Judge Steve Power is immortal...no wait...he's a time travelling Alien from the planet Zeist...or is he?
Our reviews of Highlander 2: Special Edition (published August 27th, 2004) and Highlander / Highlander 2 (Blu-Ray) 25th Anniversary Collection (published January 31st, 2011) are also available.
It's time for a new kind of magic.
One of the most notoriously horrible sequels of all time has landed on Blu-ray. I dare you to buy it.
Facts of the Case
Its 2024, and the now mortal Connor MacLeod (of the Clan MacLeod) has put his all knowing mind to use, saving the world from a depleted ozone layer by erecting an energy shield around the planet in order to keep those deadly rays out. Unfortunately, it kept the other nasty business in (oops!), and the Earth has become a dark, polluted wasteland full of corporate scumbags and gothic architecture. When the villainous General Katana (Michael Ironsides, Hardwired), a figure from the Highlander's future, or was it past (I'm so confused), sends some of his cronies to kill Connor, from the future, or another planet or a parallel dimension or something…oh eff this…I give up. Not even hard drugs make this thing watchable. Sean Connery (The Rock) is back, Virginia Madsen (The Prophecy) shows up in a nice skin tight outfit, and things explode.
When we last left Connor (Christopher Lambert, Fortress) he had just vanquished the last immortal, gained the prize, and earned the right to live as a normal human with a new love and the hope of a prosperous future together. That all sounds pretty final doesn't it? Of course the original Highlander would grow from abandoned box-office dud to cult megahit in short order, and a full blown big-budget, all the trimmings sequel became a given. No one stopped a second to reflect on what was accomplished in the first film. No one bothered to ask "Is this really a good idea?"
No, it isn't. Nor is it a watchable one. There's an epic big budget feel to the proceedings: huge sets, huge action, huge drama, huge music, and huge performances. Unfortunately, the script is an atrocious wreck of a work, the sort of career bridge-burner that…well…ends careers and burns bridges.
Director Russell Mulcahey does what he can, but you can tell that this thing is an uphill battle. The version here is the "Renegade" version of the film, which features retouched special effects and story alterations that wipe out any mention of the Planet Zeist in favour of the Highlander and his homeboys being some kind of interdimensional beings from the space between spaces, or time travellers, or something. None of it makes a lick of sense, and the whole movie essentially exists to throw a whiz all over the cult not-so-classic that came before it.
The extras, hoo-boy! Well, there's a 50 minute documentary in there that shares some sparse insight on what went into the making of the film, maybe ten minutes worth. The rest of the runtime is akin to a Travel Channel feature about Argentina. Then there's a 15 minute doc about special effects being replaced, and not much of anything else worth talking about. The list on the back of the case is long, but here it's mostly fluff. Not even a commentary track.
The Rebuttal Witnesses
Lionsgate's Blu-ray treatment is actually not too shabby here. One could have just shuffled off an upsampled 1080p image onto the disc and called it a day, but outside some occasional excessive grain, and some pale black levels that actually feel like more of a stylistic choice, the movie looks pretty good. Fine detail is such that we can see Lambert's "old man" make up pretty clearly in the opening scenes, and we can study every detail of the epic-sized sets. It's not a showpiece, but it's definitely better than I expected.
The audio is also above average, with some nice surround effects and a pretty punchy score. It does a pretty good job of filling your living space, and voices come through pretty clearly.
So the disc looks and sounds OK, and if you're a kind of insane Highlander completist, you may buy this disc with confidence. If you are, however, a rational person, the contents of this particular silver platter will wreak havoc on your mind. Do not attempt to watch this film. It is out there, laying in wait in bargain areas, probably on an unassuming 'BoGo' rack, waiting. Do not travel electronics departments alone, should you make contact, back away slowly and keep your hands where this disc can see them. It can smell your fear. Fairly warned be thee, says I.
Lop it's head off! Then burn what remains! There can be only one!
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