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Lowdown on Highlander

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Highlander is just not a movie that stands up. I loved this movie when I was in high school, and it became the font of all quotes in university, but even during the latter, I could see its failings. It was a good-bad movie. It had fuckin’ Sean Connery in it! How could it be that bad?

Well, it’s not that bad, it just isn’t that good. The premise, the ideas, even the plot all work in its favour. It is a fantastic conceit—that immortals walk among us and they can only be killed, like some zombies, by a head-ectomy, and that the dead immortal’s power then flows into the killer, assuming it’s another immortal.

There was some artistry evident. I had a particular fondness for some of the scene transitions. Certainly there were reasons I loved the movie as much as I did, even with all its failings. And I could watch it over and over again.

No longer.

The love is still there. It is still a must-have movie for me. I’m just not going to be watching it on a regular basis. The sword fights just simply aren’t that epic any longer (kind of like Obi-Wan and Darth Vader in Star Wars!). The villain is too simplistic. The hero too clear and clean—for a man who has watched so many die, who has seen so much, Nash/Macleod really doesn’t seem touched by any of it.

It doesn’t help that studios continued to try to make money out of it long after it had proven to be a fluke—though I do hear that the TV series had its moments, I watched the pilot and watched nothing more. Christopher Lambert was also an unfortunate choice to play the iconic Highlander. He does not have the dramatic weight to pull it off. He simply can’t deliver in those scenes in which Maclead is supposed to show how much the past has touched him.

I think I should have just let it sit in the back of my brain, as a memory. I knew, of course, that re-watching it would be folly. Still, sometimes one just simply must touch the burner to see if it really is hot.

Clancy Brown, however, remains awesome. I even forgive him for Pathfinder.

The Wikipedia page for Highlander can be found here.

Some of my thoughts on Highlander and gaming can be found here.

2 thoughts on “Lowdown on Highlander”

  1. There were some deleted scenes that increase the impact of those MacLeod has left behind. A couple of them revolved around his assistant in his dealership, whom he saves as a little girl in WWII.

    However, you may be right about Lambert’s inability to pull off the lines that display that impact.

  2. I actually saw those scenes in the DVD of Highlander I got. I guess they consider it a “Director’s Cut” or something like that. And while it gives some great background, I actually don’t think it was necessary. The actress who played the assistant was capable enough of letting the audience know the two have history, and that this is more than just a business relationship, even with a couple of glances and stares in the movie (as well as her dialogue, of course).

    Also, considering one of my favourite topics of discussion with my geek crew back in the day was all the crazy scenarios throughout history that Macleod could have been inserted into, filling in his history was also unnecessary. I mean, it’s a nice little scene and all (and makes “it’s a kind of magic” a bit of a call back), but it didn’t really do much for me.

    Probably because it still had Lambert as Macleod. He’s the problem.

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