In 1982, the science fiction movie Blade Runner came out. I loved it. The setting was 37 years into the future – in 2019 Los Angeles. A dreary, rainy, crowded place with a techno-Asian feel to it.
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 the Los Angeles of 2019. The replicants are the product of a powerful corporation and come in various models suitable for off-world colonization and entertainment use. Law enforcement specialized in finding and “retiring” wayward replicants are called blade runners.
Replicants are programmed with a 4-year lifespan, and the leader of the escaped group of replicants (the leader is 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 in combat – a killing machine. But instead of killing the detective, the Nexus 6 saves his life. The blade runner then quietly witnesses the Nexus 6 die as the seconds wind down on the replicant’s programmed lifespan.
Rutger Hauer came up with his 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?