Daily Archives: September 15, 2007

Review: Highlander: The Source

In any Highlander movie, it’s expected: heads will roll. In this case, though, it should have been heads of the film’s creators.

Why would you go and make a movie, probably the last one the Highlander series will ever see, that sucks this badly?

The script was all but incoherent, none of the characters were sympathetic or even well-realized, and the fight scenes, with possibly one exception, were more special effect than skill.

This movie was right up (down?) there with Highlander 2, the almost universally shunned entry in the series.

The basic outline of the script, from what I could understand, was this: in the undetermined, but not too distant (because Joe isn’t much older than in the TV show), future, there are five immortals left, and they are seeking “the Source”. The Source is not really that well defined, but it’s got something to do with planets aligning and is involved with immortals and “the Prize” — and apparently it makes you move like someone pressed the fast-forward button on you. The Prize is what you get when you’re the last immortal standing.

Though you’re an idiot if you sit through this movie after it’s initial run, when there was some small hope it might be decent, I still feel I now need to issue a…




In previous movies, the Prize has been that you “know everything” and that you get to become mortal. This time, with no sword fight worth mentioning, you just get to be the only immortal who can have a child. Not a bad prize, honestly, if the setup is done correctly, but it wasn’t. We don’t have any sense from this film that Duncan even wants to have a child, for one thing. We just know he’s “gone bad” because his wife left him over his inability to do so. And we really don’t care about any of the characters in this film enough to worry about it, anyway.

The effects of the planets lining up was cool looking but seriously… what planet are we supposed to be on? Certainly not Earth. I’ve never even seen the moon that big in the sky, let alone other planets and some sort of comet-looking things going in circles. And they’re all moving fast enough to be observably moving to the naked eye?! What the heck are you thinking, effects guys?

So far, I haven’t tried to put this movie in context with other established canon. It just stunk on its own merits. But when you compare this to what’s already known and available in terms of plot…. okay, there’s nothing actually contradicting anything established (except the planets in the sky, which immediately removes this from known reality). And if you insert a LOT of knowledge about the characters derived from the TV show (Duncan, Joe, and Methos), you could care about those people a bit. But this film was so far out of line with what has come before, tonally, that it is almost disconnected completely. No flashbacks, no fun (did anybody even crack a smile in this movie?), no moral dilemmas, and no well-executed (pardon the pun) sword fights. And no grounding in the familiar. That’s an important point. Since this takes place in an apocalyptic, cannibalistic future, there is nothing familiar for the audience to relate to. Part of the fun of the Highlander series is imagining that this is all going on in the present day; some unknown excitement in the mundane world in which we live. Sadly, the only films to ever get that right were the original and Endgame. The TV show took the concept and ran with it, enhancing and elevating the series in the process. This film takes what the TV show built and cuts its head off.

That’s what I really don’t understand… how can the TV show have done such a good job at putting stories together, and yet they can’t put a decent movie together to save their lives?

One star. And it’s charity.

[tags]Adrian Paul, Highlander, sword fighting, immortality, apocalypse, bad movies[/tags]