Highlander (1987) / Action-Fantasy
MPAA Rated: R for strong action violence, a scene of sexuality and some language
Running Time: 110 min.
Cast: Christopher Lambert, Clancy Brown, Roxanne Hart, Sean Connery, Alan North
Director: Russell Mulcahy
Screenplay: Gregory Widen, Peter Bellwood, Larry Ferguson
Review published October 30, 2000
Of all the films I've ever seen, Highlander might rank as my favorite guilty pleasure. Granted, it doesn't make a whole lot of sense, contains some cheesy acting, bad lighting, hit-and-miss directing, and an awful screenplay, the plot and themes are so interesting that the film as a whole transcends it's b-movie nature on most levels to become something unlike any other film you may have ever seen. Highlander is a loud, raucous, ambitious and largely entertaining movie that raises many questions, answers none, and we love it all the more for it.
A Scotsman (Lambert, Highlander II) in the 16th Century is seemingly killed in battle, yet miraculously comes back to life. Thinking him embodied by demons, Connor MacLeod is banished and when he encounters an odd traveler named Ramirez (Connery, Sword of the Valiant), discovers he is an immortal and one of many that will be fighting for a prize during a time called the Gathering. Only one way to kill these immortals is by chopping off their heads, which is precisely what Connor does in the 20th Century, and draws the suspicion of the cops, including a sword expert who finds Conner intriguing. Now the immortals are all drawn to New York to battle it out, and only one will remain to claim the mysterious prize.
I believe I ultimately like this movie for having its own unique mythology, a world of beliefs and credos that would lend on to want to delve deeper into what's behind it all. Although there are hints here and there, the mystery of "why" is never revealed (yes, I suppose it was in Highlander 2, but no one, not even the staunchest Highlander fans will buy that premise), and much of the intrigue stems from searching for clues to the meaning of it all. In addition is some impressive swordplay and earth-shattering special effects that actually introduce some moments of awe amid all of the hullabaloo.
Expect nothing and be richly rewarded, Highlander is a cult classic definitely worth digging out in the stores for all action/fantasy fans. I know you may be curious but stay away from the sequels and spin-offs -- in terms of good Highlander flicks, there can be only one.
©2000 Vince Leo