Monday, June 25, 2007

Monday Monologue: "Roy Batty"

Today marks the 25th anniversary of the best film of 1982, Blade Runner. It's one of the most influential movies ever made. I've lost track of the times I've seen people steal from it, particularly in the art direction/ production design world (the world that spawned auteur Ridley Scott, don'cha know?). Roy Batty (Rutger Hauer), the leader of a freethinking band of androids known as "replicants" is the best character in the movie. He's scary yet soulful and sympathetic... like a 21st century Frankenstein monster. His last line in the film is very famous but before that, and throughout this final battle, he's the only one that talks. Hauer crafts an iconic villain throughout the course of the movie providing yet another reminder that great performances can be given in any genre of film, no matter how rarely those types of star turns garner statuettes of any sort (I'd rank this performance piece above most of the Oscar nominees that year).

Despite the frequent narration in Blade Runner by Deckard (Harrison Ford), the "hero" --or anti-hero depending on how you view it -- he isn't much of a gabber. The replicants do most of the gabbing. In this scene Deckard only grunts and screams while Roy Batty chatters away. I've lifted the dialogue from this online script but I don't have the movie handy --where is that damn thing? --so, it could differ from the actual spoken dialogue a bit. Page to screen transfers being so unpredictable and all.
Not very sporting to fire on an unarmed opponent. I thought you were supposed to be good. Aren't you the good man? Come on Deckard. Show me what you're made of. Proud of yourself, little man? This is for Zhora. This is for Pris.
Come on, Deckard, I'm right here, but you've got to shoot straight.
Deckard misses on account of his hand being kinda crushed by Batty. That'll throw off your aim any day. Batty is just cruelly taunting him.

Straight doesn't seem to be good enough. Now it's my turn. I'm gonna give you a few seconds before I come. One, Two. Three, Four. -- Pris... [Roy begins howling like a wolf] (singing) I'm coming. -- Four, five. How to stay alive. -- I can see you! -- Not yet. Not... [puts spike through his hand, screaming] Deckard-- Yes... [puts head through wall.] You better get it up, or I'm gonna have to kill ya! Unless you're alive, you can't play, and if you don't play... Six, seven. Go to hell, go to heaven.
I had completely forgotten that Catwoman's awesome final breakdown in Batman Returns pays homage to this performance. The best villian of the 90s references the best of the 80s. Nice touch.

At this point Deckard finally gets a blow in. Deckard with the lead pipe on the rooftop.
Good, that's the spirit. That hurt. That was irrational. Not to mention, unsportsman-like. Ha ha ha. Where are you going?

Quite an experience to live in fear, isn't it? That's what it is to be a slave.

Deckard falls from the roof but Roy catches him with one hand, saving him and the fight abruptly ends. Rutger Hauer locks Roy's place up in the cinematic rogues gallery hall of fame with his sudden expiration.
I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the darkness at Tannhäuser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time like tears in rain.

Time to die.
Time to watch this again. It's always a thrill to experience Rutger Hauer and science fiction filmmaking hitting their prime together.


Cinesnatch said...

Weird ... I was just on set for a Rutger Hauer film (by chance, they were shooting where I cater-waiter). And I thought I saw him a couple months ago (it wasn't him) at a play in Hollywood (oxymoron?). My friend and I were saying very unflattering things about his present career while reminiscing about his older days. Thank goodness it wasn't him, because I think he heard us!

Cinesnatch said...

... I didn't see Hauer, but the medic said when she first saw him, she mistook him for a woman (he had long hair and was overweight).

Michael Parsons said...


So influential, from Battlestar to The Matrix.
Watching it again really brings back the memories.

Alanna said...

I know you love Pfeiffer, but her Catwoman as best villain of the 90s? Don't make me lol. Did you forget about one Hannibal Lechter?

PIPER said...

What an excellent scene from an excellent movie.

I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the darkness at Tannhäuser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time like tears in rain.

Incredible writing.

Good highlight.

Anonymous said...

Nat, I've never seen the theatrical cut of BR that keeps Deckard's narration - do you think the film is better or worse off without it?


better (although it does have defenders who think the narration adds the right sort of noir feeling)