Highlander 2 (1991)

Highlander 2

Directed by Russell Mulcahy

Written by Gregory Widen

Run Time: 109 minutes

A guest review by Karl Hoegle

Highlander 2

He must have seen the budget for this turkey!

Please allow me the indulgence to start this review off with a disclaimer; I loved the original “Highlander” movie, along with the entire concept of one man from each country fighting each other until the end for the amusement of the Gods, etc. This piece of tripe not only soured my fond memory of the first movie, but has stolen some of my ability to give any sequel an unbiased view. This movie is the only one so bad that I went to the theater manager and demanded a refund. Not asked for, but demanded. (I was able to score free tickets to a different movie, so I was only partially successful, I guess.) Be warned, this one is pretty awful.

The first “Highlander” movie started much like this one; we see a crowd of people watching some form of entertainment and we zoom in to see the Highlander in all his brooding glory. No one broods like Christopher Lambert, nobody. We meet Connor as an 80 year old duffer, barely able to stay awake long enough to hear the not-so-fat lady singing opera in a venue clearly marked “Opera”.

Highlander 2

It ain’t the body, it’s the mileage

On the same block you might be able to go to “Bar” and get “Drink”. Connor sees the Wagnerian opera and it reminds him that he was not born of this Earth (Clearly an error, as he had relatives in the first movie that remember him as a child) and that he, Ramirez, and a host of nobodies were rebels on the planet Zeist in the distant past. They were exiled to Earth from this dying, desert like planet because they were fomenting sedition. General Katana (Michael Ironside) chews so much scenery with his “I am not a bad guy, I am THE bad guy” hammy-ness that you just feel sorry for the guy. He has his soldiers who are clearly armed with projectile firearms, lasers, and artillery eschew said weaponry for swords, just so there would be more screen time eaten up with actors jumping about and getting stabbed, chopped, and blown up. Katana, upon capturing Ramirez and Macleod, takes them to his masters instead of killing them there in the desert. His masters ban the two of them to future Earth, where they will be immortal and can fight for the prize; a return ticket home.

Highlander 2

Planet Zeist sucks!

Let me get this straight; I try to overthrow the government of my home desert planet, I screw up and they catch me red handed. But instead of making an example of me by putting me in a huge blender, they send me away to a distant planet in my future that is green, rich and verdant. There, I can fight the other immortals for the prize of returning to Zeist in the past and becoming mortal again, hopefully magically cured of my need to overthrow the current regime. Or, I can choose not to fight and live on lush green Earth forever. Who thought this crap up? Did Brian Clemens even watch the first (and in my opinion, the ONLY) “Highlander” film?

This review can’t even begin to touch on the thousands of errors, lousy special effects, goofiness, or general disdain for the intelligence of the viewer, so I will condense into small chunks for brevity’s sake.

The Earth’s Ozone layer is almost gone; Connor and Alan Neyman build a shield above the ozone layer to protect the fragile eco-system below. Yay. No one questions the scientific prowess of an ex-antiques dealer from Hudson Street. The Shield Corporation that they formed makes a fortune by charging everyone for protection. If you miss a payment, what can they do? Make tiny holes in the shield to fry you and only you? Stupid…

This shield makes it always rain, always hot and humid, and all sunlight is gone. Plants somehow adapt. Somehow. Question: Without sunlight, wouldn’t it get cold pretty quickly?

Rebels led by Louise Marcus break into the local shield generator station, run a test, and see the results plainly state that the radiation above the shield is normal. Why this is news to them baffles me, as it is the ozone layer that is gone, and it protects us from normal radiation levels. So the test proves nothing.

Katana has his handy Earth-O-Vision TV set glued to Connor Macleod, and since he has nothing better to do, he calls his two stupidest soldiers in to travel to Earth and kill Connor. The brighter of the two (and that is saying something, his I.Q. must be in the low 40’s) asks why not just let Connor die naturally, he is barely walking by himself now, and having trouble finding nurses willing to change his Depends® undergarments. Katana slaps the impudent fool and tells him to get on with it and just kill him.

Louise Marcus easily finds Macleod and asks him why he built the shield. He looks at her with the patience of someone talking to an addled insanity victim and gently tells her it was “to save everyone”. She avers that the “Ozone layer has healed itself, and the radiation levels from the Sun are normal”. How could she know this? The test she ran showed that the solar radiation levels above the shield are normal, which has no bearing on whether or not the ozone has replenished itself. Connor points out that it would take more energy than the entire Earth has to shut down the shield. (!) This new science continues to puzzle me here, as it takes energy to keep something powered on, and loss of power tends to shut said unit down. Oh, well. Louise still wants to take her chances. If she is wrong, she is murdering every living being on the planet. Talk about guilt!

Highlander 2

The Shield generator!

While Connor chews this over, the two goons attack, one on a hover board and one with small wings, and the flying is about as believable as a politicians’ promise. Wires shine briefly, speed and conservation of momentum are ignored, etc. Sigh. Connor eventually kills these two clowns and becomes immortal again, after feasting on their life energy. The only good scene in the entire movie is where a suddenly young Connor walks out of some flames and broods. No one broods like Christopher Lambe… Oh, wait, I already said that. Sorry. At this point, I said loudly and clearly in the theater “This movie had better get real good, real quick”. Sadly, it never did.

Highlander 2

The finest assassins Zeist has to offer!

Katana gets the belated news from his Earth-O-Vision that his goons hath snuffed it, and decides to do it himself. He materializes on Earth in a subway train and kills a few innocent people, asks a young boy if he ever wanted to “drive” one of these. I guess they have trains on his desert home planet of Zeist and even evil Generals aren’t allowed to drive the trains no way, no how. He eventually gets it up to 670 KPH which equates to 416 miles per hour. Riiight. Faster than a speeding bullet!

Meanwhile, Louise finally convinces Connor that she is right; they decide that they need help. Connor screams “Ramirez!” for no reason and unbeknownst to the two of them a lightning bolt reconstitutes Ramirez in modern day Scotland, where he appears in the middle of a Shakespeare play of “Macbeth”. He innately knows where Connor is, (Remember he died long before America was discovered in the first movie) and scurries off to meet his second destiny. I know if I was resurrected I would be more than a little amazed at that. The last thing I’d want to do is anything even remotely dangerous!

They meet up, and after some half-hearted swordplay to pad the run time they decide to blow up the shield, but only after Connor and Louise check out the ozone level by climbing up a 12 to 19 miles long ladder inside a mountain and seeing for themselves. They have no trouble breathing in the stratosphere, the near absolute zero cold and scant oxygen doesn’t bother either of them in the slightest, and they view actual sunlight in all its glory, Louise for the first time. Riiight! If I climbed a 12 to 19 mile long ladder, my forearms would make Popeye’s look small in comparison. That Louise is one tough broad!

Highlander 2

Above the ozone layer. Seriously.

They climb down the 12 to 19 mile long tube and meet up with Ramirez. They easily break into the compound by driving in and allowing themselves to be shot with over 100 bullets each. The car’s trunk, which holds Louise in it, must be armored as she suffers not a scratch. Connor and Ramirez wake up in the infirmary where the doc is putting the moves on Louise, and they overpower him and head to the final scene. They get caught in a trap, a huge spinning fan blade in a tube relentlessly advances, and Ramirez pulls a magic hand gesture, slowing the fan blade. He states that “We each have a full measure of life. If we summon it all up in one try, we can do something magic” and somehow opens the locked door, allowing Connor and Louise to escape. He then ran off the set and cashed his paycheck which was over 10% of the total film budget and got the hell out of there. I can’t blame him.

Highlander 2

This movie has dozens of fans! [Dennis: ha ha]

Katana catches up to the duo in the generator room, Connor fights him, and ends up killing him. The power of the Quickening enables Connor to safely step into the power beam that dissolves most matter on contact and disrupt it, destroying the shield and returning Earth to its former sun drenched glory. I’ll bet sunglass vendors made a pretty penny that day. The plants were pleasantly surprised as well.

The movie ends, Connor and Louise walk into an improbably starry night with Ramirez babbling in the distance, probably laughing on his way to the bank. We are left with a nagging thought that we could have watched paint dry and been much, much more entertained.

Highlander 2

Planet Zeist Bro-mance! Get a room, you two!

Karl Hoegle (Feb 2012)

16 comments to Highlander 2 (1991)

  • David Fullam

    Can we burn all the negatives and answer prints for this film? Two movies in and they kill the franchise.

  • Sean

    I haven’t this seen this gem, but I’ll take your word for it that it stinks to high heaven. But about the cast – Sean Connery is a great star, but it seems clear from your review that he, to use George Clooney’s term, raped the movie to pay for his fabulous life-style. No doubt he knew the movie would stink when he signed on. For shame! But my heart goes out to Virginia Madsen. She’s a superb actress – look at her work in Sideways – but she’s been stuck in bad genre work for most of her career. And she never made it big enough to be picky about roles. Work is work.

  • Guts3d

    Pleaase, skip this one. It is bad in a “poke your own eyes out so it will stop” way. I agree about Ms. Madsen, she did her best with the dreck that they foisted on her. Also, Mr. Lambert and Mr. Connery threatened to walk out on this turkey, according to IMDB.

  • Sean

    When you say it’s so bad it will make me poke my own eyes out – you’re trying to talk me into watching it, right? Oh, and that shot of the big red sign saying “Opera” pretty much says it all. Nice screen shot.

  • Actually, I tried watching, but when I got to the flying assassins, I laughed so hard that I fell on the remote and changed the channel, thereby saving my eyes, and no doubt, my sanity.

  • Guts3d

    You, Sir, are the bravest man I know.

  • guts3d

    I watched the original “Highlander” on Blu-ray last night, and it still got to me. The incredible music, the innovative camera work, the original story, the effortless acting. Even the hot dog vendor asking the cops “what does “Incompetent” mean? What does “Baffled” mean?” and laughing his @ss off. I have finally got this trash out of my head! Remember, “There should be only one!”

  • guts3d

    I dug out my sountrack to “Highlander” and listened to it on the way to work. Excellent! We will miss you, Freddie Mercury!

  • guts3d

    Another thought; At one point Conner says that it would take more power than the entire planet Earth has to shut down the shield. And after defeating Katana, he steps into the “beam” and disrupts it, causing the shield to fail. So… General Katana had more power in him than the entire planet Earth??? Preposterous!

  • Guts3d

    Well… That certainly wasn’t me chasing you!

  • Guts3d

    Another thought; Conner and Louise climb up the tube to “see if the Earth’s ozone layer has healed itself yet”. Okaaaaayyy, neither of them brought an umbrella, sunscreen, testing equipment, etc. I guess that they would use their precious facial skin to test the radiation levels and “sense” if they could indeed trash the only protection that the planet had. They stayed there 5 minutes tops, so I guess among other things, immortals have great, sensitive skin.

  • Johnny B

    Dammit, now I have to watch this.

  • Guts3d

    You will so regret it!

  • Hman

    Loved the first movie. Took a girl on a date to the theater when it opened. Raved to her about how great the first highlander movie was, and how deep it was…spritually and all that.
    After this turkey of a movie, she called it an early night, never saw her again….

  • Guts3d

    I watched the original “Highlander” on Blu-Ray last night. Classic pacing, music that breathlessly pulls you into the story, just enough mystery to keep the viewer wondering… If there was a class on how to make a movie, I’d use “Highlander” as one example of how to do it right.

  • Guts3d

    Zounds! They are rebooting Highlander! I guess that there is a few $$$ left in the old girl. (http://ew.com/movies/2017/02/09/highlander-remake-reboot-chad-stahelski/)

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