Highlander II: The Quickening Movie Review
Today, 18 years, four sequels, two TV shows, and one video game later, Highlander has become a bit of a joke. And here's where the joke started: Highlander II: The Quickening -- retitled simply Highlander 2 for what is the most inexplicable double-DVD release ever to hit video stores.
Urban legend states that Sean Connery had contracted to do a sequel when the original was released, so the studio would be foolish not to take him up on that offer. Unfortunately, Connery's character was killed in the first episode -- along with every other immortal except for Connor MacLeod (Christopher Lambert). Highlander 2 picks up in the future, with MacLeod's immortality now at an end, and our beloved Highlander a raspy-voiced old man. Meanwhile, in the real world, the earth's ozone layer has been destroyed, so a megacorporation has constructed an "electromagnetic shield" to keep out the radiation. Megacorporation is evil, of course... and in the last decade or so, the ozone layer may have gotten all better on its own!
We can't very well have the geriatric Highlander doing battle with the bad businessmen, so director Russell Mulcahy does the only thing he can do: He throws logic out the window and flashes back to Ramirez (Connery) and MacLeod in the past: Turns out they're aliens, exiled, just like Superman II's Zod, to Earth. While this may explain how a Spaniard has a Scottish accent, it's an absurd notion. It only gets worse from there, with MacLeod getting younger (and immortal) again, more bad immortals popping onto the scene, and Virginia Madsen joining the rush to destroy the archetypal shield machine in the bad business complex.
Incomprehensible doesn't even begin to explain it. This movie is the equivalent of the "Hey look over there!" gag. You look, and the guy you wanted to beat up has run away and hid.
As mentioned, now we have this two-disc DVD business. A lot of work has inexplicibly gone into cleaning up the movie with digital effects, turning the old red electromagnetic shield with a laser-ish blue one. Over 100 new effects have been added or spruced up for the DVD, and sure it looks really good, but it unfortunately still doesn't make a lick of sense. The primary disc includes a "jump to behind the scenes" feature, where you can check out outtakes and the like during the film. Disc two has all the restoration material (non-jokingly titled "The Redemption of Highlander 2"), featurettes about the music and the fabric (seriously, the fabric) of the movie, and deleted scenes (listen for the best line ever: "A dream can live forever in your heart!"). You will have to be a die-hard fan to invest in this. Either that, or putting together a Showgirls-Gigli-Highlander II triple feature.
"There can be only one?" You better believe it.