Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Highlander (1986)

There can be only one!

Highlander's plot is basic: a group of immortals populate the earth, trying to survive until "The Gathering," where they will assemble and fight to the death, as the winner receives the ultimate prize.

The only way to kill one of these immortals is by beheading, and should one immortal behead another, he obtains all of the vanquished's power, which is portrayed as blue light or energy.

The film opens with the protagonist, Connor MacLeod/Russell Nash (Christopher Lambert) watching a pro wrestling match and having flashbacks to his earlier life in the 1500s in the highlands of Scotland. The film often switches between the present (1986) and the past as seen by MacLeod, helping to explain his story.

MacLeod's recovery from a fatal battle wound in the 1500s causes his clan to kick him out of the village for 'devilry', subsequently he moves to a remote location in the highlands of Scotland and settles down with Heather (Beatie Edney), more or less his wife. The news of his excommunication from his tribe causes fellow immortal Juan Sanchez Villa-Lobos Ramirez (Sean Connery) to track him down and educate MacLeod as to the immortal that he is. They train together and MacLeod learns the finer points of swordsmanship. The antagonist of the film, "The Kurgan" in the 1500s and Victor Kruger in the 1980s, arrives to the scene hunting MacLeod, instead finding Ramirez and Heather. Predictably, an epic battle occurs between Ramirez and the Kurgen, ending with Ramirez's death and the Kurgen pillaging Heather.

MacLeod in the 1980s has assumed the identity of Russell Nash, where the gathering is occurring in New York City. Only a few of the immortals are left, as they have been battling for several centuries; eventually, only Nash and Kruger remain and they must fight to the death on the streets of NYC. Roxanne Hart plays Brenda Wyatt, a forensic analyst working for the police who uncovers Nash's secret immortality and thus gains the keys to his bedroom for a night. Remarkably similar-looking to Heather, Brenda becomes the ultimate damsel in distress when Kruger kidnaps her to instigate the fight between himself and Nash.

The movie is laughably bad. It provides a good opportunity to watch Sean Connery pretend to be Egyptian and to ponder that everlasting question: what do Scottish men wear underneath their kilts? The make-up is ultimately what turns the audience off, with Nash overloaded on bronzer and Kruger covered in pasty white "bad guy" foundation. By the end of the film, Kruger resembles Frankenstein quite strongly, and his laughable growl as he speaks also lends an air of ridiculousness to the film. Despite its flaws, Highlander is a strong 80s action film given the frequency and intensity of the sword fighting, and fans of Scottish culture or Sean Connery would appreciate the film.

1 comment:

Vladigogo said...

And of course there were a couple of sequels and a television series.