Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

One of the films I watched and reviewed this week was a cute little Scottish film called ‘American Cousins’ in which I commented that the director of that film seemed to stand aside and let the actors carry the film with mostly static camera work.  Damn I wish someone would have sent that memo to Brett Leonard, director of the fifth, and hopefully the last film in the Highlander series named ‘Highlander:  The Source’.  Seriously, if you think for a moment you may have some epileptic tendencies, then DO NOT watch this movie as it has more flashes, cuts, bright lights, zooms, and tiresome special effects than any movie I can recall in recent memory.  Why simply walk down the street when you can do a flash close-up, then a quick pan, then flash again, then speed up the camera double time, only to slow it down to slow motion?  This was literally driving me crazy and it went on throughout the movie.  Now maybe Mr. Leonard was trying to put perfume on this pig, but it didn’t quite work out that way. 

Sometime in the near future Duncan MacCleod of the Clan MacCleod (Adrian Paul) is not the man that he once was.  He is looking over what seems to be a post apocalyptic landscape, drinking and unshaven, with his only purpose being looking after his estranged wife who wanders these foreign streets as well.  She wants a child you see, and this is man who can never supply her with one.  Off in the distance there is another immortal Zai (Stephen Rahman Hughes), an archeologist who has found the origins of the source.  The source, though it is never explained how or why, is the origin of the immortals and if they can get to the source, then finally, we can find one who is the one in that whole ‘there can only be one’ mantra these clowns chant whenever they lop off someone’s dome.

Problem is that there is the freaky, wise cracking dude with a metal helmet who is known as the Guardian and is entrusted with protecting the source, and so he goes around killing those who want it.  Those familiar with the six season television show will recognize Methos (Peter Winfield) and Joe (Jim Byrnes) who joins Duncan on the quest along with the wayward wife with visions of the source (Thekla Reuten), also we have a geeky computer immortal (Stephen Wright), and an immortal man of the Vatican, who we know by simply being a man of God, in a movie like this, is up to no damn good.

Now I claim to be no Highlander expert, though I know there are those of you that live and breathe Highlander Lore.  When a good friend of mine was asked what's the best movie ever made was, he said, without hesitation or thought, the original Highlander.  He also said that ‘Highlander 2:  The Quickening’, was the worst movie ever made.  But this thing was just completely incomprehensible.  Since I am no Highlander expert, and if finding the source is the way to find out who is going to be The One, then why in the world have they been cutting off each others heads for the last two millenniums?  I understand the need to make a movie, and bleed a franchise dry to squeeze a few more bucks out of it, but how difficult would it have been to have created something that vaguely resembled what was built and cultivated for the last twenty or so years, AND make it so that it was assembled in a way to make it understandable.  I don’t think it would have been that difficult at all.

Who is this woman who is not an immortal that has the visions that lead to the source?  Who are the horse riding cannibals who capture our immortals and want to eat them?  Why does Duncan MacCleod of the Clan MacCleod want kids so bad?  I have kids Duncan, they aren’t all they’re cracked up to be.  Why does this film even exist? 

Okay, so it’s not all bad.  Adrian Paul is still a decent Duncan MacCleod and does escape this thing with some dignity, though his big battle at the end with The Guardian was really lame.  There was a lot action with car chases, explosions, arrow shooting, horse riding cannibals and the such, and if you like frenetic editing, and flashy special effects layered upon flashy visual effects then by golly, they’ve just made your movie.  Personally, I thought the whole thing was an awful train wreck.  Here’s to hoping that this is the end of the Highlander, at least in its present form.  It certainly deserved a better send off than this one.

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