Release: 11th July 2016
Format: BR / DVD / DGTL
After surviving a wound that should have killed him during a clan battle in the Scottish Highlands in 1536, Connor MacLeod (Christopher Lambert) is banished from his village. Years later, he is met by Juan Sanchez Villa-Lobos Ramirez (Sean Connery), a swordsman who teaches MacLeod the truth about himself; he is immortal, one of a race of many who can only die when the head is cut from the body. He must fight his way through the centuries until the time of the gathering, when the few immortals who have survived the ages will come together to fight until only one remains. In New York City the final fight is about to begin, and in the end there can be only one.
Step away from all the L.A.R.Ping (Live Action Role Play) connotations, and you’ll find that swords have always been pretty cool. Errol Flynn, Kurosawa and Zorro may have paved the way, but never were swords as cool as when Christopher Lambert first wielded one inside a parking garage – white trainers, et al – beheading Peter Diamond. As Diamond’s Iman Fasil drops like a sack of spuds, Lambert looks up into a beam of light and the world around him explodes into life. The minds of every teenage boy watching were blown and a cult classic was born.
Now in its 30th year, Highlander has received the 4K treatment courtesy of Studiocanal. As dated as director Russell Mulcahy’s sci-fi epic may be, it looks and feel absolutely gorgeous in this restored version. Known for his stylised use of colour and light, Mulcahy’s 80’s pop video sensibilities were begging for a high-definition scan and the end result does not disappoint. Go from one of Nicolas Winding Refn’s latest joints to this, and stylistically you’d be hard pushed to guess which is the contemporary.
Granted, in spite of its now legendary status, there is plenty wrong with this swords and camel coat epic. For starters, the film is bat-sh*t bonkers. Only in the 80’s and from an Austrailian director, would such an insane premise be brought to realisation with such earnest intent. The plot is more than a little murky, and accents are impenetrable. Had Highlander surfaced today, it would likely star Jason Statham or Keanu Reeves; so it remains a high-end B-movie. But as a form of entertainment, Highlander has always been and always will be good fun. The sequels and TV spin-off were of varying quality, but when the original requires a fair amount of goodwill to elevate it above average, you have to accept that…sorry, cannot resist…the really could be only one.
Film Grade: B
The big selling points, aside from the 4K transfer, are two shiny new Interviews with Mulcahy and Lambert. Both are filled with juicy little sound bites, and Mulchay’s euphemisms for “Sean Connery is a nightmare”, are worth the money alone. However, both men seem to be doing impressions of other celebrities; Mulcahy, Keith Richards and Lamber, Christopher Walken. Go figure.
The Making Of is an oldy, but thick with detail. While the Deleted Scenes are a great way to test your lip reading ability.
Aside from a Trailer and a second Interview with Lambert from back in the day, you have Mulcahy’s Director’s Commentary – which is solid.
Special Features Grade: A-
As mental as it has ever been, Highlander looks lush in 4K, and with a few solid extras it makes this Blu-Ray a must buy for fans.