Highlander: Endgame

Directed by Douglas Aarniokoski
Starring: Christophe(r) Lambert, Adrian Paul, Bruce Payne, Lisa Barbuscia, Donnie Yen.
MPAA Rating: R for violence and some strong sexuality.

Review by Matt Heffernan <matt@filmhead.com>
September 2, 2000

This is it! There can be no more Highlander films or TV shows. As the title of the fourth film, Highlander: Endgame implies, at one point we get down to the last two immortals on earth, and only one will remain standing after their conflict. I've never been a fan of the series, so I really don't mind seeing its demise. Anyway, let's take a look at how it went.

Christophe Lambert (or Christopher, as he is credited in his English-language films) is back again as the French Scotsman who refuses to die, Connor MacLeod. After losing yet another loved one, he gives up on the whole immortal "game" and enters "The Sanctuary". There he can sit in a drug-induced stupor, protected from having to confront other immortals. Ironically, immortals can be pretty impatient, so a gang of them storm the sanctuary, killing all those inside, except for Connor.

When his cousin Duncan (Adrian Paul, bringing his television character to the big screen) hears of the attack, he is told that Connor was killed, but a reunion soon kills that myth. Duncan learns that it was Jacob Kell (Bruce Payne) who killed the other immortals, in an attempt to become the last one alive, and therefore the most powerful.

In case you're wondering how supposed immortals are killed, it's quite simple: their heads must be cut off. Each time an immortal kills another, he experiences a "quickening" which makes him more powerful. And so goes the Highlander myth. You can pretty much gather that just from watching this film, but its true audience is the cult of fans. Despite the commercial failure of the last two films, Miramax is counting on this fanbase to make this last shot at the cinema pay off.

There's no deterring the fans, but for the rest of humanity, I'd have to recommend against the film. The biggest problem with the whole series is Lambert, who just can't hide his French accent with a Scottish one. The rest of the cast is of little help as they limp and bound through the ridiculous screenplay. The only thing that elevates the film from just another shoulda-been direct-to-video action flick is the use of swordplay instead of constant gunfire. This allows the film to be almost lyrical at times, even if it doesn't attempt to make sense.

As long as it keeps moving from swordfight to swordfight, and flashes back to Old Scotland periodically, the fans will be happy. Highlander: Endgame delivers that basic formula, but never attempts to go beyond it. Fine. Whatever. Just don't bother me with any more sequels.


For more information, go to the Internet Movie Database:
Highlander: Endgame (2000)

Here's some merchandise for sale at Amazon.com
Highlander: Endgame (2000) -- VHS
Highlander: Endgame (2000) -- DVD


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Review © 2000 Matt Heffernan