Thursday, April 11, 2013
Bad/Awesome Flixxx Review: Highlander (1986)
"Why does the sun come up? Or are the stars just pin holes in the curtain of night, who knows? What I do know is that because you were born different, men will fear you... try to drive you away like the people of your village." - Ramirez
"Father! Forgive me , I am a worm...I have something to say! It's better to burn out than to fade away!" - The Kurgan
"I have the power! Aye, the quickening that empowers me! I feel everything! I know... I know everything! I am everything!" - Connor MacCloud
"There can be only one" - everyone in the movie probably
Complete classic. I don't think I'm speaking out of line when I say that this is one of Lucian Thorr's favorite films. I've heard him say it on occasion. At any rate he loved it when he was younger. And so did I. I think its influenced tons of sci fi time warrior stories over the years, but none have come quite close to this. A great concept, good actor choices, and a killer soundtrack by Queen. What more could you ask for? Sean Connery, Christopher Lambert, and that one guy from CARNIVALE/LOST/etc... star in HIGHLANDER!!! (By the way, there's like 10 different recut versions of this movie, but the one I'm reviewing is the Director's Cut which has 8 more minutes than the theatrical release.)
When the film begins, our hero Connor MacCloud is in the present day watching a wrestling match in the 80s. Which is when wrestling was really REALLY good. You can tell because he's watching that has the Fabulous Freebirds- Michael Hayes, Buddy Roberts and Terry Gordy, and Greg Gagne and some jobbers. Sweet gig for them. This is taking place at Madison Square Garden in 86, so it was probably a low card match, but still, anytime you play the "Garden" is sweet as Hell. Anyway, he has a flashback to the 1500's where a dude that is supposed to be him with long scraggly hair is gathering up his homeboy's the MacCloud's to fight this rival clan called the Fray's. The Fray's have this HUGE dude on their side and he tells the Fray's not to fight Connor, to leave him for him to kill. So Connor is fighting through all the Scottish dudes and no one will give him battle, and finally, this huge dude (The Kurgan) comes over and yells in his face and sticks his sword through him. Then we are in present day again and Connor has to fight a dude out in the parking lot. See its the 80s and that means its time for the gathering. Back when he was just learning he was immortal he met this Egyptian dude named Juan Sanchez Villa-Lobos Ramirez. But he's Egyptian, not Mexican- played by a Scotsman. Anyway he tells him that he'll have to fight all the remaining immortals someday to receive the prize, which is the Quickening, which is like telekinesis and telepathic abilities along with being immortal. So I guess its like "god mode".
Anyway he kills that guy in the parking deck by chopping his head off but the pigs still bust him for speeding out of there and he's considered a suspect but they have no evidence. He goes to get his sword and this chick cop who's a sword expert is investigating after hours there and he creeps on her at a bar. Then we get another flashback where his homeboy's kick him outta town because he came back to life. Even the chick he was banging back then went from bringing him roses to begging for them to burn him at the stake. TUFF! Then he's creeping on the chick cop and all of a sudden the Kurgan shows up and they have a sword fight near an electric sub station. The Kurgan splits back to his ratty motel room when the pigs show up. The chick cop is then determined to get to the bottom of MacCloud (who's going by the alias Nash)'s horseshit. She finds out he's an antiques dealer and goes and hassles him until he fesses up.
Then we get more backstory on Ramirez and MacCloud. Ramirez ends up training MacCloud after he's moved out to this little castle with this other chick. And we have swordplay montages, and MacCloud gets better, and then he's yelling on a mountain. Then Ramirez tells some about his life and tells Connor he should get rid of his wife because its going to end up causing him nothing but heartache. And then one day the Kurgan shows up and Connor is gone, so Ramirez fights him and gets killed. The Kurgan rapes Connor's wife thinking its Ramirez's. But she never tells him. Ramirez almost got him and the Kurgan gets away. Conner doesn't listen to Ramirez and stays with his old lady till she really is an old lady and dies. Then we flash forward and the Kurgan catches up to Connor in church and tells him about raping his wife, but Connor can't do anything to him because they are forbidden to kill on holy ground.
Finally the Kurgan kidnaps the chick cop and drives crazily through traffic. He then leaves A MESSAGE ON MACCLOUD'S ANSWERING MACHINE(!!) to come get her. So MacCloud heads over to this movie studio and unleashes all manner of havoc and they duke it out. There's no reason to tell you every single part. The story is a bit more complex than what I've hashed out here, you have your "telly" flashback moments, and some comical ones involving another African immortal friend of Connor's named Kastagir. If you love sci fi, time travel, immortality, or sword and sorcery, you're gonna love this one. THERE CAN BE ONLY ONE.