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And did he really accept them as "humans"?

If so why didn't he quit his job?

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Um, have you actually seen the movie? That's sort of what the whole story is about. –  Royal Canadian Bandit Apr 17 at 9:07
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OK, I'm going to have a go at answering this. FYI, describing Blade Runner as a "shitty movie" is not a popular opinion. ;-) –  Royal Canadian Bandit Apr 17 at 9:13
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IMO A question, even if it's not as well researched or long-windedly stated as some would like, but elicits good or great edifyingly informative answers, should not be down voted. –  Morgan Apr 17 at 16:31

2 Answers 2

Firstly, he did quit his job - that's the conclusion of all of the versions of the film. From the script:

Gaff: You've done a man's job, sir. I guess you're through, huh?

Deckard: Finished.

Moreover, he began the narrative having already quit the job, and had to be blackmailed into returning to it.

Deckard:I don't work here anymore. Give it to Holden, he's good.

Bryant: I did. He can breathe okay as long as nobody unplugs him. He's not good enough, not good as you. I need you, Deck. This is a bad one, the worst yet. I need the old Blade Runner, I need your magic.

Deckard: I was quit when I come in here, Bryant, I'm twice as quit now.

Bryant: Stop right where you are. You know the score pal. If you're not cop, you're little people.

Deckard: No choice, huh?

Bryant: No choice pal.

During his pursuit of the replicants, which involves him becoming familiar with the complexities of their daily emotional and practical lives, their histories, and their personalities, Deckard comes to the conclusion that replicants are at least as human as he is. This is particularly the case with Rachael, to whom he becomes sexually attracted, and who he eventually comes to love. In short, his empathy for the replicants changes his mind about whether it's okay for him to kill them.

That said, police officers are often called upon to use lethal force against people, so the issue of whether replicants are human may be less germane than the issue of whether it's ethical (or humane, if you prefer) to kill at all (especially as a job), or whether it's acceptable to kill people you empathise with.

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It's one thing to "use lethal force" against people who are trying to kill you or innocent bystanders. It's very different when the purpose of your job is to hunt down and kill people whose very existence is illegal. To put it mildly, the latter is more problematic from a moral standpoint. –  Royal Canadian Bandit Apr 17 at 11:00
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Quite. This is why this is an enduringly interesting film. The existential questions of power, authority, and what it is, to quote Roy Batty, to be a "good man" are explored in a very complex way. Most impressive, perhaps, is the fact that it can be watched as a thriller without the philosophy interfering with the fun and games (and vice versa). –  Cugel Apr 17 at 11:07
    
+1 Great answer. Much has been said about Bryant's threat, "if you're not a cop you're little people". What exactly does he mean? What would happen if Deckard went ahead and quit? Some think Bryant is implying Deckard is indeed a replicant hired to do a bounty hunter's job, whether he knows it or not. So quitting would not really be an option, unless he wants to get "retired" as well. I'm not sure I suscribe to this theory, because for the threat to work it would require that Deckard knows he is a replicant. –  Andres F. Apr 17 at 13:44
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I think the assumption is that the majority of people, especially the political classes who previously maintained an ordered civil society, have left for the off world colonies, and that those who remain (in the book, those with radiation-induced mental and physical illnesses, criminals and other non-conformists) are kept in check by a police force that doesn't answer to anyone. Hence, if Deckard doesn't do what he's told, he can expect serious consequences - arrest, imprisonment or worse - and he'd have no recourse to a higher authority. –  Cugel Apr 17 at 14:48
    
@Cugel You're right, that makes more sense and works regardless of Deckard being a replicant or not. –  Andres F. Apr 17 at 15:18

SPOILERS BELOW. Blade Runner came out 32 years ago, but on the off chance you haven't seen it, look away now.

  1. At the start of the film, Deckard is retired and reluctant to come back to work -- so he may already have been disillusioned with "retiring" replicants.

  2. Throughout the film, there is a conflict between Deckard's desire to do his job, and his growing doubts about killing replicants. This is motivated in part by his increasing fondness (perhaps love) for the replicant Rachel. Also, Deckard may be starting to suspect that he himself is a replicant.

  3. After Deckard kills Pris, he chases Roy through the derelict apartment building. He ends up clinging precariously to a rooftop, about to fall at any moment.

  4. The replicant Roy Batty reaches down and saves Deckard's life.

  5. Roy then dies. Importantly, Deckard does not kill him. Instead, he expires from "old age", because replicants have only a four year lifespan.

  6. At the end of the film, Rachel is a fugitive. She is valuable property of the Tyrell Corporation, and it will want her back. Deckard has no intention of returning her. Instead they go on the run together, which (obviously) requires Deckard to quit his job.

Obviously, (4) is a key turning point. After that, Deckard doesn't want to kill any more replicants, so he will no longer be a Blade Runner.

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Great answer. If you subscribe to the theory that he's a replicant, you'll need to add 7) Because he's not programmed to... –  Richard Apr 17 at 9:29
    
@Richard I don't think replicants are "programmed", since they are implied to be biological entities. More likely indoctrinated. Furthermore, the pyschology of the specific Nexus 6 model is so complex that Tyrell has a hard time keeping them under control, which is why he experiments with memory implants. –  Andres F. Apr 17 at 13:41
    
+1 By the way, I agree this is a good answer! –  Andres F. Apr 17 at 13:42
    
@Richard Or, you know, it could be because he found out he's a Replicant at the end of the movie. –  Zibbobz Apr 17 at 13:50

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