Blade Runner UHD Review

Ridley Scott's classic shines on 4K UHD Blu-ray. 5 Stars

To help commemorate the film’s 35th Anniversary and as a tie-in to the upcoming theatrical release of Blade Runner 2049, Warner Bros. has released Blade Runner: The Final Cut on 4K UHD Blu-ray, utilizing the 4K digital intermediate and upgrading the audio to Dolby Atmos. Although there has been some confusion over what special features were supposed to be included in this multi-disc set (due to a packaging error), the transfer alone validates an upgrade to this release.

Blade Runner (1982)
Released: 25 Jun 1982
Rated: R
Runtime: 117 min
Director: Ridley Scott
Genre: Sci-Fi, Thriller
Cast: Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, Sean Young, Edward James Olmos
Writer(s): Hampton Fancher (screenplay), David Webb Peoples (screenplay), Philip K. Dick (novel)
Plot: A blade runner must pursue and try to terminate four replicants who stole a ship in space and have returned to Earth to find their creator.
IMDB rating: 8.2
MetaScore: 89

Disc Information
Studio: Warner Brothers
Distributed By: N/A
Video Resolution: 2160p HEVC w/HDR
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
Audio: Dolby Atmos, English 7.1 Dolby TrueHD, Spanish 5.1 DD, French 5.1 DD, Other
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French, Other
Rating: R
Run Time: 1 Hr. 57 Min.
Package Includes: UHD, Blu-ray
Case Type: 4-disc UHD keepcase
Disc Type: UHD
Region: All
Release Date: 09/05/2017
MSRP: $41.99

The Production: 4.5/5

Much has been written about Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner, a cult film turned science fiction classic, that writing a plot summary or trying to provide my two cents on what I thought of the film are almost pointless. It’s been 35 years since its initial theatrical release, and possibly more versions of the film than you can count on one hand. The definitive version, though, is most definitely The Final Cut, the only version that was personally supervised and approved by the director. In 2007, for its 25th anniversary, had the original camera negatives scanned at 4K resolution (with 65mm effects elements scanned at 8K), a few effects elements re-created to fix very noticeable flaws in the film (such as Zhora’s death scene), re-edited to Ridley Scott’s original vision (adding footage such as the infamous unicorn scene and deleting the tacked on happy ending and mind-numbing narration), visual cleanup (including removing noticeable wires, as well as baked-in scratches and dirt), and re-mixed in 5.1 surround. This all culminated in a 5-disc set released on DVD, Blu-ray, and HD-DVD that included five known versions of the film (including The Final Cut with three commentary tracks, US Theatrical cut, International Cut, the so-called Director’s Cut from 1992, and the infamous 70mm workprint), a nearly 3 ½ hour documentary on the making of the film entitled Dangerous Days, and a disc of archival supplements.

Five years ago, Warner re-issued much of that same material in a 3-disc Bliu-ray digibook as a 30th anniversary edition, keeping the four theatrically released versions (over two discs) and combining the two discs of supplementary material on to one Blu-ray, yet deleting the workprint version.

It is now 35 years since Blade Runner was released to theaters, with a sequel, Blade Runner 2049, due in theaters next month, and Warner Bros. has released Blade Runner: The Final Cut on 4K UHD Blu-ray. The film, essentially a film-noir set in the future, still holds up very well, with terrific performances by Harrison Ford as Blade Runner Rick Deckard, Sean Young as replicant love interest Rachel, Rutger Hauer as the rebellious replicant Batty who wants to live beyond his four year life span, Edward James Olmos as Officer Gaff, and the great character actor M. Emmet Walsh as Captain Bryant. Of course, the only thing dating the film is its setting, Los Angeles of November 2019. Look beyond that, and Blade Runner is a visual and cerebral treat.

Video: 5/5

3D Rating: NA

As I mentioned above, Warner Bros. created a 4K digital intermediate of Blade Runner: The Final Cut back in 2007, so it is no surprise that the film looks splendid on 4K UHD Blu-ray. Detail is unsurpassed, colors more life-like, thanks to HDR, which also provides stronger contrast that yields deeper blacks with very strong shadow detail. The opening shots are even more breath-taking than ever before, with the smoke and smog, as my wife put it, so realistic you could almost feel it. Film grain has been kept intact, never obtrusive. This is how classic movies should look, and is definitely yet another disc worthy of being called demo material.

Audio: 5/5

Warner has upgraded the original 5.1 mix to Dolby Atmos with a Dolby TrueHD 7.1 core. I recently moved and do not have Dolby Atmos set up yet in my new home, but my current environment is equipped with 7.1, and Blade Runner with the additional rear surrounds, is a very active track, with vehicles travelling from one end of the room to another, yet also can be very subtle during its street scenes with discrete crowd or traffic sounds emanating from behind you. LFE is strong, too, without being overly boomy. Yet, dialogue remains intelligible throughout, never getting lost in the mix. I’ll report back on how it performs in an Atmos 5.1.2 environment as soon as my other room is completed.

Special Features: 3/5

There has been some confusion over what discs and extras should be included on this set, and that is due to an assembly issue during the initial production run, which affected mostly screener copies that were sent out by the studio, although apparently some of those did make it to retail shelves. This set is supposed to include the three Blu-ray discs from the 30th Anniversary Edition, but some copies went out with only discs one and two on Blu-ray and a DVD of Dangerous Days (from the 5-disc 25th Anniversary Edition). If you received the DVD instead of the Blu-ray of extras, I believe if you go to https://www.warnerbros.com/customer-service and complete the form, the studio should get back to you on how to obtain a replacement disc. Anyway, here is a list of what is supposed to be included in this set:

Blade Runner: The Final Cut 4K UHD Disc
Introduction by Ridley Scott (1080p; 0:35)

Audio Commentary with Director Ridley Scott

Audio Commentary with Writer/Executive Producer Hampton Francher, Writer David Peoples, Producer Michael Deeley, and Production Executive Katherine Haber

Audio Commentary with Syd Mead, Lawrence G. Paul, David L. Snyder, Douglas Trumbell, Richard Yuricich, and David Dryer

Blade Runner: The Final Cut 4K Remastered Trailer (2160p w/HDR; 2:31)

Blade Runner: The Final Cut Blu-ray Disc 1
Introduction by Ridley Scott (480i; 0:35)

Audio Commentary with Director Ridley Scott

Audio Commentary with Writer/Executive Producer Hampton Francher, Writer David Peoples, Producer Michael Deeley, and Production Executive Katherine Haber

Audio Commentary with Syd Mead, Lawrence G. Paul, David L. Snyder, Douglas Trumbell, Richard Yuricich, and David Dryer

Blu-ray Disc 2
Dangerous Days: The Making of Blade Runner (480i; 3:33:57)

The Electric Dreamer: Author Philip K. Dick (480i; 14:23)

Sacrificial Sheep: The Novel vs. The Film (480i; 15:10)

Philip K. Dick: The Blade Runner Interviews

Signs of the Times: Graphic Design (480i; 13:41)

Fashion Forward: Wardrobe and Styling (480i; 20:41)

Screen Tests: Rachel and Pris (480i; 8:55)

The Light That Burns: Remembering Jordan Cronenweth (480i; 20:03)

Deleted and Alternate Scenes (480i; 47:41)

On The Set (480i; 14:21)

Convention Reel (480i; 13:16)

Behind the Scenes Outtakes (480p; 8:44)

1981 Teaser Trailer (480i; 1:42)

1982 Theatrical Trailer (480p; 3:38)

1982 TV Spot (480p; 0:33)

1992 Director’s Cut Trailer (480p; 1:35)

2007 Dangerous Days Teaser Trailer (480i; 1:36)

2007 Final Cut Trailer (480p; 2:27)

Promoting Dystopia: Rendering the Poster Art (480i; 9:38)

Deck-A-Rep: The True Nature of Rick Deckard (480i; 9:34)

Nexus Generation: Fans & Filmmakers (480i; 21:52)

Blu-ray Disc 3
Blade Runner (1982 US Theatrical) (1080p; 1:57:16)

Blade Runner (1982 International Theatrical) (1080p; 1:57:25)

Blade Runner (1992 Director’s Cut) (1080p; 1:56:34)

Introduction by Ridley Scott: 1982 US Theatrical (480i; 0:34)

Introduction by Ridley Scott: 1982 International Theatrical (480i; 0:28)

Introduction by Ridley Scott: 1992 Director’s Cut (480i; 0:37)

Digital Copy: An insert contains a code to redeem a digital copy through Ultraviolet partners.

Overall: 5/5

Despite the mix-up regarding special features on some copies, the video and new Dolby Atmos audio mix make this a worthy upgrade.

Published by

Todd Erwin

author,editor

16 Comments

  1. Craig BeamCorrection: the 30th Anniversary Blu-ray does include the workprint version (I just checked mine to make sure).

    You may be correct, and I will update my review as soon as Warner sends me the corrected Blu-ray Disc 2 for this set to confirm.

  2. Todd ErwinYou may be correct, and I will update my review as soon as Warner sends me the corrected Blu-ray Disc 2 for this set to confirm.

    There's no may about it. Craig is correct. Disc 3 of the 30th Anniversary release, which is a Blu-ray disc not a DVD contains the workprint version along with the Dangerous Days doc and other special features.

  3. ScottJHThere's no may about it. Craig is correct. Disc 3 of the 30th Anniversary release, which is a Blu-ray disc not a DVD contains the workprint version along with the Dangerous Days doc and other special features.

    And like I said, I will update my review once I receive the corrected disc from the studio.

  4. Todd ErwinAnd like I said, I will update my review once I receive the corrected disc from the studio.

    From your review:

    Five years ago, Warner re-issued much of that same material in a 3-disc Bliu-ray digibook as a 30th anniversary edition, keeping the four theatrically released versions (over two discs) and combining the two discs of supplementary material on to one Blu-ray, yet deleting the workprint version.

    This is incorrect. You aren't referencing the new 4K set at this point in your review; you're referencing the 30th anniversary set from five years ago, which has nothing to do with the new 4K release, and does in fact include the workprint version. Any disc from the 4K set, corrected or otherwise, isn't relevant.

  5. Regarding this 4K/UHD release is that all the material on Blu-ray Disc 2 is either in 480i or 480p so it really doesn't make a difference if it's on a Blu-ray or DVD. Hell, I'll just keep the 2007 BD Release with the Workprint in 1080p on Blu-ray along with all of the Bonus Material that is on DVDs. Selling it isn't going to give me much in return so it's basically sunken cost anyway.

  6. By the way, during my viewing of this 4K/UHD release my disc froze for about 30 seconds at the 63 minute 12 second mark before continuing on. Layer change???? Anyhow, as impressed I was about the video of this disc, I was more impressed by the Dolby Atmos track. I just had an audio calibration done the other day so this was my first Dolby Atmos soundtrack that I heard in its entirety since then. It was fantastic!

  7. Robert CrawfordBy the way, during my viewing of this 4K/UHD release my disc froze for about 30 seconds at the 63 minute 12 second mark before continuing on. Layer change???? Anyhow, as impressed I was about the video of this disc, I was more impressed by the Dolby Atmos track. I just had an audio calibration done the other day so this was my first Dolby Atmos soundtrack that I heard in its entirety since then. It was fantastic!

    Are you using in ceiling speakers with your Atmos system or Atmos enabled speakers that use ceiling reflection?

  8. Robert CrawfordBy the way, during my viewing of this 4K/UHD release my disc froze for about 30 seconds at the 63 minute 12 second mark before continuing on. Layer change???? Anyhow, as impressed I was about the video of this disc, I was more impressed by the Dolby Atmos track. I just had an audio calibration done the other day so this was my first Dolby Atmos soundtrack that I heard in its entirety since then. It was fantastic!

    I just experienced a big problem at about 69 minutes as Rachel and Dekard go to his apartment. Freeze up, stuttering, pixelation…..I could not get it to play through that section, and gave up.

    The player is a Sony X800, which has had some reports of QC issues, but I have played one other 4K disc and numerous DVDscand BRs without issues. The disc did have a coupe finger prints, and a couple minor smudges toward the center, but nothing that I would expect to cause issues.

    Hard to say if it is the disc or the player, but I will play around with it tomorrow and see if it is repeatable.

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