Highlander II: The Quickening

I should point out that since the first preview (now deemed a rough cut, though at the time only awaiting extra music), much doctoring has restructured sequences, added footage, shortened the film, replaced music and attempted to explain certain confusions.

Much to the distributors' chagrin, this revised print was not available for screening to the press. But even with extensive surgery, it's hard to imagine how Russell Mulcahy's essentially inherent hotch-potch can be transformed into anything approaching a worthy successor to his inventive original. When the skull's rotten, a new wig doesn't help.

It's 2024 and now mortal Connor MacLeod (Lambert) is an old man (practising poor Brando impressions), responsible for saving mankind by replacing the ozone layer with a protective shield. However, an underground movement (led by obligatory romantic interest and wasted talent Madsen), believes the atmosphere has now healed itself and that big business is suppressing this information to maintain power.

Meanwhile, it transpires that MacLeod is actually an exiled alien and that his arch enemy, the evil tyrant of Zeist (Michael lronside, very Joker) has come to Earth to kill him (MacLeod regains immortality and youth to make things more even-handed), thereby preventing his return home. That this new revelation makes nonsense of the original film's mythology doesn't seem to bother anyone. After all, if the decapitated Connery can be resurrected in a remarkably contrived piece of plot-engineering, then who cares about narrative integrity?

Logic and plausibility come poor second to special effects and comic-book action, but that's no excuse for the awful dialogue, feeble comedy (Connery's materialisation amid a performance of Hamlet, and his later shopping expedition are gross embarrassments), half-baked ideas and recycled sci-fi. The first film's catchline was 'there can be only one'. Wise words, which all concerned should have heeded.

Highlander II: The Quickening

  • 1991
  • UK / France
  • 1h 40min
  • 15
  • Directed by: Russell Mulcahy
  • Cast: Christopher Lambert, Sean Connery, Virginia Madsen, Michael Ironside

Set in the future, Highlander Connor Macleod must save the Earth from destruction.

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