For some reason, the Highlander franchise has survived all manner of obstacles. The last two movies were – to say the least – atrocious. The anime´ was very average. One of the key figures in successfully transferring the movie concept to television, William S. Panzer, died. You’d think that would be enough. But, no! The Most Dangerous Night of Television is taking this Saturday off. Instead, we are getting Highlander: The Source [Sci Fi Channe, Saturday, 9/8C] – a movie that could’ve inspired Shakespeare’s phrase, “full of sound and fury – signifying nothing.”
The first ten minutes of Highlander: The Source are interesting. We’re in a post-apocalyptic world, following an Asian-looking Immortal as he runs toward a tower in the middle of an unnamed Eastern European City that is mostly ruins and ruble. As a woman’s voice tells us about The Source, we see Methos, Father Giovanni and a punkish kid named Reggie communicate via elaborate computer set-ups. When Zai Je [our Asian friend reaches the tower, he goes online to reach the others, but he is interrupted by…
Okay. The apparent villain here is a big, mean, bone-white crusher who calls himself The Guardian [Christian Solimeno]. Think of Clancy Brown’s character from the first Highlander movie – then strip away his style, his skill and his charisma, and you’ll be pretty close. Unlike that character, though, this one can move at lightning speeds and kills Zai Je after toying with him for awhile.
What’s the big deal? Well, every planetary and solar body between here and the star at the center of the galaxy are moving into alignment [totally ignoring the fact that such an occurrence would rip the universe apart], signaling that The Source is about to arrive. The Source, we learn, is what the Immortals have all been waiting for – the reason there can only be one.
Our narrator turns out to be Duncan MacLeod’s [Adrian Paul] estranged wife, Anna [Thekla Reuten], and she’s been having visions – visions that will lead a small band of Immortals to The Source. So Duncan, Methos [Peter Wingfield], Giovanni [Thom Fell] and Reggie [Stephen Wight] come together with Anna to seek out The Source.
That’s all well and good, but the film is all over the place – there’s intolerably bad science, scattershot characterization – Giovanni is ready to kill one of the group, but says a prayer over his grave when The Guardian kills him; Duncan vacillates between not giving a damn and caring too much; Anna notes that Reggie is smarter than he appears – something we haven’t noticed yet, either; Methos pretends to enlightened self-interest but yields to the purer heart, and so on. The only character who is consistent throughout, is Anna – and she’s got otherworldly reasons for being so.
The there’s the character design – The Guardian looks to a big, chunky oaf with a giant metal collar protecting his neck [a collar that goes away fairly early on], but moves like the wind; Giovanni looks like a mash-up between Michael Moorcock’s albino, Elric of Melnibone´ and Gary Oldman’s older Dracula. I’m not saying they look ridiculous; they can do that all by themselves.
Then there’s the caveat that the Immortals will get weaker as they approach The Source. This makes it easier for The Guardian to slice and dice one of them without having to be sure to take his head. Fun and games! Of course, as Duncan gets closer to The Source, he’s suddenly able to move as quickly as The Guardian, allowing for camera tricks to cover up the fact that he’s lost a couple of steps since the premiere of Highlander: The Series.
Finally, there’s the payoff – the big prize for reaching The Source. For we mortals, it’s going to seem more than a bit anticlimactic, but for Immortals, who have certain, shall we say problems, it’s a revelation on a par with being forced to leave the Garden of Eden – only in reverse.
The conclusion of Highlander: The Source might be wonderful for Duncan and Anna, but the rest of the world is still pretty badly off, so one has to wonder if all that work really means anything. And sadly, the same can be said for the movie, itself.
Highlander: The Source is not a particularly good film. Frankly, the recent Highlander anime´ – as average as it was – is a better piece of entertainment. Like Mr. Paul, this series is – and I’m speaking as a fan – ready to be put away and forgotten.
Final Grade: D
Posted By Sheldon Wiebe
Originally Posted on 09/13/07