Sir Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner truly is the gift that keeps on giving. Though it all but died at the box office upon its initial theatrical release back in 1982, its stunning vision of the future was slowly but surely embraced by film lovers and science-fiction aficionados, who could see beyond its unnecessary voice-over narration (by a comatose-sounding Harrison Ford) to the masterpiece that lay at is heart. That first decade culminated in the release of 1992’s Blade Runner: The Director’s Cut, which stripped the film of its narration and introduced Rick Deckard’s unicorn dream as evidence that Ford’s character may not be so different from the replicants he hunts. Then in 2007 we received The Final Cut, which polished the diamond to perfection, by fixing a couple of small lingering errors and adding a shot or two of censored footage. But even if you’ve seen all three of these cuts, you still haven’t seen all there is to see of Scott’s adaptation of author Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?.
Thankfully, some enterprising souls have compiled a B-roll cut of the film, using all of the excised footage that was not incorporated in the previous cuts. Though much of this material can be found on Blade Runner‘s five-disc Complete Collector’s Edition Blu-ray, it’s fascinating to see it laid out end to end, offering a look at what might have been. Scott’s instincts turn out to be more than correct, since there’s not much here one would deem necessary, such as the reappearance of Morgan Paull’s Holden, the first of the film’s characters to fall victim to a replicant. And there’s plenty that removes Blade Runner‘s delicate ambiguity. Like additions to such lines as Olmos’ “You’ve done a man’s job, sir”; which is now capped with “But are you sure you are a man? It’s hard to tell who’s who around here.” The final shot of Deckard and Sean Young’s Rachel driving off into the sunset is also extraneous, especially since it’s topped with Rachel’s “You know what I think? I think today is the best day of my life. You know what else I think? You and I were made for each other.” But there’s so much here that most Blade Runner fans have not seen before — including more of M. Emmet Walsh’s Bryant and Rutger Hauer’s Roy Batty — that it’s absolutely required viewing. I found it worth watching all forty-five minutes just to hear Edward James Olmos’ gruff Gaff hilariously exclaim, “I spit on metaphysics!”