantasy image of a white unicorn that ties into the film's final moment, as Ford picks up a paper unicorn shaped by Olmos' character. And he's lopped off the "happy ending," which had Ford and Young flying off into the sunset, allowing a more ambiguous tone in the end. The biggest surprise comes in the moment when Hauer confronts his maker. Scott has toned down the gore, virtually eliminating the gushing blood that is in the original version.

All of these elements do improve the film, but it remains a very dark and far too long thriller with many dull moments that would serve the film better by moving along a bit faster.

The most enjoyable aspect, however, is seeing all those astonishing special effects on the big screen. If you want a front-row example of how much movies lose when they go to video, watch "Blade Runner" on TV then go see it in the theater. There's no comparison.

"Blade Runner" is rated R for violence, profanity, nudity and sex.