Fantasy
Highlander 3: The Final Dimension
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Dir: Andy Morahan
Star: Christopher Lambert, Deborah Unger, Mario Van Peebles, Mako
Cert / Year: 15 - R / 1994
Format: DVD R1
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Connor MacLeod (Christopher Lambert) is the Highlander. He is blessed with immortality and equally cursed, as he has immortal enemies who can only be defeated by decapitation. In 1986 he faced the last of the immortals, the evil Kurgan and beat him to win "the Prize". But, after 400 years of imprisonment within a mountain the evil sorceror Kane (Mario Van Peebles) has escaped and is looking to make up for lost time and claim "The Prize" and of course the Highlander's head....

A lethargic introduction by Christopher Lambert borrows from the speech by Sean Connery at the start of the original Highlander but Lambert and the script lack the weight or presence to pull it off. That is the first indication that this film is just a "cash-in" flick and hardly worth considering as part of the real story and certainly not a worthy successor to the excellent Highlander. This is in reality a wishy washy story trying to build upon the original. By taking a few liberties here and there they try and shoe horn their story loosely around the first film. The writing is generally very poor and owes much to the strength of the original story line as they tinker around and try to make this sequel work.

Mario Van Peebles swaggers around like a dandy, growling at everyone and trying DESPERATELY to be "Kurgan" from the original Highlander. This is something that he is incapable of doing, despite mimicking certain mannerisms, quotes and even speaking with a similar guttural growl, which quite frankly affords this film a distinctly cheesy element and shows that little real thought has actually gone into this movie. A poor man's Kurgan if you will, a shallow imitation of Clancy Brown. As if that wasn't enough Van Peebles ponces around baring his chest, tattoos and various piercings in a further vain attempt to appear menacing, but with this cocktail of traits he is possibly the dumbest and worst villains ever to hit the screens! That is before he utters some terrible dialogue and says the obligatory "There can be only one" in such a way that he is obviously gleaning some sexual gratification from its utterance, which helps make his character even more ridiculous.

The story itself contains more holes than a sieve and any attempt to think about it results in the frightening conclusion that this utter nonsense has nothing to do with the excellent original by Gregory Widen and everything to do with the studio trying to cash in on previous success. There is very little to redeem this film and certainly no intelligent or coherent plot devices. A major and glaring plot point of course, is the fact that Kane is able to teleport, as is proven when he teleports from Japan to New York later in the film. So how come he didn't just teleport out of Nakano's cave in the first place instead of being sealed in for 400 years? Exactly, no real explanation for that one, neither is there any explanation for the fact that surely if there are several "immortals" still left alive then MacLeod couldn't have originally won "The Prize" in 1986 during "the Gathering", so that again negates everything that has come before. They really should have thought this all out before they made this film, because nothing works in it or ties together with its predecessors. Now, as with the original film MacLeod is informed that if Kane wins "The Prize" then mortal man would suffer eternal damnation and all that malarkey, which is just what they said about Kurgan. Surely if there were two like minded individuals working toward the same goal they would team up to eradicate all their "goody goody" opposition. And then turn on each other. Admittedly the prospect of seeing Kurgan dueling his "pretender" Kane is most appealing and not just to see Mario Van Peebles have his head lopped off.

I'm afraid they have tried too hard to recreate the success of the original Highlander by essentially trying to copy it. The whole sorcery and illusion aspect is merely a very flimsy excuse to throw in what were then "state of the art" special effects and offer little of any value to the story. If this were ever going to work it needed the original team working on it, Russell Mulcahy directing and Gregory Widen writing it. Even in this "Directors Cut" form Highlander 3 lacks originality, atmosphere and talent as it struggles to be something other than a 2 dimensional mess. It doesn't matter how many showy special effects or decapitations you throw in, this just doesn't work as a Highlander film. The original film was meant to be a one off. It told its story and concluded it in one tidy package and wasn't intended to spawn a series of sequels and certainly not a couple of television series as well. This film suffers from the lack of Russell Mulcahy behind the lens but after his treatment by the studio over Highlander 2 and the subsequent re-edited release of the film it is little wonder he wouldn't return to the franchise. Incidentally, the Highlander 2 "Renegade Version" is well worth seeing as it is the film Mulcahy intended and nothing like the horrendous The Quickening, which the studio released.

A trashy and dumb foray into immortal swordplay shenanigans with nothing really going for it. On the plus side Deborah Unger is watchable as she tries to pop out of her clothing, but she does resemble a mannequin at times with acting to match too. Christopher Lambert probably wishes he had more to work with and no doubt regrets agreeing to star in this sequel. Mako has a brief performance as the sorcerer Nakano but manages to play the same little Asian mystic martial arts master that he always seems to play. A bit too short lived for my liking and it would have been nice to see more of him, but he probably read the rest of the script and said "write me out of it quick!" There are just too many irksome little flaws and errors to list, suffice it to say that the film is terribly predictable and leads to an ending that is somewhat of an anti-climax.

This whole shoddy package just goes to show what happens when too much money is thrown at a bad idea. The direction of Andy Morahan shows why he only did Guns N Roses music videos prior to this and after. He is terrible, and is evidently incapable of directing a full film as this slap dash music video style is yet another of the film's bad points. The action scenes are poorly staged and look false. This could have been much better, but best of all if they hadn't made it in the first place. Not quite the worst of the Highlander sequels but only just. There isn't even any Queen music in the soundtrack! tut tut tut

Quote

There Can Be Only One

Rating: 1 out of 5

DVD
Picture 2.35:1 Widescreen Good transfer
Audio Dolby Digital 2.0 Needs a 5.1 track but pretty good quality as is
Features Unimpressive menu
Theatrical Trailer
Verdict Well this is dissappointing! A directors cut with no real extras. There is additional footage in the film but not a lot, merely a snip here and there to extend one or two scenes but nothing substantial

Rating: 1 out of 5

Reviewed by Logan Back Top Home