You don't need an encyclopedic knowledge of the original to enjoy this 30-years-later sequel to Ridley Scott's groundbreaking sci-fi epic.
The new movie tells its own story, with a (mostly) new cast of characters, although the main plot thrust was launched in the original.
But there's enough context to make sense to latecomers, while longtime fans will have lots of new fodder for speculation in how it all plays out.
Incoming director Denis Villeneuve (in close collaboration with exec-producer Scott), sticks to the original theme of the first film and the Philip K. Dick story that inspired it: an existential question of the meaning of life when a breed of super-strong, machine-made androids, called "replicants," have been created to serve the master race of humans.
|Ir-replicantable: Rutger Hauer in the original|
We never feel that urgent sense of loss the renegade replicants felt in the first film, battling for their sense of human identity in the face of extinction.
Still, the movie resonates in its own way as its central mystery evolves — especially when LAPD blade runner Ryan Gosling unearths startling evidence that a replicant has given birth.
And it's great to see Harrison Ford revisiting one of his best signature roles. His testy, cynical ex-blade runner, Deckard, plays well against Gosling's smooth aplomb as they become unexpected allies in pursuit of the truth.