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Highlander II: The Quickening

Highlander II: The Quickening (1991) Movie Poster
  •  UK / France / Argentina  •    •  91m  •    •  Directed by: Russell Mulcahy.  •  Starring: Christopher Lambert, Sean Connery, Virginia Madsen, Michael Ironside, Allan Rich, John C. McGinley, Phillip Brock, Rusty Schwimmer, Ed Trucco, Steven Grives, Jimmy Murray, Pete Antico, Peter Bucossi.  •  Music by: Stewart Copeland.
        In the year 2025, the ozone layer is believed to have been destroyed. It is up to MacLeod and Rameriz to set things right. Opposition comes from both the planet Ziest (MacLeod and Ramirez's homeworld) and a corporation profiting from the supposed lack of ozone. Also, flashbacks show the story behind MacLeod and Ramirez's exile from Ziest.

Trailers:

   Length:  Languages:  Subtitles:
 0:52
 
 
 0:31
 
 
 1:24
 
 

Review:

Image from: Highlander II: The Quickening (1991)
Image from: Highlander II: The Quickening (1991)
Image from: Highlander II: The Quickening (1991)
Image from: Highlander II: The Quickening (1991)
Image from: Highlander II: The Quickening (1991)
Image from: Highlander II: The Quickening (1991)
Image from: Highlander II: The Quickening (1991)
Image from: Highlander II: The Quickening (1991)
Image from: Highlander II: The Quickening (1991)
Image from: Highlander II: The Quickening (1991)
Image from: Highlander II: The Quickening (1991)
Image from: Highlander II: The Quickening (1991)
Image from: Highlander II: The Quickening (1991)
Image from: Highlander II: The Quickening (1991)
Image from: Highlander II: The Quickening (1991)
Image from: Highlander II: The Quickening (1991)
Image from: Highlander II: The Quickening (1991)
Sequels are difficult to make right especially when their parent film made such a high impression on its initial fan base. The crew who made Highlander (1986) were almost entirely against making a sequel because of how well received the original was. Unfortunately when it comes to film contracts, it's not so easy go against what is wanted. So that already created friction between the film crew and the studio itself. Then on top of that, deciding to drastically make edits to the finished script last minute is never a thing that's going to roll over well. Nobody was happy with how things were being changed so frequently and it led to one of the most disappointing sequels to a promising start up franchise. Many fans considered it to be a lot like Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982), where it completely ignored anything that was setup in the first film. Thankfully over time Mulcahy was able to form his own cut of the film. It may not be good but it is also not the worst sequel in existence.

Being written by Brian Clemens, William N. Panzer and Peter Bellwood, the story has some points that are good, but most of it is completely deviant from that of the first film. What's even stranger is that both Panzer and Bellwood had worked on Highlander (1986); producer and writer respectively. Clemens had certainly enough years of experience to help in the writing process but it's unknown how much he contributed. The story takes place in 2024 where the ozone has depleted and shield has been placed around the earth to protect it from the sun. The person behind this successful project is none other than Connor MacLeod (Christopher Lambert). However there's a resistance group lead by Louise Marcus (Virginia Madsen) who believe the shield can be destroyed because the ozone has recovered. Meanwhile an antagonist by the name of General Katana (Michael Ironside) is out to kill MacLeod because as the tag line goes, "there can only be one". This is the simplest way to describe this and it certainly needs work.

From what is elaborated on, it turns out both Ramirez (Sean Connery) and MacLeod were sent from another world to earth. This place is where all of these immortals come from. However with that said, it entirely negates and washes out any heart Highlander (1986) had to begin with. What was the point of killing Ramirez in the first film only to bring him back again? Not that viewers wouldn't want to see Connery again, but his exit was in such poignant way, it's weird to resurrect him. Having the script explain the background to MacLeod's situation was fine but it gets lost really fast with the inclusion of the sci-fi element of ozone depletion and shield use. It just feels like the wrong genre considering what the first film had established so well. The script does however reference the history of the first film so it's not like omits everything, which is why so many people make the claim that it is the worst sequel. Thankfully the writing for the characters is half there too.

Christopher Lambert maintains his character's personality even with the odd story he's given to work with. Sean Connery although having him return in general is off putting, has a performance that is very affable. He has a number of good scenes that involve him getting familiar with the new surroundings of the future. Even Virginia Madsen, who doesn't do a whole lot at least has a few lines that can grab a viewers attention. On the other hand, all the villains on screen are way over the top than they should be. Michael Ironside can be a menacing villain but here he walks around with a wide grin overacting every line. The same could be said for his henchman. There's also a subplot about the head of the shield business David Blake (John C. McGinley) wanting to overthrow the co-creator of the shield, Dr. Allan Neyman (Allan Rich). McGinley is about as evenly matched to Ironside in this movie. Every bit of dialogue from this guy was given way too much energy.

Speaking of energy, the action is also lacking in that too. For a story about an immortal swordsman, there's only a few scenes that involve sword fights. Other times its gun fire or not at all. And when these scenes do occur, they aren't that exciting. Old fashioned action should be though. It's sad when even that becomes boring. Unfortunately camera-work wasn't all that impressive this time round either. Captured by Phil Meheux, the shots are uninteresting. Most likely because the setting is so different from that of the original. Meheux did however work on The Mask of Zorro (1998), Bicentennial Man (1999) and Casino Royale (2006). The music was a little better though. Composed by The Police Band member Stewart Copeland, the score to this film is unfortunately hard to find but does provide some adequately constructed material. Even if some of the original themes Michael Kamen created seep into the cracks as well. That's cheating. Copeland also scored Wall Street (1987) and Taking Care of Business (1990).

Some say this is the worst of the worst. Not so, there are sequels that far surpass this. Sure, the antagonists are way too silly and the script makes significant changes to what the original film laid out. Even the sci-fi edge is all wrong and really should have been omitted or worked in another way. Still though the protagonists are likable and the music is acceptable. It's not a good story at all, but it's not the worst.


Review by breakdownthatfilm-blogspot-com from the Internet Movie Database.

 

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Mar 6 2016, 13:36
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