Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Highlander 2: The Quickening (1991) - Review

There is nothing in this movie that makes sense. It is a complete black hole where logic goes to die. I went into this wondering how it could possibly be even a fraction as bad as people say. Spoony wasn't kidding; it really IS that bad.

Whereas the first Highlander film took place in the present (that is to say, the era that it was made, the 80s), the sequel opts to go several years in to the future, to the year 2024, where Earth is ravaged by the lack of an ozone layer. Connor MacLeod, having won the prize in the last film, used his new found knowledge to design a shield to protect the world from the harmful rays. And that's not even close to the dumbest part.

The most asinine decision ever made was to completely retcon the backstories of all the Immortals. Now they come from either the planet Zeist, or "A very long time ago", depending on which version of the movie you're watching. Neither makes any sense. One forces you to accept the fact that the Immortals are aliens which is stupid, and one forces you to accept that the past has time travel and crazy spaceships and that's almost equally dumb. There's no need to explain the origin of the Immortals...really there was no reason to make a sequel in the first place (let alone four).

I really like Christopher Lambert based on my very brief exposure to his movies, but Old Man Connor is pretty embarrassing. Lambert's old man voice is pretty painful to listen to, but once he becomes young again (don't ask) he's fine. Sean Connery is back as Ramirez again in this one (despite the fact that he died in the last one...whatever) but this time he's more annoying that anything else. He's played for pretty much complete comic relief and it mostly doesn't work, though I admit the Hamlet scene is pretty funny. Micheal Ironside as the villain General Katana hams it up and John C. McGinley is always great despite usually playing the same weaselly character, but for the most part, the acting borders on quite over the top.

The soundtrack is far less memorable and the special effects took several hundred steps backwards. Seriously, on some of the effects, I could do a better job. And I know I could have written a better script. I could have written literally any combination of words and it would have turned out better than this. Any thought given whatsoever and the entire film falls apart.

And yet...it's still pretty entertaining. Though it's not as much fun to look at (the best parts of the first movie were the gorgeous Highland scenes) it does have an enjoyable hamminess to it. It's completely inept, and at times rather infuriating. But you can't think of it as a sequel to Highlander. Think of it as a really bad fan film that somehow managed to get Christoper Lambert and Sean Connery; that's pretty much what it is.

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