Experience the action of an immortal’s journey through time and space like never before with Highlander and Highlander 2, each coming to individual 1080P High Definition Blu-ray Disc for the first time ever! The explosive beginning to one of the most popular film franchises of all time blasts onto Blu-ray packed with special features including deleted scenes from each film. The Highlander Blu-ray features the director’s cut of the film and audio commentary with director Russell Mulcahy and producers Peter S. Davis and William N. Panzer, while the Highlander 2 disc adds enhanced and re-imagined visual effects, four featurettes, an alternate ending and more!
One of the most beloved sci-fi action-adventure series in film and TV history, Highlander is an epic tale of immortality starring Christopher Lambert and Sean Connery. When Scottish clansman Connor MacLeod (Lambert) discovers his true identity as part of a legion of immortals, his journey spans the world and centuries before finally landing him in modern day New York. MacLeod is unfortunately set to face other immortals in a showdown where only one can survive. Featuring music by the legendary band Queen, Highlander is a modern classic and “A truly heroic stomp through time and space” (BBC).
Although my father was a huge fan of the Highlander TV series, he never talked much about the films. I don’t know if he just didn’t much care for them or if he just preferred the TV series, but they were never watched much whenever they would be on TV. While I have yet to watch that TV series I did want to watch these films to see how it all started…and at least in the case of this first one I could see the appeal, but the sequel…makes my brain hurt. But I’ll get to that film later.
Highlander is an interestingly executed piece of film as it flips back and forth between modern day and ancient times to get the full story of the immortals and the whole beheading requirement. We also get to see some of the more brutal elements of being immortal, such as a battle between Clancy Brown and Sean Connery (an odd pairing, I know) and the subsequent acts that Brown carries out upon beheading Connery. It’s really quite a violent film, but the way it manages to mix together ancient times elements with modern ones is the strongest part of it. I wouldn’t have guessed this was the kind of film it was from the cover alone but it definitely has some long-standing appeal, simply because there really isn’t a film that came along and copied its formula. Granted the film itself was a copy of a myriad of other formulas, but it did it remarkably well. Plus it pumped in enough drama, romance, and violence to keep the viewer entertained while it skated past some of the more confusing plot moments.
Sadly they made a sequel to this film and made it in the worst way possible. Not only does it jump backward and forward more times than the first film (and not just between two time periods—this time we get three or four…possibly more, I don’t know and/or care anymore) but it mixes in some absolutely moronic and stupid plot points. Connery gets revived in a stupid fashion and the whole environmental/eternal darkness subplot just seemed very poorly thought out. I get the idea they were going for but nothing in this film (story, writing, acting, budget) was up to the task it presented. It was truly horrible and just about the only thing its good for is a MST3K outing to properly pan it into the ground.
Overall it’s a very mixed pair of films but Highlander comes Recommended while Highlander II is something to Avoid.
Lionsgate releases this pair of films in fairly packed editions. The discs themselves arrive standard Elite Blu-ray cases and of course there’s an easily navigable menu system, but other than that there’s really nothing new here to talk about, as the extras are all ported over from past releases.
Video for the series takes the usual route in quality that these older films take. By this I mean the second looks better than the first film as there is softness to the image to be sure and color levels tend to vary more than they should but overall it’s a much stronger presentation than what you’d get from the standard DVD releases of the past. The video for the sequel gets marginally better as it goes along, but considering we deal with a terrible movie I just want to ignore it all the while. Audio is a DTS-HD MA 5.1 mix across the board with, once again, the sound effects getting better with the sequel, although not by much. Overall it’s a decent A/V presentation for both, but you’re really only going to want to check out the first film anyway, regardless of how nice the sequel looks and sounds.
• Deleted scenes
• Audio commentary with director Russell Mulcahy and producers Peter S. Davis and William N. Panzer
Highlander II: The Quickening
• “The Redemption of Highlander 2” featurette
• “The Music of Highlander 2” featurette
• “The Fabric of Highlander 2” featurette
• “Shadow & Darkness: the Cinematography of Highlander 2” featurette
• Original Cannes Film Festival Promotional Reel
• Deleted scenes
• Alternate ending
• Original theatrical trailer
Yes you read that right. There are about six times the amount of extras on the sequel as the first film. That’s called injustice. Still, this is no surprise considering these extras are all ported over from past releases anyway. Overall Highlander is a Recommended release to check out while Highlander II is something you can safely kick to the curb and never look at again.
Highlander and Highlander II: The Quickening are now available on Blu-ray.