Saturday, January 21, 2012

Highlander 3: The Final Dimension (1994) - Review

After the ridiculousness of Highlander 2: The Quickening, one can only assume that they wanted to take things back to basics for the next installment. Wisely ignoring the events of the last movie, Highlander 3: The Final Dimension (or The Sorcerer) tries to take you back to a simpler time, a time before Old Man Connor, evil shield-generator corporations, and the over-reliance on bagpipe mixed results.

The overlong fifteen minute introduction doesn't do the film any favors. Christopher Lambert does a good job as always as Connor MacLeod, but from the very beginning, it's clear that a lot of the actors are really awful. Mako, playing Nanako (basically this film's Ramirez) is rather hammy as the mentor, and Mario Van Peebles as the villain Kane is absolutely terrible. When he talks, he sounds like his throat has been ripped apart from years of eating at Home Depot, and for some inexplicable reason he has the tendency to growl. The Kurgan was way manlier than this, and he didn't need to growl!

The story, while technically in canon with the first film also retcons a few things. After the death of Connor's wife Heather, he apparently went to see ANOTHER mentor to have ANOTHER "learning how to fight" montage. The movie also rips away Brenda from the first film and introduces another love interest, Alex Johnson (played by Deborah Kara Unger). Why do the sequels keep killing Brenda? I liked her just fine. The love story is decently done, and I get the need to bring in a new love interest for the purpose of the flashbacks, but I'm still not a huge fan.

The direction is competent but at times sloppy. Some scenes drone on way too long like a couple of the quickenings, and some scenes fly by way too fast. The film also tries to reference the first film too much when it doesn't belong, like the subplot with the police that sort of ties in with the first film. It wasn't really necessary. The climax is quite messy. It comes about too suddenly, for some reason takes place in the first dream sequence of A Nightmare on Elm Street, and contains a hilariously bad CGI effect. And WHY is the background music during the final battle Dr. Feelgood?

Is it better than Highlander 2? Yes, in the sense that it doesn't take every single opportunity available to destroy everything the original made. But is it a good movie? No, not really. It's a silly mess, much like Highlander 2, but to a far lesser extent. It's still not really a worthy successor to the first film, but for what it's worth, it's pretty watchable. Some of the fight scenes are pretty cool, and the score is rather memorable. It's not a necessary sequel by any means, but there are far worse Highlander movies.

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