US Release Date: 01-01-1986
Directed by: Russell Mulcahy
- Christopher Lambert, as
- Conner McLeod
- Clancy Brown, as
- The Kurgan
- Sean Connery, as
- Roxanne Hart, as
- Beatie Edney, as
- Heather MacLeod
- Alan North, as
- Lieutenant Frank Moran
- Jon Polito, as
- Det. Walter Bedsoe
- Sheila Gish as
- Rachel Ellenstein
Christopher Lambert in Highlander.
The good versus evil theme must be the most overdone theme in movies besides maybe love conquers all. The best you can hope for in a movie that uses one of these themes is for the presentation to be original. Highlander's plot is one of the most original ever filmed.
It tells the story of a group of immortals battling to the death, until there is only one left alive. This one will win 'the prize'. The prize being the power of all the other immortals combined.
The plot centers on Conner McLeod, an immortal born in the highlands of Scotland during the 15th century. He is 'killed' during a battle with another clan and driven from his village when he mysteriously recovers. After a few years, another immortal, Juan Rameriz (played by Sean Connery) trains him to fight and teaches him the rules of fighting other immortals. The war between the immortals continues through the centuries, until the final battle in modern day New York where the bulk of the film takes place.
Director Russell Mulcahey, known until this point for his music videos, does a tremendous job on this film. His transition shots between modern day and the historical flashbacks are both original and ingenious. His directing, the action, and the soundtrack by Queen, keeps this movie flying along.
Although Christopher Lambert is the star, Clancy Brown nearly steals the movie as the evil immortal, Victor Kruger. His towering presence is truly menacing as he gleefully terrorizes Conner through the streets of New York.
The movies only weakness is the love story between Conner and Brenda. It seems contrived. Tacked onto the plot, it provides a female character and a gratuitous sex scene.
Highlander is a highly original, in concept at least, movie with an over the top villain, incredible visuals, and a soundtrack by one of the best rock bands ever. If only they could come up with a decent sequel.
Clancy Brown in Highlander.
A truly great escapist trip. The movie touches on different time periods and places as Conner's (Christopher Lambert) very long life, leads to the gathering in New York. He starts in Scotland hundreds of years ago. He fights in World War II and has a humorous duel on Boston common in colonial America.
The cast is exceptionally good. Lambert is perfect in the role. A brooding, lovelorn, sword-wielding hero with an interesting accent. Sean Connery, in his comeback role, is his usual old, cocky, charming self. The Kurgan(Clancy Brown) is an incredibly impressive villain. He is scary as hell. What makes him unique though is his sick sense of humor. Watch the scene in the church or when he gives 'mom' a ride in her car.
The only point that I disagree with Scott is over the love interest played by Roxanne Hart. She plays an integral part here as she is the one mortal to uncover the truth about the immortals. Having Conner fall in love with her shows that although this man has so much knowledge and ability he is still lonely and very much vulnerable.
Like Scott, I do think the soundtrack is great. The opening song 'Princes of the Universe', Queens brief version of 'New York, New York' and my personal favorite 'Who Wants To Live Forever'. really set a loud rousing ambiance.
My one and only complaint is that the movie never explains where Conner is when the Kurgan attacks Ramirez in the tower. His teacher and girlfriend are there but no explanation is given as to the whereabouts of Conner. Immortals can sense each others presence and the tower gets completely destroyed. Logically he must have been some distance away not to have noticed any of that. Why?
Action, humor, fantasy and a nice love story.
Sean Connery in Highlander.
Here are the things I liked about this movie: the cinematography, Sean Connery's brief appearance, the majestic voice of Freddie Mercury and the gratuitous sex scene. Contrary to Scott's opinion, I did not find the plot to be all that original and the delivery of it is quite uneven. For an original movie about a centuries long life see Orlando from the book by Virginia Woolf.
I agree with Eric as far as the whereabouts of Conner during the fight at the tower. Another flaw happens early in the movie when Conner and Victor first do battle in the streets of New York. From out of nowhere a police helicopter appears, breaks up the fight, then just as suddenly disappears without giving chase.
Highlander is not sure whether it wants to be funny or completely serious either. It starts rather grim and then quite unexpectedly throws in the humorous scene which Eric mentioned on Boston Common. Likewise, the scene with the old couple in the car seems out of place. While Eric took this as an example of the villain's 'sick' sense of humor, to me it comes across as a meager attempt at cheap laughs.
There are some good special effects and rousing fight scenes and overall the performances are decent. Still Highlander is somewhat contrived and uninteresting.
Photos © Copyright 20th Century Fox (1986)