Blade Runner

  • Directors: Ridley Scott
  • Producers: Michael Deeley
  • Writers: Novel, Philip K Dick, Screenplay, Hampton Fancher, David Peoples
  • Genres: Action, Sci-Fi, Thriller
  • Actors: Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, Sean Young, Edward James Olmos, M Emmet Walsh, Daryl Hannah

Advances in genetic technology have allowed scientists to create sophisticated biologically-engineered humanoid beings called “replicants”. Following a violent revolt that takes place “off world,” replicants are declared illegal on Earth.

In Los Angeles, November 2019, Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford) is called out of retirement when a fellow Blade Runner, Holden (Morgan Paull) is shot administering a Voight-Kampff test to Leon (Brion James), an escaped replicant. A reluctant Deckard is brought to his old boss Bryant (M. Emmet Walsh), who informs him that the recent escape of Nexus-6 replicants is the worst yet. He orders Deckard to eliminate the four replicants, a process referred to as “retirement”. Deckard agrees to help after Bryant makes thinly-veiled threats – if Deckard is not a cop, then he is ‘little people’.

Bryant briefs Deckard on the replicants: Roy Batty (Rutger Hauer), the leader, is a “combat model”; Leon Kowalski (Brion James) is a nuclear fuel loader; Zhora (Joanna Cassidy) is an assassin built for martial arts; and Pris (Daryl Hannah) is a “basic pleasure model”. Bryant also explains that the Nexus-6 model has a four-year lifespan as a failsafe to prevent them from developing emotions and desire for independence. Deckard is then teamed with Gaff (Edward James Olmos) and sent to the Tyrell Corporation to ensure that the Voight-Kampff test works on Nexus-6 models. While there, Deckard discovers that Tyrell’s (Joe Turkel) young assistant Rachael (Sean Young) is an experimental replicant who believes she is a human; Rachael’s consciousness has been enhanced with implanted memories from Tyrell’s niece, an accomplishment with which Tyrell seems most pleased.

The producers of the film arranged for a screening of some special effects rough cuts for Philip K. Dick shortly before he died in early 1982. Despite his well known skepticism of Hollywood in principle, he became quite enthusiastic about the film. He said, “I saw a segment of Douglas Trumbull’s special effects for Blade Runner on the KNBC-TV news. I recognized it immediately. It was my own interior world. They caught it perfectly.” He also approved of the film’s script, saying, “After I finished reading the screenplay, I got the novel out and looked through it. The two reinforce each other, so that someone who started with the novel would enjoy the movie and someone who started with the movie would enjoy the novel.”[11]

Batman Begins

  • Directors: Christopher Nolan
  • Producers: Emma Thomas, Larry J Franco, Charles Roven
  • Writers: Screenplay, Christopher Nolan, David S Goyer, Story, David S Goyer, Comic Book, Bob Kane, Bill Finger
  • Genres: Action, Crime, Thriller
  • Actors: Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Liam Neeson, Katie Holmes, Gary Oldman, Cillian Murphy, Morgan Freeman, Tom Wilkinson, Rutger Hauer, Ken Watanabe

Eight-year-old Bruce Wayne falls into a well, where he encounters a swarm of bats. Later, he accompanies his parents to a production of Mefistofele, which features actors dressed as bats. Having developed a fear of bats, he urges his father to leave the opera. Outside the theater, Joe Chill mugs and kills Bruce’s parents. Although Chill is later arrested, Bruce blames himself for his parents’ murders.

Fourteen years later, Bruce returns to Gotham City from Princeton University, intent on killing Chill, whose prison sentence is being suspended in exchange for testifying against mobster Carmine Falcone. Before he can act, however, one of Falcone’s assassins kills Chill. Bruce tells his childhood friend Rachel Dawes about his plan; Appalled, Rachel tells him that his father would be ashamed of him. Bruce confronts Falcone, who tells him that he is ignorant of the nature of crime, so Bruce decides to travel the world to understand the criminal mind. He is detained for theft in a Bhutanese prison, where he meets Henri Ducard. Ducard invites Bruce to join an elite vigilante group, the League of Shadows, led by Ra’s al Ghul. Bruce is freed and travels to a mountaintop to begin his training with the League. Bruce overcomes his childhood fear of bats in the process. When he is ordered to execute a criminal and learns of Ra’s intention to destroy Gotham, he refuses and escapes by lighting the League’s temple on fire, killing Ra’s in the process. Bruce rescues an unconscious Ducard from the wreckage and leaves him at a village.

Following the battle, Batman becomes a public hero. Bruce Wayne gains control of Wayne Enterprises and installs Fox as the new CEO. However, he is unable to hold onto Rachel, who cannot reconcile her love for Bruce with his dual life as Batman. Newly-promoted Lieutenant Gordon unveils a Bat-Signal for Batman. Gordon mentions that they will have their hands full finding all of the psychopaths released from Arkham by Ra’s, and in particular notes a criminal who also has “a taste for the theatrical” and leaves Joker playing cards at all of his crime scenes. Batman promises to investigate it, and disappears into the night.

Sin City

  • Directors: Frank Miller, Robert Rodriguez, Special Guest Director, Quentin Tarantino
  • Producers: Elizabeth Avellan, Frank Miller, Robert Rodriguez
  • Writers: Frank Miller
  • Genres: Action, Crime, Thriller
  • Actors: Bruce Willis, Mickey Rourke, Clive Owen, Jessica Alba, Benicio del Toro, Brittany Murphy, Elijah Wood, Rosario Dawson, Jaime King, Michael Clarke Duncan, Alexis Bledel, Powers Boothe, Michael Madsen, Josh Hartnett, Devon Aoki, Carla Gugino, Rutger Hauer, Marley Shelton

In a penthouse on the roof of a skyscraper overlooking Basin City, a fancy party is in progress. A woman (Marley Shelton), dressed in a red evening gown, is alone on the balcony. A man (Josh Hartnett), who is narrating, walks up behind her and offers her a cigarette. They exchange some small talk, he tells her that he sees in her eyes a “crazy calm”, of someone who is tired of running, but doesn’t want to face her problems alone. He tells her that he will save her, and take her far away. They kiss, then he shoots her. She dies in his arms. He says that he does not know who she was running from, but will “cash her check in the morning.”

In the DVD commentary, Frank Miller explains that the victim in this story (the Customer of the title) is actually committing suicide. The unnamed woman had dated a mobster, and when she tried to break it off, he said that he would kill her in the most terrible way possible. She then used her connections to hire a hitman (known as the Salesman) to provide her with a quick death.

On the docks of Sin City, aging police officer John Hartigan (Bruce Willis) is attempting to stop serial child murderer Roark Junior (Nick Stahl) from raping and killing 11-year-old Nancy Callahan (Makenzie Vega). Junior is the son of the powerful Senator Roark (Powers Boothe), who has paid off many police to cover up his son’s crimes, including Hartigan’s partner Bob (Michael Madsen). Bob tries to convince Hartigan to walk away, and appears to succeed, but Hartigan sucker-punches him, knocking him out cold. Hartigan then makes his way into a warehouse, knocking unconscious two local criminals. Junior is inside with the frightened Nancy and two armed henchmen, who are making sure that Junior and Nancy “get along” before leaving them alone. Hartigan shoots and kills the henchmen, but Junior shoots Hartigan in the shoulder, grabs Nancy and runs out to the docks. Hartigan catches up to Junior and shoots off his ear, causing him to drop Nancy. He then shoots off Junior’s hand and genitals, before being shot in the back several times by Bob, who has recovered. Bob tells Hartigan to stay down, but Hartigan knows he must buy time for backup to arrive (as Bob will kill Nancy if they are alone) so he tries to pull his reserve gun, causing Bob to shoot him several more times. As the sirens approach, Hartigan lapses into unconsciousness knowing that Nancy is safe, justifying himself with the words “An old man dies, a little girl lives; fair trade.”

An injured Becky departs from a hospital, talking on a cell phone with her mother. While riding in the elevator, she is met by the Salesman. Stunned, Becky hangs up the phone. The Salesman offers Becky a cigarette, implying that he was going to kill her, since he also offered the customer from Act 1 a cigarette, but it cuts to black before anything is done.