|Star:||Adrian Paul, Christopher Lambert, Bruce Payne, Lisa Barbuscia|
|Cert / Year:||15 - R / 2000|
"There can be only one!" Well no, there are now four. However it may well have been better if there had only been one. Welcome to the review of Highlander Endgame (Highlander 4). This film is to the Highlander franchise what Generations is to Star Trek, an attempt to hand over from the original cast to the TV series cast.
In the highlands of Scotland (at the time of the flashbacks from first film) Connor MacLeod's mother is being burnt for heresy, and in a failed attempt to save her Connor accidentally kills the local priest and his son, Jacob Kell. However the son is an immortal, and plans his revenge on Connor by killing anyone who gets close to him. This revenge leads to him killing Connor's adopted daughter Rachel (Sheila Gish, reappearing from the first film). Connor tired of all the killing removes himself from the game and places himself into the Sanctuary, a sort of immortal rest retreat. Ten years later a Duncan MacLeod is informed that Connor has been killed when the Sanctuary was destroyed by a band of Immortals acting for Kell. Connor is not dead, and he reappears to warn Duncan that Kell will now be after him. Kell attacks and Duncan finds out that his ex-wife, who hates him for making her immortal, has joined up with Kell. With the forces stacked against them will one of the Highlanders have to make the supreme sacrifice to win?
If that sounds complicated, it is, but that's not even the half of it. The plot is further confused by various characters from the TV series and the original movies popping up at various points. In other words the script is a nightmare. If you haven't watched the series there is no doubt that some of this film will not make any sense at all. Some characters appear so briefly and with no back story is provided from them, before you can ask who they are, they're gone. Couple this to the fact that all attempts at continuity within the franchise has now been scraped entirely (seemingly all events in Highlander 2 did not, or do not happen).
The worst crime that this film, and maybe the whole franchise, commits iis the continual use of flashbacks. The first film limited this to one period only, this one does not. They are so many flashbacks that even the flashbacks have flashbacks. Not only that but they are to so many different time zones that your head will spin. This massively hinders the main story's plot, or maybe it hides just how flimsy it really is.
Ok, lets start on the acting. Someone please tell me why all of the bad guys in this movie talk in slow motion leaving massive gaps between sentences (Please stand up and take a bow Bruce Payne). Christopher Lambert looks a mess, for an immortal he certainly has aged badly. Lets face it the Highlander series equals dodgy Scottish accents, and here they abound. The only saving graces are Adrian Paul who shows every one else how to act, and a sinfully under developed part for Donnie Yen. Sean Connery will be really grateful he didn't add this to his turkey list (Avengers anyone?).
The special effects here would have looked Ok on TV, unfortunately this is a movie. They just do not stand up when compared to the likes of the Phantom Menace, or even the earlier movies. Especially bad is the morphing effects at the ending.
Is it really that bad? Well yes and no. Its starts off Ok, and some of the fight scenes are very good. However this is overwhelmed by the flashbacks and confusing editing. At he end of the day watch Highlander again rather than watch this, there really can be only one.
The DVD boxset also contains an earlier version of the film. This version is a little rough around the edges as the music score, effects, and colour matching have not been completed. What is more interesting is that the story is also slightly different. It is a real shock to find out it is better. The flashbacks have been reordered into a more sensible fashion, and some of the confusing back story is properly explained. The missing effects are actually a bonus as when added they were of a poor quality. This just goes to proves if it ain't broke don't fix it. Therefore I have given another rating.
|2.35:1 Anamorphic||Pretty good picture for the main film. For the other cut the picture quality varies.|
|Dolby Digital 5.1||There are plenty of explosions and clangs of swords to liven the sound field up.|
|The Main Feature|
|Earlier (better) edit of the film|
|Behind the scenes featurette|
|Visual effects feature|
|Some DVD ROM content|
|Overall an excellent package for a mediocre film.|