Connor Macleod is an immortal from the Highlands of Scotland where he was banished after being mortally wounded in battle but not dying. He befriends another like himself, Ramirez, who teaches him the way of the immortals and how to kill them, for when the day of “The Gathering” comes all immortals with fight to death because in the end there can be only one.
Over the years I’ve grown to love the HIGHLANDER films for a variety of reasons and even today I find them to be guilty pleasures. Now for some reason I thought HIGHLANDER was actually HIGHLANDER 2 and then came to the realization upon watching HIGHLANDER 2 that it was the only one in the series I haven’t seen, but I’ll come back to that as I’m reviewing it for the site also. The first one is true eighties flare at its best and still stands the test of time in my eyes. Sure, some aspects of the film are a bit dated and feel out of place (I just love those white kicks Connor’s sporting in modern time) but small things aside this is still quite an amazing film.
I’ve always been a Christopher Lambert fan (of his laugh especially) and for me he’s one of the reasons this series didn’t lose its appeal as time (and sequels) wore on. He’s a fine actor and knows how to drop a funny line in the mix when needed. Sean Connery is also fun here; I missed him as James Bond so these films were the first I saw of him as a kid. Ramirez is one eccentric fellow (and to be honest, I’d love to get my hands on his wardrobe for Halloween) who brings the right sort of humanity to our immortal friends.
When it comes right down to the line, “there can be only one,” I’ve always found this concept rather odd. These guys have lived for hundreds of years and obviously befriended one another in some cases, and for what, just to kill each other down the road? It doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. Why would Ramirez bother training Connor when he could just lop off his head and be done with it, considering he must want to be the one as much as everyone else does, so baring that in mind he’d have to do it one way or another eventually so why prolong it? I guess it wouldn’t make for much of a movie if he did, plus we’d miss out on the drama surrounding his death and Connor’s revenge fuelled hatred.
HIGHLANDER is everything you’d want in a Fantasy flick; immortals, swords, lots of fighting and over the top characters. Speaking of which, Clancy Brown is awesome as Kurgan and the fact that he doesn’t just fight one epic battle at the end of the film like most villains do, instead he’s all over the place fighting everyone all movie which builds up to a better finale. This is one ingredient Hollywood has overlooked these days and why flicks like this one forever stand out. Queen put together a fantastic score here as well with a theme song that still pumps me up every time I hear it. I didn’t see too much of a difference in this Director’s Cut (and there’s not a whole lot in the special features category) but regardless, HIGHLANDER is definitely a Blu-ray you want in your collection.
Video: 1.85:1 Widescreen in 1080p HD with AVC codec. Sure, this flick is a touch dated when all’s said and done but it manages to look pretty damn good considering.
Audio: 5.1 DTS-HD in English, French and Spanish with the same subtitle options. Queen has never been on my favourites list but they do a fantastic job with the score.
Commentary (1:56:39): Director Russell Mulcahy takes us through the film and though he almost sounds like Sean Connery, the dude’s an absolute bore. Also, for the life of me, I can’t figure out what benefits this cut is sporting as far as the “Director’s Cut” goes.
Deleted Scenes (6:14): There are five scenes included here but due to editing differences there’s no audio and instead they simply added music to cover, which is fine because there’s absolutely nothing of interest (or that we haven’t already seen) to be found here.
Previews: There are a couple Lionsgate trailers that play before the feature.