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Rated R
Copyright 1991 Lamb Bear Entertainment
Reviewed by Tim Sniffin on 28 December 2000

The Characters:  

  • Connor MacLeod - Christopher Lambert! Formerly a 400-year-old Scotsman, now an alien exile from Zeist.
  • Ramirez - Sean Connery! Formerly a 1,000-year-old Egyptian, now an alien exile from Zeist. Squished by a fan.
  • Katana - Michael Ironside! Formerly a Japanese sword... ...well, no. He's also from Zeist, namely the bad guy. Head sent rollin' by MacLeod.
  • Louise Marcus - Virginia Madsen! Environmental terrorist and requisite love interest for MacLeod
  • Blake - Evil corporate head of the Corporation. Nuts crunched and thrown out of the window by Katana
  • Allan - MacLeod's friend who helped developed the Shield. Dies in prison from bad makeup.
  • Corda and Reno - Head fodder for MacLeod.

Buy It!

The Plot: 

Remember the original Highlander? You know, the one where immortal humans ran around chopping each others' heads off to Queen music? Well, forget it. This ain't no sequel. We're not sure what it is, but it sure ain't that.

Our story begins in August 1999 (Why August? Why not?) with a nice close-up of the sun. In case we didn't get the message, newscasters inform us that the ozone layer is almost gone and everyone is dying from really, really bad sunburn. Cue our hero, Connor MacLeod. Apparently, he and his little buddy (no, not Gilligan) Allan have developed a shield to protect us by using most, if not all, of the Earth's energy resources. So much for late night TV.

Anyway, 25 years later, life under the shield has deteriorated into a retro-look, cut-rate William Gibson cyberpunk novel. It seems that no change between day and night or in weather has gotten everyone down. MacLeod is now old and dozing during a Wagner opera. (No pretension on the part of the director there, no siree.) Suddenly, Ramirez's voice wakes him up, telling him to remember another life in another galaxy on the planet Zit, er Zeist. Seems MacLeod is the chosen one of a failed rebellion who one day can return because he won the prize on Earth. But his old enemy Katana (who is still alive after 500 years even though he's immortal) decides its time to eliminate MacLeod. He sends Corda and Reno - two of the dumbest excuses for henchmen I have ever seen - to knock off the old man, which is beyond their ability, of course. The resultant quickenings (a lightening bolt show after an immortal is victorious) resurrect Ramirez and make MacLeod young and handsome again, just in time for a kiss from Louise. Apparently, she likes immortal aliens. Katana comes down to Earth to finish the job and all hell, hopefully, breaks loose.

Oh, and Louise is trying to convince MacLeod that "something" is going on at the Corporation.

I left a lot out, but to be honest, I don't know where to begin. A bad guy named after a sword. Those two goons. The flying "duel." Settings named the corporation, the Bar, the Opera. The rescue attempt that Allan thwarts by dying. Even if you never saw the first Highlander, The Quickening will leave you as blind sided as Norman Rockwell in a Picasso exhibit. There are huge gaps in logic (listen for Blake's explanation on why they can't bring down the Shield) and strange deviations in continuity (watch the magic Katana). The story wanders in weird directions, taking the characters with it. After Katana comes to Earth, he wrecks a subway train, taunts MacLeod at his wife's grave and then... ...leaves and joins the Corporation. First order of business? Help him find MacLeod! Even when the movie manages to build up some momentum, it suddenly cuts to... ...Sean Connery doing Odious Comic Relief(TM). The mind boggles.

Note: There is a "Renegade Version" director's cut, which adds in about 20 minutes of new footage, fixes most of the continuity problems, eliminates the alien story and eighties pop music, and generally makes more sense. The new version raises (lowers?) the quality of the movie from hilariously bad to mediocre, but it loses a lot of the surreal charm of the original.

Things I Learned From This Movie: 

  • Subways can travel at 400 mph.
  • Corporate executives pack heat.
  • Trunks are bulletproof.
  • The oldest men's shop in Scotland takes earrings instead of money.
  • Katanas are magic.
  • Shakespearean crowds are pretty jaded.
  • Immortals have indestructible clothes.
  • Theater prop swords can stand up to a real sword.
  • Immortality is sexy.
  • They have the Wizard of Oz, high school and football on other worlds, but not kids.
  • Airplane safety films are directed by Irwin Allen.
  • Corporate headquarters are normally located in slum areas.
  • There are control rooms in high security, sensitive areas that are unguarded.
  • Gas guzzlers will be popular in the future.

Stuff To Watch For: 

  • 2 mins - Director cameo alert!
  • 3 mins - Is this Escape from New York?
  • 5 mins - She ain't singing. But she makes an nice "O" with her mouth.
  • 8 mins - Is this Dune?
  • 10 mins - Break ranks? Keep moving? Great generalship, MacLeod.
  • 16 mins - Is this Blade Runner?
  • 21 mins - Hey, look! Chickens!
  • 22 mins - Uh, Katana? Listen to them for a minute...
  • 26 mins - I think MacLeod's makeup is melting. Must be that immortality thing kicking in.
  • 29 mins - Is this Highlander? Oh, wait...
  • 34 mins - You know, that "I am Connor MacLeod of the Clan MacLeod" bit always seems to work. I should try it sometime.
  • 35 mins - I don't quite get it either, Virginia.
  • 48 mins - The entire gay population of Scotland is present and accounted for.
  • 56 mins - You've used a gun before, I see...
  • 68 mins - Magic Katana!
  • 69 mins - Sure, send the old guy out on his own in a prison complex. You just want to get freaky with MacLeod.
  • 73 mins - Magic Katana!
  • 75 mins - That's real gallant of you, Mac.
  • 76 mins - Boy, the Corporation is a bit behind on their maintenance. Oh wait, there's the janitor...
  • 80 mins - Magic Katana!


  • MacLeod: "Yes. Yes, I remember. The beginning. Five hundred years ago. On the planet Zeist. We planned rebellion. We met in secret, always careful to avoid our deadly enemy... ...General Katana."
  • Ramirez: "Just remember... ...the Quickening!"
    MacLeod: "It sounds like magic."
    Ramirez: "Well, it is... ...kinda."
  • Actor: "What's your f**king game, shithead?!"
    Ramirez: "Shithead? What's a shithead?"
  • Corda: "MacLeooood! You're going to diieeeee!"
  • Katana: "The corporation. What luck, you see I've come to join the corporation. And here you all are... ....Where do I sign up?
    Blake: "Oh, I think I've had enough of you. Good-bye, Attila." (Gun shots) "Ahhhh, yes indeed! That was brilliantly done. Bravo."

 Audio clips in wav formatSOUNDSStarving actors speak out 

Green Music Note highlanderii1.wav Katana: "I want you to leave for the future immediately. Find MacLeod and kill him."
Green Music Note highlanderii2.wav Louise: "You're nothing but a tired old man."
MacLeod: "More than you know."
Green Music Note highlanderii3.wav Louise trying to reason out the plot, she gives it a good college try.
Green Music Note highlanderii4.wav Katana: "The remains of your mortal wife? So frail, so very dead!"
MacLeod: "At least she's at peace!"
Katana: "Peace is highly overrated."

 Click for a larger imageIMAGESScenes from the movie 


 Watch a sceneVIDEOMPEG video files 

Video Cliphighlanderii1.mpg - 2.1m
MacLeod steps into the energy stream to use his power and free the world from the shield. I love it how the weather reverts to normal in just seconds without any serious problems.

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