Rick Deckard: Overrated!


By Carl Slaughter: With a sequel to the classic science fiction film Blade Runner on the way, it’s time to debunk the myth of Rick Deckard as the legendary Blade Runner.

Deckard is portrayed as an ace replicant hunter, the best Blade Runner in the history of blade running, so good he was brought out of retirement to find and kill 4 of the most dangerous replicants ever.

This is nonsense:

Replicants Roy Batty, Leon Kawalski, Pris Stratton, and Zhora Salome all caught Deckard by surprise.

Replicants Roy Batty, Leon Kawalski, and Zhora Salome almost killed Deckard.

Replicant Leon Kawalski disarms Deckard.

Replicant Leon Kawalski didn’t kill Deckard only because Deckard’s girlfriend replicant Rachael killed Kawalski with his Deckard’s gun.

Replicant Zhora Salome didn’t kill Deckard only because their fight was interrupted by a visitor.

Replicant Roy Batty didn’t kill Deckard only because Batty was about to die and wanted Deckard to hear his last words.

Tyrell Corporation founder Dr. Eldon Tyrell and Tyrell Corporation employee J.F. Sebastian are murdered by replicant leader Roy Batty before Deckard catches up with him.

Replicant Pris Stratton seduced Tyrell’s chess partner Sebastian into infiltrating Tryrell’s quarters before Deckard catches up with her.

All things considered, the legendary Blade Runner Rick Deckard didn’t fare any better than an average police detective.

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7 thoughts on “Rick Deckard: Overrated!

  1. Don’t get me wrong. Artistically and thematically, Blade Runner is worthy of its cult film status and its classic sci fi status. But the early portrayal of Rick Deckard as highly qualified for his task is repeatedly contradicted by the story’s action scenes. In every encounter with the replicants he’s hunting, he quickly finds himself the prey instead of the predator. By the end of the film, he is still alive and they are all dead because of luck rather than skill.

  2. Also, this same argument puts paid to the theory that Deckard is a Replicant with false memories. If you were going to build a Replicant-hunting Replicant, why would you make so much weaker and less capable than its targets that it can’t survive a fight with a Replicant? It kind of defeats the purpose.

  3. I think this list pretty much encompasses all the weaknesses of the Blade Runner script. And the cherry on top was the narration, which (mercifully) I haven’t heard since I bought my ticket in 1982. The film, despite its visual and soundtrack achievements, had an unsuccessful theatrical run for a reason, and that reason was the script.

  4. It’s a noir universe. Deckard is the best because of his ability to get jumped and beaten up and then survive by some circumstance. The police are unable to do the job, because they are noir police.

  5. Headcanon/retcon: Deckard may not be much use, but even so, he is the best there is, and anyone else would have done even worse. (I mean, what’s Edward James Olmos’s character going to do with those replicants? Wave an origami unicorn at them?)

    Slightly more serious thinking: Deckard’s characterization is something of a hangover from the original book, where he’s a standard PKD protagonist, i.e. a nonentity and a loser.

  6. He *is* capable of surviving damage from other replicants: he isn’t instantly killed. He’s dealt several death blows by human standards. Put it this way: if an Abrams tank fires a point blank shell at a Leopard tank (both top line, cutting edge armoured vehicles) and the Leopard is still combat capable that’s a heck of a tank. Deckard is designed with the knowledge the replicants are always going to get the first move, hidden as they are, amid vast crowds in a dark and massive city. Rachel doesn’t save him when she shoots that first guy. What she actually does is delay him realising he’s not human.

  7. I thought a part of the point was that the Nexus 6 replicants were physically better in every way (except the added DRM four-year lifespan) than the humans that built them and mentally such an improvement on previous generations of replicant that there was some uncertainty that the Voight-Kampff test would work on them. Deckard may well be the best blade runner that ever ran and easily able to retire earlier models. That he’s no match for the new models doesn’t take that away.

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