Let's fast-forward to the ending, where Roy Batty (Wonderful name for a villain, don't you think?) has quite literally met his maker, and is basically told there's nothing to be done. No, it's even worse than that. The proverbial Wizard of Oz just told Roy that not only will he die for no reason, but that his maker has a genetic disorder that will cause him to die early too. Much like a son learning he has a fatal genetic condition, hearing "it's okay because Dad is dying too" doesn't help. Roy monologues about how he's stronger than humans, his mind is faster, his eyes can see spectrums that we just can't, yet he has to die because he was programmed with the same weakness as his creator. The conflict of love and hate for his creator comes to a head literally -- Roy both kisses and then smashes the head of his "parent."
This alone would be enough to make guys cry. The idea that we are mortal is something most men like to forget, because projecting the illusion of invulnerability is considered the job of being a man. Learning that your parents are not invulnerable is a huge blow as well. Not only is there the realization that you'll lose them one day, but that you can die if they can. So to find out that you're dying, your parents are dying, and no one can do anything about it is maddening. But the movie wasn't done with us yet.
Indiana Solo bursts in, fresh from killing all the other Cylons. Robo-Rutger chases him over rooftops, all the while his body shutting down. Han Ford misses a jump, and would have fallen to his death were it not for the bad guy saving him FOR NO APPARENT REASON! At least that's the face Harrison gives.
But we know the reason, seeing Rutger's motivation through the film. He didn't want to kill people, just to live. Now that he felt his body dying and knew what that meant, there was no need to have Harrison die. On top of that, Roy can live on past his deactivation symbolically as the person -- person --that saved Deckard's life. In the final proof of "#NotAllSynthetics," Rutger shows compassion and empathy, something that Ford's test was supposed to not find in replicants. Sucks to be you, Harrison!
As Indiana Jones stares wildly confused as to why he was rescued, we are treated to a now-famous monologue by the dying Rutger. In what would later be admitted as complete improvisation, he muses on all his experiences and memories being lost in his death, like tears in the rain.
Just meditate on the depressing futility of that last line, and the soul-crush it delivers. THAT is why Blade Runner makes guys cry. Not only is this a macho movie to a degree, it's an apt sci-fi analogy of a real human condition. Men grow up in the shadows of their fathers, whether present or absent. Roy had to grow up and face his own mortality in the shadow of actual humans, and then he had to accept how insignificant his life is relative to the big picture. In dying, Roy finally graduated from a mere imitation of sentience to actual sentience. It's beautiful and tragic.
Also, there's unicorns!
Like what you see? Secure enough in your masculinity for more? Dan also works on No Right Answer, the weekly debate show that knows what's really important: Pointlessly arguing about geek culture.