In the near future, mankind will have turned to science to explore the nearer planets of the solar system, creating machines that resemble human beings to aid & succor them in inhospitable worlds. These are called replicants, imitations of the thing itself, the human being, though they are living bodies themselves. They are said to pass IQ tests, but to lack the spontaneous reactions to matters related to morality & taste characteristic of human beings.
Fear of death drives these machines to come to Earth & assault the pyramid-headquarters of their corporation. Their short lifespan is the way humans defend themselves, given the machines’ superiority in ways that may be decisive in war: They are far stronger & more endurant, in fact they hardly feel any pain, they are faster, too. Although only one is said to have been trained as a soldier, all are better able to kill than the policemen.
Our protagonist is an aging policeman charged with catching & destroying these machines, which are not allowed to exist on Earth. He does not seem to live a happy life. He is, however, very good at what he does: His ability to detect machines would seem to be implied by his ability to detect criminals. The machine spares his life, but tells him now he knows living with fear, which is the life of slaves.
Killing his makers seems to be the conclusion to which the machine is led when once he learns he cannot avoid death. Is that revenge? If so, does not it imply that it is better never to have been born at all? The machine does not kill the policeman, but even saves his life, who had killed the other machines. The men never face their own mortality. It seems the question only occurs to the machines.
The strangest thing about these machines is that they are fearsome things. They do not obey their makers. There is no thought that they might be peaceable. This reminds us, the strangest thing about these future human beings is that they lack awareness of nature & God. Nature is no longer obvious because science & technology may offer infinite power & have made man seem always out of place in the world. Technology defends man from a terrible fate.
Our protagonist says the machines have good & bad uses; he only concerns himself with the latter. This explains why the movie never shows the good in life, whatever it might be. The machines are made to overcome finally man’s fear of death; they are god-like statues. However, they must themselves face mortality. The machine’s death scene starts from awareness of power & ends with awareness of death.
One of the most famous science-fiction movies.