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March 19, 2008

Highlander : The Source

I have history with the Highlander franchise: 

I love the original Highlander film, I saw it on VHS, and thought it was brilliant. It was, at the time, a genius return to swords when every other film seemed to be amping up the guns. It has mystery, a cool Queen soundtrack, Sean Connery with the worst Spanish accent ever, and lots of sword fighting.

I hate Highlander 2. It took everything that was good about Highlander and spoilt it. The immortals became aliens, Sean Connery was resurrected, and the whole thing was a mess. Consequently I steered clear of the continuing Highlander franchise, despite the TV series gaining quite a few fans.

So, now, to dive back in with Highlander : The Source. The story follows Duncan MacLeod and a group of immortals in their search for the mysterious "Source", which seems to be guarded by The Guardian. I wasn't sure, as the film started, whether there was something I was missing from the TV series as the plot dived straight into action with no explanation, just a fight between The Guardian and an immortal. Presumably the characters are familiar, if not then there is little introduction.

My first disappointment was the style of The Guardian's fighting. It has a power which is portrayed on screen as a fast forward blur, consequently you never actually get to see much of the actual sword-fighting, which is surely one of the big cool things about Highalnder? This problem occurs again and again, culminaing in "the big fight" which is nothing short of a fast forward blur. I want to see sword fighting, choreographed fights like in Star Wars or the original Highlander film, not a blur. Maybe this was a cost-cutting exercise? Whatever, it detracted any enjoyment from all but one of the fight scenes (the other fight scene being one in which The Guardian didn't partake).

Onto the plot. I couldn't really figure out why things were happening. There was something about planets, something about The Source, a journey to find The Source, some big fat bloke in a cave and an island full of Mad Max refugees. I don't mind a plot with a MacGuffin if it's done skillfully. The original Highlander had The Prize at it's core, equivalent to The Source, but the journey towards The Prize was handled in a more interesting and rounded way. The journey to The Source feels like a by-the-numbers quest, where one member is killed every X minutes.

Finally the ending didn't really make any sense at all. I'm not sure I can begin to describe it. Once again the comparison to the original Highlander is relevant. It's not necessarily whether everything is explained in detail, but how it is handled. The Source's ending felt rushed, like they'd run out of money or time, or they'd already moved their attention to the sequel.

The DVD comes with the usual array of trailers and behind the scenes type features. But the extras are just that, extras.

In summary Highlander : The Source is one for Highlander completists only.

2 Comments

The Source made me want to poke my eyes out. How one group of douchenozzles could screw up anything so cool is beyond me...turdorama.

I've avoided all the Highlander stuff since Highlander 3 (which I watched to give it just one more chance...) Now I will have nothing to do with Highlander other than watch the original, which is still one of my all time favourite movies and I mentally blot out the follow-ups and spin offs.