be only one"
New York 1985, as
the police investigate a series of murders where the only connecting them
are decapitated bodies, Brenda Wyatt (Hart) comes across evidence that this
fight may have been going on since the dawn of time. She discovers that
a group of men are drawn to the city to fight until only one is life standing
to claim the prize. For one of them, a man from the highlands of Scotland,
the fight has been ranging since 1536 because Connor MacLeod (Lambert) is
When it comes to
picking out movies from the 1980s, there can be only one that most people
will include and that is 'Highlander'.
In 1986 director
Russell Mulcahy and writer Gregory Widen created a movie that would launch
a series of films, two successful spin-off TV series and even an animated
show. 'Highlander' was a phenomenon but some would argue that only the first
movie was worth watching. The sequels and the TV series rewrote many of
the principles and rules set up in the original.
The storyline for
the first movie outlines everything you need to know. The backstory, the
gathering and a most definite and finite ending mean that this should have
been a single movie. If fact all of the spin offs contradict everything
that this movie introduces and makes the Prize worthless.
of the things that follow should not take anything away from what is a really
good fantasy movie. The idea of immortals fighting across time until only
one remains is a premise that cries out action and adventure and 'Highlander'
delivers it in spades. Typically over the top and following all of the excessive
codes and conventions of the 80s, the film's high concept is extremely well
realised and wonderfully played out. While its look and feel date the movie,
it is still far superior to any of the 'Highlander' concepts that followed.
The story by Gregory
Widen captures something that has resonated with fans since the film's release.
Immortality has always been an intriguing plotline but when you thrown in
combat for a prize that could offer the winner ultimate power, then you
will draw in fans of fantasy and sword fighting alike. The different warriors
that McCloud meets, faces and those that come together for the gathering
only add to the mythos. First you have the Kurgan, played with great relish
by Clancy Brown, the most powerful and evil of the immortals, that hunts
down his combatants to get closer to the Prize. Over the top and almost
pantomime-like in his performance, he is still imposing and menacing throughout
and this was a career-making role for the actor. Then you have Ramirez,
a Spanish nobleman and one of the oldest immortals left alive, who reveals
everything to McCloud about his immortality and the power that he now possesses.
The always-brilliant Sean Connery plays the playful Spaniard with great
aplomb, bringing both fun and seriousness' to the role of mentor.
Leading the way
is French actor Christopher Lambert as the Highlander, Connor McCloud. He
is a man who never wanted his gift and after been alive for over four and
a half centuries, the burden of being alone has made him distant and removed
from society. Over the centuries he has watched friends and loved one grow
old and die, as he never changes. This makes for a complex and almost tortured
character that Lambert can really get to grips with. A reluctant hero, McCloud
is one of the great 80s characters.
rightly failed as a cult classic. With a soundtrack provided by rock legends
Queen and the fantasy storyline that flashes back and fourth through different
time periods, this is a movie that should have been a standalone favourite
but if you forget about the awful sequels, this is one of the best fantasy
movies to emerge out of the 1980s.
PICTURE & SOUND
Presented in Widescreen 1.85:1 Anamorphic with Dolby Digital 5.1 and
dts soundtracks, the transfer is very good.
Feature Commentary with director Russell Mulcahy
The man behind the first and second Highlander movies, gives a honest
and frank account about the production of the first film. The talks passionately
about the involvement of Queen and his friendship with Freddy Mercury,
as well as how he became involved with the project as a follow up to his
music videos and his motion picture debut 'Razorback'. He talks about
how he imposed his own style on the look of the film and using the skills
he gained from this music video background. This is a decent single person
commentary and one that fans will enjoy.
Highlander Documentary (84.23 mins)
Screenwriters Gregory Widen and Peter Bellwood, director of photography
Gerry Fisher, set decorator Allan Cameron and star Roxanne Hart appear
in a German produced documentary on the making of 'Highlander'. Split
into three hearts entitled 'A Legend is Born', 'The Visual Style' and
'A Strong Woman', the documentary covers the evolution of the script and
the differences between the original story and the final version. Then
the visual style is discussed, highlighting the different eras in which
the story takes place. Lastly star Roxanne Hart talks about starring in
the movie and what it was like to work with the director and Christopher
Trailer (2.24 mins)
Watch the original theatrical trailer from 1986
Christopher Lambert Interview (8.32 mins)
The star of the film gives a frank and honest interview about the affect
the film had on his career and how he enjoyed playing the character. He
also reveals how much training he went through to train for the movies
and what it was like working with Sean Connery.
Previews of Azumi, Immortal and The Wickerman
The 'Highlander: Immortal Edition' is not quite the bonus material filled
extravaganza that fans may have been wanting. While the documentary is
OK and the commentary is good, there still could have been so much more.
This is still a decent package for fans to enjoy however.
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