A Nexus-6 on the Impermanence of Life

This is my favorite scene from one of my favorite movies, Blade Runner.

Harrison Ford plays a detective hunting a handful of artificial humans, replicants, who have killed several humans in an off-world colony and escaped into hiding in 2019 Los Angeles.

Replicants are programmed with a 4-year lifespan, and the leader of these replicants (played by Rutger Hauer) is a Nexus 6 combat unit determined to discover how to extend their lifetimes by finding their designer and getting the appropriate hack. Turns out there’s no way to extend their lives.

The detective hunts and manages to “retire” all but the leader of the escaped replicants. Then the hunter becomes the hunted.

In the climatic scene, the two battle. But the replicant is superior at combat. Instead of killing the detective, the Nexus 6 saves the detective’s life who then witnesses the death of the Nexus 6 as the seconds wind down on the replicant’s programmed lifespan.

Rutger Hauer came up with the character’s final words.

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

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 dark near the Tannhauser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time like tears in rain…..Time …to die.”

Why did the Nexus-6 save the detective’s life?

The Director’s cut is a better version of the movie. Without Harrison Ford’s narration, the movie invites a more immersive and contemplative experience — especially with the trance-inducing score.

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