Nothing to lose your head over

By Fraser Tingle

The first Highlander is a cult classic and deservedly so. It had immortals, cool swordfights, Sean Connery and Queen. It’s difficult to screw up that formula, but the two subsequent sequels drove the franchise firmly into the ground. The best one can say for this fourth sequel is that it’s not as bad as the other two.

Connor MacLeod (Christopher Lambert) of the clan MacLeod is back. With 14 years between him and the first Highlander, he’s not looking very immortal anymore. The movie wisely passes the torch to TV series star Adrian Paul, who, if you can believe it, is a better actor than Lambert.

Hundreds of years ago, Connor MacLeod’s mother was burned at the stake for spawning a demon child. In a fit of rage, Connor killed his mother’s executioner. One would think such turnabout is fair play, but not the vengeful executioner’s son Jacob Kell (Bruce Payne).

A fellow immortal, Kell continually spares Connor in an effort to ultimately create a two-man revenge show down to determine who will be the "only one."

A subplot involving Duncan turning his mortal wife Kate (Lisa Barbuscia) into an immortal named Faith is underdeveloped as well as unnecessary; she ends up just being eternally pissed off. Why is she in the movie? So the director can include five or six more flashbacks, of course. Oh, and two sex scenes.

Connor, on the other hand, spends way too much time feeling sorry for himself. If he would only suck it up and get down to business instead of moping and complaining, the movie might be more exciting and less depressing.

The movie uses sped-up footage, not stylishly, but rather to trick you into thinking someone or something is actually moving that fast. Unfortunately, sped-up footage looks exactly like sped-up footage. No one is fooled and it ends up looking absurd.

Highlander: Endgame’s fight scenes are competently choreographed, are over too quickly and aren’t particularly memorable. An "unstoppable" sword move if executed properly is reminiscent of The Karate Kid. Here you almost expect Pat Morita to say Lambert’s lines. To add drama to this already mind-blowing move, there is no shortage of abandoned yet fully operational factories producing smoke, sparks and spooky atmosphere.

Highlander: Endgame is not exactly good but it’s not terrible either. If you love the series, wait for this to be released on video, and perhaps an inevitable director’s cut will almost make it worth the price of rental.


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