Written by: Stephen Kelvin Watkinsand Mark Bradley based on characters by Gregory Widen
Directed by: Brett Leonard
Starring: Adrian Paul, Thekla Reuten, Cristian Solimeno
- “Highlander – The Process”
- Storyboard-to-Scene Comparisons
- Tribute to Bill Panzer
Released by: Lions Gate
My Advice: Don’t Bother, Especially If You’re A Highlander Fan
Among the Immortals, there is a legend of the Source. It may be the origin of the Immortals, their ultimate prize, or just a myth. A group of Immortals led by Duncan MacLeod of the Clan MacLeod are going to find out. Duncan is reluctant and doubts the Source’s existence, but his mortal wife Anna has been receiving visions and is determined to follow them. Of course, being a quest, there are obstacles. You got a bunch of Immortals at each others throats (with their swords), a tribe of modern day cannibals, and The Guardian of the Source. A being who moves like lightning and is immortal like them, he taunts and harasses them at every turn. Is Duncan the one to defeat the Guardian and find out what the Source truly is?
[ad#longpost]When you want to revitalize a franchise, you want to satisfy the fans of that franchise but make it easy for new viewers to get involved in the story. This movie fails miserably on all counts. For example, you have a couple of characters from the television series, the Immortal Methos and mortal Joe Dawson. But when you don’t really explain what their relationship is to Duncan, you cut out the newbies. When you also barely use them for anything other than cheap emotional manipulation, you piss off the fans. In fact, there is little character development at all. There’s a funny hacker Immortal and a freaky looking priest Immortal and I really couldn’t figure why they were bothering with finding the Source other than it just was something to do. This lack of character really hurt Duncan’s love interest, Anna. You need a strong woman to hang with Duncan and the Immortal lifestyle. The actress playing Anne barely even registers and the chemistry between her and Paul is zero.
For some reason, the film is set in the near future. So you have characters wearing VR glasses and holographic displays but no one with an iPhone. So it’s more the near future from the 1990s. I guess the director was too lazy to make the present day interesting so it’s all typical urban decay: burning cars, foreign language graffiti, and everyone dressed in the standard European Refugee costume. Added to that overuse of color filters, an overly long and tedious exposition scene, and bad green screen all further detract from the movie. The Big Bad of the piece, the Guardian of the Source, looks like he was rejected from the Cenobite auditions. His super speed effect is laughable and his villainous quips fall flat. Then there is the ending. Don’t worry, I’m not going to spoil it but the resolution is ridiculous. I think this tidbit will illustrate how bad the ending, and in fact the whole movie, is. Highlander: The Source was planned to be the first in a trilogy of Highlander films. However, the reception for this film was so bad, the plan was scraped and they are now talking about a remake of the original film. I rest my case.
The extras are a mixed bag. There is a tribute to Bill Panzer, one of the producers who help start and sustain the Highlander franchise. From his friends and his own words, we learn that he had a love for life and a love for film. He seems like a genuinely interesting guy who died too soon. The behind the scenes feature is a mess, running nearly as longer as the movie. It’s as if they filmed all this “making of” footage but didn’t bother to edit it or make it coherent. A voiceover narration explaining what is going on would have been quite helpful. But the making of featurette is a reflection of the crapfest it covers. If you have any love for the Highlander franchise, Highlander: The Source will kill it. Avoid.