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Overall Rating
1.39

Awesome: 2.63%
Worth A Look: 2.63%
Average: 4.39%
Pretty Bad: 11.4%
Total Crap78.95%

2 reviews, 102 user ratings


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Highlander 2: The Quickening
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by brianorndorf

"There should've been only one"
2 stars

This past summer, I had the rare opportunity to view the original “Highlander” on the big screen with a crowd of superfans and the elderly. There I was reminded just how magnificently oddball the 1986 feature is, mixing emotional fantasy escapism with rough acts of swordsmanship and villainy, moving through time and across the Earth to tell a distinctive story of immortality, backed by hyper-stylized direction from Russell Mulcahy and the heavenly sounds of Queen, who breathed romantic life into the picture with their soundtrack. It’s a splendid film filled with a fractured sense of sci-fi poetry, blessed with an ending that delivered refreshing finality.

Or so I thought.

In the 2024, the ozone layer has been replaced by a worldwide energy shield, originally meant to protect Earth from destruction, only to become a prison for those less economically fortunate. The architect of the shield, Connor MacLeod (Christopher Lambert), has grown to become a weary old man, long removed from his former immortal glory, patiently awaiting his death. From the past comes General Katana (Michael Ironside, chewing the scenery), a Kurgan-like terror who’s come to kill MacLeod and assume control of the planet. Teaming up with Louise (Virginia Madsen), an environmental crusader, and old pal Ramirez (Sean Connery), MacLeod, having retained his immortal status, seeks to thwart Katana’s plan and disarm the shield, thus restoring life to Earth.

While flawed in many ways, “Highlander” enjoyed a unity of spirit and imagination that kept it on task. It didn’t provide all the answers, but there was an ambiguity at play that felt organic, creating an engrossing legend built around everlasting life, beheadings, and love affairs spread out through the centuries. “Highlander 2” is a tragically misbegotten slab of confusion and unintentional hilarity -- it’s a bona fide disaster of a motion picture, riding off the rails in an operatic fashion that’s made it a cult classic. Almost everything that was pure and exhilarating about “Highlander” has been removed from the sequel. However, if you believe the behind-the-scenes tales of the film’s besieged, abortive shoot, it’s clear this is the best motion picture to emerge from such a disastrous journey to the screen.

In short, “Highlander 2” ran out of money during its chaotic principal photography shoot in Argentina, pulled away from returning director Mulcahy before he had a chance to finish it. Released in 1991 to universal disdain as “Highlander II: The Quickening,” the film died at the box office, laughed out of theaters. Interest was renewed in the sequel on home video, where controversial producers William Panzer (who died in 2007) and Peter S. Davis reworked the film numerous times, pulling out subplots, fixing special effects, and placing a few band-aids on the narrative. The efforts are appreciable (one sequence was shot four years after the film originally shut down), but the result is pretty much the same lump of failure. “Highlander 2” makes no sense, despite the obvious patches affixed to the picture over the years. It’s an amusingly baffling feature that doesn’t know what it wants for itself or the audience, spending a great deal of time replicating moments from the original film just to get by.

“Highlander 2” is a mess. Nevertheless, damn it, it’s a gorgeous mess.

Feeling the wind in his hair, Mulcahy imprints the film with a special rock video vibe, shooting the bejesus out of his colossal sets with an assortment of cranes and lighting tricks, constructing a fantasy widescreen mood that cannot be beat. The special effects are a jumble of professional efforts, but the core appearance of the movie, with its ornate architecture and lush sense of location, is amazing to behold, best served with a finger firmly pressed on the “mute” button, lest the cross-eyed dialogue and complete disregard for continuity get in the way. I’ve sat through “Highlander 2” on several occasions and I’m always knocked out by the look of the film -- that unmistakable magnificence of practical sets and effects that’s lost in today’s greenscreen environments. At lot of sweat and tears went into the photography of this picture, and, for the most part, the toil is evident.

This being the, I think, third incarnation of the film, with all the Planet Zeist (the home for the immortals in the theatrical cut) material stripped from the feature (making the alien visuals even more baffling), “Highlander 2” should be reasonably comfortable. Yet, the film remains hopelessly lame, wounded from the tinkering and the general anarchy of the production woes. If “Highlander” is a bloody, battered waltz through time, “Highlander 2” is a headbanging session that’s gone on too long.

The bright spot about “Highlander 2” is that, compared to the knuckleheaded sequels that followed in the bleak Panzer/Davis teat-squeezin’ years, it’s a divinely designed jumble of a film. It’s incoherent, but a joy to stare at for 105 minutes, watching as a franchise is epically flushed down the toilet.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=1015&reviewer=404
originally posted: 10/30/10 02:48:56
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User Comments

2/20/15 Chris Jarmick for those who thought the first movie made too much sense. . . Lambert's horrid 1 stars
7/21/12 Sean Harrison Great way to ruin a great legacy. 1 stars
8/12/11 chris At least its better than the 3rd sequel. 3 stars
11/25/10 Jeff Wilder Less a sequel than a very bad mishmash of Highlander and Star Wars. 1 stars
11/02/10 K. Sear Completely nonsensical. 1 stars
8/16/08 Mike Rotch People on airplanes were walking out on this movie. Worst Episode Ever. 1 stars
11/09/07 Fucka Ungodly bad 1 stars
12/17/06 Denise Not quick enough; film needed a mercy killing 1 stars
7/12/06 David Cohen So bad it hurt 1 stars
5/28/06 JM Synth A poor sequel, but a fun time at the cinema for not-too-discerning action fans (like me!) 3 stars
10/16/05 Monster W. Kung Worst sequel ever. 1 stars
10/14/05 ram1brn some people just dont know when to quit should have stopped at 1 4 stars
8/13/05 ES Mr. Connery can we interest you in a quick sell-out at the expense of the viewer= certainly 1 stars
7/24/05 C Vega how the hell can they make a sequel after the ending of the original ???GOD AWFUL! 1 stars
4/09/05 God evil 1 stars
4/01/05 craig varney you'll quicken to the rewind button 2 stars
2/26/05 Stephanie Loved it! Not quite as good as the first, but great 4 stars
2/07/05 Jeff Anderson This sequel should never have been made! Michael Ironside gives the only fun acting in this 1 stars
1/02/05 Delirium Tremens I've seen more convincing plots coming out of my ass. 1 stars
12/03/04 Tom Benton I think Ebert said it best: "almost awesome in its badness"! 2 stars
10/09/04 John I'm afraid it's pretty painful to watch 1 stars
9/25/04 Sugarfoot Terrible. Just terrible. 1 stars
9/02/04 me evil 1 stars
6/07/04 tim good movie 5 stars
4/30/04 Gray if the first movie was art than this is a crime against art 1 stars
4/18/04 American Slasher Goddess See The Renegade Version, much better then the The Quickening version. 3 stars
4/17/04 Cracked head I'd rather pull my eyes out with a screwdriver and take a shit on 'em than watch this again 1 stars
3/16/04 Monster W. Kung I want my 29 years of life back. 1 stars
1/06/04 Eric Wiertalla this movie sucks more than a gay guy 1 stars
1/05/04 Christopher Lambert This movie c'est la merde! 1 stars
12/15/03 Kung Jerker Jebus, save me from this crap! 1 stars
11/09/03 chris browne A true Highlander fan I am, but may God damn the man who wrote this Ham. 1 stars
10/05/03 Sugarfoot Here's a made up title that fits my sentiments, Highlander 5:PLEASE MAKE THEM STOP! 1 stars
9/27/03 Ross Glenn Less a sequel than a parody of the original 1 stars
9/27/03 Mike Worse than Gigli 1 stars
8/24/03 Arch-vile Criminally bad. Calling it an insult to brain cells is an understatement. 1 stars
8/02/03 LeoH Can someone explain what this has to do with the first one? 1 stars
7/29/03 Asshat Highlander II: The Sickening 1 stars
6/16/03 P toya Profound crap. I can just see the older middle aged film producer screaming for a rubdown 1 stars
6/08/03 Ripper What the bloody hell was Sean Connery doing in this pile of crap? 1 stars
5/09/03 thorpedo good movie none of the movies follow a certain plot 5 stars
4/25/03 Dragon Katana I'm a huge Highlander fan of the original movie....this really sucks balls. Avoid HL2 2 stars
4/24/03 GWB an afront but still highlander 4 stars
3/28/03 Matt Thiel When making a sequel, you should NEVER contradict the first film. NEVER! 1 stars
3/22/03 Derrick Howes An excellent film, the original was dull, this was not. Well worth a viewing or two! 5 stars
3/06/03 SS The first film was brilliant; this one was disgraceful! 1 stars
1/29/03 wintermute Why the fuck are they flying? 1 stars
12/19/02 The Bint Id be more entertained if I was on FIRE! 1 stars
11/17/02 PsiSeeker Look under the barrel and you'll find this flick!...>> Pure Shit! << 1 stars
10/27/02 Matt Neopalitano Highlander II: The Sickening 1 stars
10/16/02 resident evil terrible letdown from the first highlander film 2 stars
10/16/02 Drederick Tatum This movie sucks cock! 1 stars
10/15/02 Charles Tatum Totally negates the overrated original! 2 stars
9/28/02 Turd Lambert is a shit-eating moron fuckface lame-brained hippopotamus' vomit for brains homo. 1 stars
9/14/02 Magnum Craphole Never before in cinema history! 1 stars
8/16/02 KMG CAN LAMBERT BE ANY UGLIER? 1 stars
8/14/02 Monster W. Kung I believe they actually used this for medical exams: if you like it, you're retarded. 1 stars
7/25/02 CVJ ABSOLUTE SHITE SEE THE FIRST ONE INSTEAD 2 stars
6/19/02 Sentence Deconstructor Worst sequel of all time, and it wins that by a landslide. 1 stars
6/18/02 Bart What a load of crap. Heaping. 1 stars
5/19/02 Larry SONUVABITCH!!! THIS SUCKED!!!! 1 stars
5/13/02 John Slone Possibly THE worst movie of all time - sucks pretty hard. 1 stars
3/19/02 Justin Simpson Only one thing to say after seeing this movie... "What the fuck?!" 1 stars
1/15/02 MF I've seen MUCH worse dreck lately 3 stars
1/05/02 Patrick Rossi Who was blackmailing the actors? 1 stars
1/05/02 Magnum Craphole Worst movie of the 90s. 1 stars
12/13/01 Dominik Duprelle If I remember rightly, the plot sort of implodes after about 20 mins. Cheap Dreck. 1 stars
12/01/01 Cracked head Makes Batman & Robin look like The Godfather. 1 stars
10/30/01 officer412/l FUCKING BULLSHIT. PLAIN AND SMIPLE 1 stars
10/25/01 Zargo i didn't think it was quite that bad... 3 stars
10/22/01 Cookie Cutter The badness of this is unbelievable. A sequel that almost destroyed the original. Abysmal. 1 stars
8/23/01 ridley spazer is zero stars not an option? immortals are aliens? people of earth live w/o sun for 25yrs? 1 stars
7/19/01 Rolling Thunder OMG... this is so bad it's unbelievable... never, ever seen a worst idea for a sequel. 1 stars
7/09/01 Caligula so bad I attempted suicide during the projection 1 stars
6/20/01 J Arcane An insult 1 stars
5/23/01 Dean Ridiculous story + bad acting + plot inconsistencies = complete shit. 1 stars
3/28/01 Monster W. Kung For sequels, tt doesn't get any more idiotic than this. 1 stars
3/20/01 TNT-6 The worst sequel ever made, worse than Psycho II. 1 stars
3/16/01 Spetters A big, incoherent, badly-acted fucking piece of shit!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 1 stars
2/26/01 Mister Char doesn't stick to series at all, better to just skip this one 1 stars
2/24/01 J This movie is an insult to the medium of film. DIE! 1 stars
2/24/01 Elladan To those who said it was other than crap, I urge you, seek professional medical help. 1 stars
11/15/00 salvo toscano seriously, the worst film I've ever seen 1 stars
10/02/00 Madoc69 Sir Sean Connery is the only thing in this movie that is decent 1 stars
9/14/00 The Dano Renegade version is nothing to be ashamed of, but the Quickening version? ARRGGH!!!! 1 stars
9/09/00 knutmo There can be only ONE dumbasses! Why the hell did you go on and make these piece of crap!!! 1 stars
8/08/00 Mic Highlander is lost in the lowest of the lows... 1 stars
6/20/00 Castigir Makes the Avengers look good! Blows dead donkey dicks!!! 1 stars
4/15/00 malcolm what the fuck?! 1 stars
4/14/00 Jim SUCKS SUCKS SUCKS. The worst movie ever made! 1 stars
1/10/00 Will AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAIEEEEEEEEEEEEEE 1 stars
1/07/00 Tim W. This crime requires punishment. Decapitate the writers! Shoot Mulcahy! Rape Madsen! 1 stars
11/30/99 Roberto A total, complete, unmitigated piece of shit! Run away! 1 stars
11/04/99 Karahde Khan An insult to intelligence. The worst Sci-Fi movie ever. How did Sean agree to do this? 1 stars
10/07/99 strike It was all about the money!!! 1 stars
9/29/99 DarkHorse Easily the worst movie Sean Connery has ever been in. Words can't decribe how much it sucks 1 stars
9/16/99 Jeff Michels just piss poor 1 stars
8/21/99 John H Seeing this movie for free is too costly. 1 stars
12/15/98 Binky I saw this before the others and it took me five years to get the courage to see the rest. 1 stars
12/12/98 Jules Don't be fooled into thinking this is a bad film worth laughing at. It's just bad.... 1 stars
12/01/98 Mr.Pink This sucked big time! 1 stars
10/22/98 chi-fan What happened to "There can be only one?" 2 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  01-Jan-1991 (R)
  DVD: 20-Jul-2004

UK
  N/A

Australia
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