Film Review: Highlander The Source

Highlander 5 poster Film Review: Highlander The Source 

The Highlander franchise was always hurt by the fact that the original film had a definitive ending.  Highlander was always a cool and original concept.  The idea is that immortals have been running around for centuries living many lives in my different countries, and fighting till just one remains.  That immortal credo “there can be only one” used to be something interesting and gave the film and series that spun off the film some depth.  The immortals have to constantly fight till one remains.  They can only die if their head is removed from their body.  This is called a quickening, and during it, the life essence of the decapitated immortal flows into you and you absorb all their knowledge and power.

Living forever may sound very cool but not if everyone around you that is mortal (especially friends and lovers) get older and die while you remain the same age forever and can never have children.  The first film’s most memorable scene involves the original Highlander Christopher Lambert in the highlands of Scotland watching over his great love as she gets older and eventually passes away.  The brooding classic tune by Queen “Who Wants to Live Forever” plays as flashbacks show their happy life together.  After burying his love Heather, Lambert wanders off into the highlands, a nomad, moving through time, never aging, and always fighting to keep his head.  The original film is a classic with sweeping camerawork from rock video director Russell Mulcahy, an engaging and original storyline, and great acting all around.  Sean Connery makes for a great mentor and Clancy Brown steals scene after scene as the evil immortal called The Kurgan.

Most Highlander fans will tell you that the second film (where the immortals are revealed to be aliens from a planet called Zeist) is the worst film of the series, but sadly this isn’t the case any longer.  Highlander: The Source (which premiered direct to the Sci Fi Channel last night) makes Highlander 2 look like Requiem for a Dream.  The Source is an extremely bad film that forgets to include anything that made Highlander special in the first place.  There’s no drama, interesting plotlines, sword-fighting (its a Highlander film, how is that possible), emotion, romance, or even a pulse anywhere in sight.  It was directed by a hack named Brett Leonard who made an awful Man-Thing film that also went straight to the Sci Fi Channel and also directed The Lawnmower Man.

The Source opens far in a cheap looking post apocalyptic future where our hero Duncan MacCleod (Adrian Paul, unshaven and looking about as miserable as I was during the film) and a band of the remaining immortals search for the source of immortality.  They are being tracked by a supposedly menacing villain named The Guardian (some pasty, muscular freak in an S/M outfit who has more lame one-liners than Robin Williams after a cocaine binge) who wants to stop our heroes from finding out what the source really is.   The second half of the film takes place in some random forest because apparantly the filmmakers ran out of money. This film is really a grade Z action film that is barely a Highlander movie at all.  The sweeping flashbacks (there’s not even a shot of Scotland in the film) have been replaced by lame action scenes and lamer storytelling.  Duncan’s great love “Anna” (who has NEVER been mentioned once in the series) resembles a drag queen or a coal miner.  In the one flashback (well, kind of, the background was all white),  she whines about Duncan not being able to give her a baby.  She’s the supportive type I guess.  Adrian Paul was always charismatic and a fine swordsman and martial artist on the series, but you wouldn’t know that while watching The Source.  The fights in the film are plodding and boring and Paul is emo and glum.

It’s the ending where this film really pissed me off though.  It’s anti-climatic and incoherent.  We never learn what “the source” is, which was the whole point of the film existing, to find out where immortals come from and why they are in an endless struggle to be the last one remaining.  The final fight is hideously bad as Duncan and the S/M freak super-speed in a magical sandbox bathed in blue light for a few minutes leading up to a shot of a fetus and an adult contemporary song featuring lyrics like ” I know that I am the one, I shine like the sun “.  This film gave me diarrhea and I banish it for eternity.  I am going to pretend this film doesn’t exist and live in denial.  Highlander: The Source is, without any doubt in my mind, the worst film of all time.

Film Grade:  F

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