Much to our chagrin.
Well, I am typing this review up at about 4:20 in the morning, after having endured the director's cuts of each previous Highlander, watched a few more episodes of the series, and successfully ransacked my living space to find my keys. And, having done all of this, I offer to you this critic's opinion of Highlander: Endgame.
There was a joke on Mad About You a while back that referred to what the title of Die Hard 4 would be... Die Already. Going into Highlander: Endgame, anyone who has endured the three prior films and is still left standing comes in with the same kind of attitude. Have the gathering already and be done with it... just don't have us hear either Duncan or Connor MacLeod introduce themselves one more time... we're sick of hearing it.
This time around, we get a spin off of both the series and the franchise itself... which means we get to meet Connor, Duncan, Duncan's immortal wife, that other 5,000 year old guy Methos, the watchers... just about everyone is here, and more heads are being lost than in France circa 1780.
Viewed as a stand-alone film, Highlander: Endgame posses all of the elements of a straight-to-video action movie. Cheap special effects that look cool, weak characters that still pull heartstrings, and a bunch of actors no one really knows unless you have seen this or that obscure flick. And, taking that view, one wonders why the hell I even had to watch Highlander: Endgame in theatres.
Regardless, due to the fact that I have some responsibility to inform you and thus empower you to make the decision to not waste $8 to see Endgame, I should tell you about the plot. The watchers, who basically work part-time to keep count of the battle between immortals (I suppose it pays better than, say, the Army Reserve) run a place called The Sanctuary, which a psychotic immortal (there's one in every Highlander) called Kell (Bruce Payne) and his band of immortal cronies raid and destroy... despite the fact that it is on Holy Ground and killing immortals on Holy Ground is one of those Highlander no-nos. Once again, it is up to the Highlander(s) to stop the psycho, and this brings in a kitschy Sean Connery/Christopher Lambert like relationship between Connor (Lambert) and Duncan (Adrian Paul) and an even more kitschy relationship between Faith (one of those aforementioned no-names) and Duncan, who were once married until Duncan stabbed her in the stomach to make sure they could be together forever. (Wasn't that the defense of some murderer a ways back?)
The action sequences are decent, but the effects end up so god-awful towards the end (such as a terrible face-morph from Duncan's face to Connor's and back again) that all you can do is cringe. In fact, the only good thing you can get out of Highlander: Endgame is watching obscure Kung Fu actor Donnie Yen kick some ass, and that only lasts about 30 seconds.
What is really pitiful is that, when all is said and done, Highlander: Endgame isn't really the end. There are still more heads to chop off, and at least two immortals remain on the face of the planet. Which does explain (and I say this was about as much rancor as a man anticipating a root canal) why one of the four former titles -- Highlander: World Without End -- was changed.
Definitely no product placement here.
Run time: 87 mins
In Theaters: Friday 1st September 2000
Box Office USA: $12.0M
Distributed by: Miramax Films
Production compaines: Davis-Panzer Productions, Dimension Films
Contactmusic.com: 1.5 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 11%
Fresh: 6 Rotten: 48
IMDB: 4.5 / 10
Director: Douglas Aarniokoski
Producer: Peter S. Davis, William Panzer
Screenwriter: Joel Soisson
Starring: Christopher Lambert as Connor MacLeod, Bruce Payne as Jacob Kell, Adrian Paul as Duncan MacLeod, Donnie Yen as Jin Ke, Lisa Barbuscia as Kate MacLeod / Faith, Beatie Edney as Heather MacLeod
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