This is a film I avoided in the past because of its reputation for how bad it was. How much it disgraced the legacy and lore of Highlander. About as badly as Disney disgraced the legacy and lore of Star Wars. About as badly as Universal Pictures and MGM and Lashana Lynch will disgrace the 007 legacy (which was already being put through the grinder with the last film bringing back Blofeld; you know this franchise has the wrong creative team behind it when they’re so reliant on the past and superior Bond films that they’re dredging up old villains, even by their name). And about as badly as the 2020 election disgraced elections by removing any semblance of integrity that remained (including the false ones; it’s one thing to say we’re going to get a dumbfuck president who won’t last his entire term just because a bunch of other brainwashed dumbfucks voted him in, it’s another to steal the election because there weren’t enough dumbfucks to vote him in legally, and that’s saying a lot considering election integrity has been on thin ice for the past 20 years; it was eventually going to break).
Well, avoid it I no longer will. Is it as bad as people make it out to be? Hell yeah it is! This fully lives up to its reputation of ramming the original Highlander film’s lore up the ass with a sandpaper condom with cacti glued all around it. This film doesn’t give a fuck about being true to the lore and history of the previous film. It wanted to, say it with me folks, tell an environmental message. A message about how we’ve fucked up the Earth so badly the ozone layer is no longer capable of protecting the planet from UV rays/radiation as well as it did in the past. So Highlander’s girlfriend from the past film dies as a result of sunburns, which causes MacLeod to become a scientific genius who works with other scientific geniuses to build a structure that generates an electro-magnetic shield around the Earth to protect it from UV radiation. What the fuck allowed him to get so scientifically-minded and qualified so quickly, by the year 1999, when the shield went into effect until the distant future of 2024?
“I know how we can make this whole thing work. Each time I cut someone’s head off, a bunch of lightning generates around me and blows windows and cars up! Give me a dozen people, like bastards from prison who are on death row, and I’ll slice off all their heads in one fell sweep. That way, I’ll generate so much lightning and electricity it will shoot out of my ass and power up this structure permanently!”— MacLeod
And it worked. So then he grows old as a mortal, and then gets hit on by some eco-terrorist chick with a heart of gold. And the only time we see her doing eco-terror shit is at the beginning of the film when her and a small team break into the corporate/science techno-babble building to learn what sciency crap they need to learn that’s relevant to the plot. Naturally, she goes to old man MacLeod with this information to try to get him to do something, but he’s too old and tired for that. Next thing you know, warriors from the past (or from another planet, or both; it depends on which version of the movie you’re watching, it’s going to suck either way) show up and get in a fight with old-man MacLeod. And, naturally, he kicks their asses, chops their heads off, and becomes young and immortal again.
At that moment, the eco-chick starts making out with him in the middle of the street. A chick he only met for 5 minutes. Which I thought was hilarious. It’s at this point I thought to myself, “Next thing you know, they’ll start having sex in the middle of the street.” And then, I shit you not, I am not making this up, they start having sex in the middle of the street. To which I go, “WHAT THE FUCK!?!?! I was just joking! … Please make it long and explicit and give me more of it!” Well, maybe there’s a Highlander porno where that happens.
Then Sean Connery shows up back from the dead. Like he can just do that at will. You know, like Emperor Palpatine. He’s honestly just in this movie as a glorified cameo. He serves no purpose whatsoever to this dumbass story. None. His character could’ve been removed entirely and nothing would’ve changed. That being said, considering how dogshit this film is, this isn’t going to make it any worse. At least it helps provide the mindless entertainment one hopes to get out of something like this. Plus he gets to call people shithead. And he gets to see a flight safety video that makes me think I’m watching a Paul Verhoeven knockoff film of corporate/consumerist/political satire. I mean, say what you will about this film being trash, it at least has moments that make you laugh out loud and remain entertained.
Speaking of which, Michael Ironside. Oh man. This is one of those roles he was born to play, that every fan of his hoped he would play. He hams his role up to the extreme, does the over-the-top facial expressions, and absolutely relishes this role. He must’ve had the time of his life doing this thing. I mean, once that subway sequence happened, I knew that despite how trash this film is, I was in for a hell of a fun time.
And you know those movies where the protagonist, and maybe a sidekick or two, are in a car driving through hostile territory, and bad guys with guns are shooting at them from every which direction, filling the car full of lead, busting up windows, only for the protagonist to come out at the end unscathed (or with minor injuries)? Well, this film has a fantastic moment where that doesn’t happen. MacLeod and Sean Connery drive through a maximum security prison and get filled with lead. Blood splattering all over the place, their bodies thrashing around back and forth due to the impacts from all the bullets, their clothes torn to shreds. I clapped with glee seeing this, because this moment makes me feel completely vindicated with all those other movies that exist where the good guys avoid virtually all bullets in scenes like this, and I call bullshit, and everyone else who is watching tells me to shut the fuck up because it’s just a movie and you should just your brain off and just enjoy it. Well, now here’s a brainless film where I did shut my brain off, and even then it doesn’t insult my intelligence that much. How do you like it now you hypocritical wise-ass motherfuckers!?
Then all of a sudden the chick gets out of the trunk without a scratch, as if we’re to believe not one bullet wouldn’t fly in there and splatter her brains all over it. Well goddamnit, now no one is going to be satisfied with this sequence!
So anyway, long story short, good guys win, bad guys lose, Earth looks nice and peaceful, and another corrupt corporation is destroyed. You know, it’s not that I don’t like films that have corrupt corporations. It’s how those corrupt corporations are portrayed. One-dimensionally evil. Now for a film like this, I don’t really care, because, well, this isn’t exactly award-winning and audience-loved material we’re working with here. It’s just that I’d like to see a more honest portrayal of corporations. They can still be overall bad, don’t get me wrong. But being more specific with why and how they are bad. I mean, for fuck’s sake, this film doesn’t even really show how the corporation is being evil other than having the head honcho act evil. And I know it implies it’s for the sake of keeping the shield up so they can keep getting funds and stuff, and suppressing the populace (I guess), but it’s all so vague. Like they’re just evil for the sake of being evil. At least in the first Highlander film, when it came to the main villain, you could imagine some wacko going nuts from the concept and abilities of immortality, and the bloodlust that comes with cutting people’s heads off to gain power. Sometimes the script easily allows for one-dimensional villains.
As trash as this movie is, in hindsight, it’s damn fun. I mean sure, it’s a disgrace to the first film. But at least it can be mindless entertainment while being disgraceful, and also having some solid effort put into some of the stunts and special effects, which is more than I can say for most, if not all, mainstream films piggybacking off of established classics. Because, like the one-dimensional evil greedy corporation in this film that had good admirable intentions from the get-go (save the Earth from UV rays until the ozone layer is naturally restored), their intentions can turn from good to malicious at the turn of a hat. And 20 years is a long time to go for resisting the urge to turn a hat.