Retro Review: Highlander: Endgame

Hmmm, maybe this film franchise should have obeyed it’s own catch phrase, “There can be only One!”.

“Highlander: Endgame” (as its toted) opens with yet another flash into Connor MacLeod’s (Christopher Lambert) past.

This time we witness the burning of Connor’s mother for heresy. During that ordeal Connor accidentally kills one of the town’s Catholic priests, Father Kell.

Then we jumble through the present as Connor is locked away in a “Watcher Sanctuary” so that he can no longer inflict harm upon those in his life. Unbeknownst to Connor, the Sanctuary is ransacked by the vengeance filled son of Father Kell, Jakob (Bruce Payne).

During the Sanctuary’s destruction we find the TV series Highlander Duncan MacLeod wrestling with his own demons and coming face to face with the Jakob Kell as well. Among the minions who now serve Kell is Kate, Duncan’s bride from 300 years past. Kate swears vengeance upon Duncan and hopes her new found alliance will not only destroy Duncan but his teacher as well. This forces Duncan to re-team with Connor, his teacher and mentor, to stop these vengeance filled Highlanders. And as the title states it will be “Endgame” for one.

“Highlander: Endgame” runs into the same problem as so many of previous Highlander films before it. The problem lies in the plot of the whole Highlander concept. When somebody sits down to write a Highlander script they have to take into play all the events in these characters lives over 1500 years. This becomes tedious to the writer and you are heavily bogged down in conflicts. Immortality sucks for the writers of this franchise especially when they have 2 TV series and 3 previous films to take into consideration.

“Highlander: Endgame” moves so fast through these chronological events that you get heavily mixed up what each character is actually doing in which time of history. Immortality films have to play with the same rules as “time travel” films in that they have to chronologically map out the immortal’s life and strategically pull off each time period. This is the very breakdown of the Highlander concept. No one has actually sat down and mapped out Connor’s or Duncan’s 1500 years thus confusing us all. (Side note: You can blame half of this on the second Highlander film).

Placing aside the concept flaw you do have a sort of “master and apprentice” storyline that will obviously end tragically (Sound familiar?). Lets push that aside also. Then you are left with the performances, and look of the film. Well I have to commemorate Adrian Paul for deciding to do this. His charisma and heroic persona is great to watch and does let one know why the series is a success.

As for Lambert, he is bored throughout the majority of the film and it’s a shame. (Maybe “Beowulf” will be better for him. If it’s ever released) And finally Payne, he is devilish and so evil here that you wonder why this guy hasn’t been in a mainstream movie since “Passenger 57”. (Here’s a thought how about Payne as the Green Goblin in Sony’s “Spiderman”? He’s got the look.)

In an after thought I have to say I liked the scorned Kate played by Lisa Barbuscia. She definitely had a presence in her scenes. She made her debut in the direct to video film, “The Serpent’s Lair” costarring Jeff Fahey in which she played a great sinister seductress.

This action film is only recommended for the fans of the TV Series because I do believe any outsiders to the series will be utterly lost. I also have to mention that many of the key special effects scenes from the trailer do not appear in the film and the running time is barely 80 minutes. (What was the studio thinking?)

(1 out of 5)

So Says the Soothsayer.

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