The film is set in Los Angeles in November 2019. Humanity has created "replicants" – organic robots outwardly indistinguishable from humans, but serving as slaves used to colonize other planets. The latest models of replicants surpass their makers in physical strength and intellect. To preserve a sense of control over them, scientists install in each replicant a genetic program causing it to die after a few years of life. However, some replicants refuse to accept this, and frequently organize breakouts and rebellions in the hope of finding ways to prolong their lives. These "malfunctioning" robots are singled out for physical destruction to be effected by a special law enforcement body, known as "blade runners."
The film’s main protagonist is a former "blade runner" forced to return to work to destroy a group of latest-model replicants. In the course of performing his mission, he faces many questions and ultimately begins to doubt his own humanity.