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Never in the field of human endeavour has there been an act of such instrumental, destructive, diabolical folly as this justifiably reviled, quasi-sequel to the original 1986 fantasy in which immortal warriors duelled throughout the ages until one remained. Yes, its Highlander II - a film so bad that Robert Mugabe refused to show it to white farmers on the grounds that it would be "exceptionally cruel". Needing to grasp on to a strand of optimism, perhaps only the thickness of a human hair, I long ago decided that the film existed purely as a textbook demonstration for future filmmakers on how not to make a successful sequel to a hit movie. This theory alone explains the cynicism on screen and the ham-fisted, slapdash, car-crash handling of the material. Don't misunderstand; I'm not saying this thing is poor - poor would be generous praise for a Frankenstein fantasy in which all the invention, both visual and conceptual, inherent in the first film's appeal is frittered to nothing. In fact, the totality of the words already used are only the merest fraction of those required to accurately portray the near total devastation that washed over me as I sat through it (I'm ashamed to say not for the only time) on a stormy night 14 years ago. Russell Mulchay deserves to be poisoned and broad beaten with a tent pole in the male ruminations for his decision to helm the whole sorry affair and grind his original good work to dust. It hardly needs saying but the problem for anyone scripting a Highlander II is that Highlander I concluded business comprehensively with no outlet for a second episode. To get around this the makers of The Quickening simply decided to ditch the back-story of the original film and invent a new one which would enable them to write around the fact that all the immortals, bar M.Lambert were, not unlike themselves, dead from the neck up. So although McCloud was originally born in Scotland and Ramierez in er, Egypt, now they were aliens from a planet called Zeist; handy, because this new ancestry meant that all that was needed to reengergise the concept was that another visitor showed up on Earth and the games can begin again. To fully appreciate how awful an idea this is you need only imagine a Star Wars sequel in which the action is suddenly set in present day Earth for reasons of plot convenience or a second instalment of Titanic in which it's revealed that Jack and Rose are actually time-travellers and are thus able to prevent the disaster and save all their friends. Thus Highlander II is effectively the one line joke in the Player in which the writer of the Graduate pitches the terrible sequel writ large and for real. We can only imagine that the owners of the original film were desperate for more because nothing but desperation could possibly explain how this made it to the screen. If blame were slurry and required apportioning by EU agricultural directive then you'd need roughly 6 tankers worth, each containing somewhere in the region of 40,000 tonnes. The shame of Sean Connery and Christopher Lambert is palpable and everyone who felt any enjoyment during this picture is consciously and deliberately complicit in its evil work. As a purely commercial enterprise with no respect or consideration for the 1st film or its fans, we can only hope that all involved lost millions and that having lost their deposit they were forced to sell themselves into sexual slavery. Highlander III, not exactly itself a great sequel, ignored this one completely as ironically it left no outlet for a third episode but it too was a cynical cash-in and could only continue the first film by ignoring its ending whereas the forth in the series simply didn't bother with the first film at all, opting instead to go with the spin-off T.V series. That's the way the rot spread but here's where it started - now please Hollywood...never again.
Ah, friends. Come sit with me as we experience the Quickening. If we
both stick our hands into a puddle of orange, shiny goo, we'll be
shocked, and yet, united. Then we can battle the evil Katana and save
Zeist from ... from what?
This is the effect of HIGHLANDER II.
HIGHLANDER II: THE QUICKENING is set in the future. Well, at least, I think it is. The film begins on Earth in the year 1999. Then, it heads off to the planet Zeist 500 years before. Following that, we're back to Earth in the year 2024. I'd say the film is pretty much divided between being on Earth in 2024 and Zeist 500 years before, but I think it was meant to be on Earth in 2024.
Now that that's cleared up ...
Imagine, if you will, that most of what they told us in the original HIGHLANDER was crap. Immortals don't come from nowhere, they come from the planet Zeist. The entire original HIGHLANDER movie was lies! Lies! Lies!
And if you believe that, I've got some $200,000 property for you down in sunny North Carolina.
Connor MacLeod, the main character of the original film (played by Christopher Lambert), is old and dying. When, in 1999, the Earth's ozone layer was nearly completely gone, MacLeod created The Shield Corporation, which then created a shield which would protect the Earth from the sun's violent rays. But in 2024, the world is a dark dungheap, and MacLeod's pretty much to blame.
Now let's go back to the planet Zeist. General Katana (Michael Ironside) is pretty pissed. MacLeod's still alive. So he sends his two retarded minions to kill MacLeod. The extremely elderly MacLeod somehow starts dancing around like Dean Martin and beheads both of them. The power of their lifeforce makes him young once again and free to kiss terrorist Louise Marcus (Virginia Madsen) and then try to take down the world's anti-Ozone shield. Oh yeah, the ozone's healed, by the way.
So then Katana comes to Earth to kill MacLeod, who is suddenly super-cool and ready to kill Katana. But for some reason, he needs help. So the producers paid Sean Connery $3.5 million. Behold! Juan Sanchez Villa-Lobos Ramirez is resurrected from the dead and comes back (for nine minutes of screen time) to help MacLeod shut down the shield.
If you haven't figured it out by now, HIGHLANDER II is completely messed-up.
I haven't seen a sequel this bad in who knows how long. It contradicts the entire HIGHLANDER mythos, and thus was ignored in every other sequel and television series that followed.
But there is a good side to the film. I think Ebert said it best in his review of the film: he describes HIGHLANDER II as being "a movie almost awesome in its badness". How awesome do you hear that? But that's exactly what HIGHLANDER II is: almost awesome in its badness.
It may be one of the worst films ever made, and it may be the worst sequel, but it is also a very fun and frequently (unintentionally) funny film. In the words of the Immortal Ramirez, "If you can summon it all up, at one time, in one place, you can accomplish something glorious."
Whatever that means.
NOTE: There are two versions of the film. The theatrical version, called the Quickening, has just been reviewed here. The director's cut has been re-named the "Renegade Version" and changes much of the film's story. The film has also been completely re-edited. The Quickening version runs 89 minutes, while the Renegade version runs 109.
HIGHLANDER II: THE QUICKENING by Russell Mulcahy. * 1/2 out of ****.
(I May Spoil some of the movie)Without a shout of a doubt, this is by far the worst sequel ever made for a movie. The first Highlander was a great film, it had a good story, good characters and plot that pretty much worked. Highlander II had some of the worst acting I have ever seen, really bad camera work, horrifying choreography in the fights scenes, a story that made absolutely no sense, cruddy special effects and overall, it was just a really bad movie. Though I am a fan of the first Highlander, it seemed to me that a sequel was not possible. Macleod had defeated the Kurgan and won the Prize. Now all of a sudden it's the future, and the immortals came from another world? I am fan of Michael Ironside but this was by far his worst acting job ever as he played the villain, Katana. What makes absolutely no sense to me is that in the first Highlander, the immortals didn't know why and where they came from. Now all of a sudden, Macleod remembers life on his homeworld of Zeist. The one thing that kept this movie up somewhat was Sean Connery's return. Now he died in the first Highlander, but they brought him back. And it really wasn't explained how he came back to life. This was by far the worst of the Highlander series, and the sequels later on disregarded this movie which I felt was a good idea.
This has to be one of the worst sequels ever made. Not that
"Highlander" was a great movie to begin with. But still, destroying a
concept so completely is almost enviable.
It's the year 2025. The whole earth is covered by a shield that stands in for the ozone-layer that has been destroyed. Connor McLeod has killed all the other immortals and is slowly dying of old age. But something happens and immortals are suddenly starting to show up again and Connor must fight once again.
I don't want to know which drugs the script-writers were using when coming up with the plot for this movie. How DO you start with a movie about immortal warriors on the Scottish highland, and end up with aliens fighting each other under a red sky in 2025?! Do we even want to know? It has to go down into movie history as one of the worst ideas ever. Taking something that was almost a solid story and destroying it completely by introducing weird elements like aliens and shields in the sky.
So, apart from that? Well, even if we do overlook that major flaw this is still complete garbage. What did they pay Sean Connery to appear in this? Either he was well paid or the man doesn't take any pride at all in his work. The action scenes are pathetic, the effects are awful. Christopher Lamberts wheezing voice makes the VIEWERS want to slice his head off.
I consider myself quite the connoisseur of b-movies. I can actually enjoy movies purely because they stink. But this is just so bad that it's not even funny. I rate this 1/10.
All true Highlander fans will simply not acknowledge the existence of
Highlander 2, wih good reason: Planet Zeist.
if you were to see part 2 and not the Original, it would be ok, cuz it would make sense in its own way. H1 and H2 are effectively unrelated films. But Highlander was quite an original story. H2, unfortunately, is a bit goofy and out of sync. Quite laughable in its own way.
If you want a good laugh, check it out. It's high cheese. If you're a Highlander purist, it DOESN'T EXIST. The intention was probably good, trying to show the aftermath of McCloud's mistakes after winning the original "tournament", but the premise is ruined by Planet Zeist, and Michael Ironside is just rehashing the Kurgen. He's a bit funnier in the villain role, but it doesn't save the movie from being silly
I've heard alot of bad things about this, but being a fan of the Highlander film and TV series, I had to check this out. That was a mistake. This movie has almost nothing to do with the first movie, and even by itself sits on laughable premises. The writing is terrible, the characters are one-dimensional (at best), the effects look like they were done out of someone's garage. Hey, let's summon back dead characters for no apparent reason. Hey! Let's pretend everyone's from another planet! You know what? Let's through in a conspiracy for the hell of it! This movie seems like it didn't leave the script-writing process until they finished shooting, and then they skipped editing. I shudder to think the horrors I would have witnessed had I not been watching the directors cut.
In 1999, I was graduating college in Richmond, Virginia and had a yard sale
to get rid of excess junk. I had quite a collection of movies on VHS that I
hoped to get rid of because DVD was just coming into its own. I had a copy
of "Highlander II Renegade Version" that I bought in th 4.99 clearance bin
at Wal-Mart because I had seen "Highlander II: The Quickening" and wondering
if there was any way possible in improve on one of the worst films I had
Well, renegade version started out priced 2.00 in the morning. By lunchtime, it was down to a buck. As the afternoon wore on, the price went down... 75 cents, 50 cents, 25 cents. Finally, I had sold most of my films and decided to give it away for free. As the sun began to set and I cleaned up, this film was still there. It seems you cannot even give it away for free!
Anyway, if you're a glutton for punishment, this is the film for you. It has "low budget" written all over it, and I, for one, cannot possible fathom how Sean Connery agreed to be in it.
"This movie is awesome and fearless in its badness" Roger Ebert writes, and for once, I agree with him. It is pretty bad. It creates massive continuity errors with the first Highlander by having all the immortals come from the planet Zeist (!?!). Second, as a plot device, the sky is covered with some kind of orange/red crud to protect the earth, which has lost the ozone layer. Wouldn't everything on Earth die without any kind of sunlight anyway, since the sun is the source of energy for all the forms of life at the bottom of the food chain?
The renegade version is even more unwatchable than this version! You might ask yourself, how is that possible considering that Highlander II is one of the worst films ever made. Well, somehow they found a way. Now if they could only put all that energy into cancer research, cancer would be wiped out!
I could go on and on just how and why this movie is so stupid, but what would be the point? Chances are, if you're reading this review, you're some kind of Highlander-head anyway. More power to you, and there can only be one! (fake laughter)
i saw the premiere of this film in edinburgh at the odeon. the theatre was packed and having really enjoyed the first movie, like i guess most of the audience we were all really excited to be seeing the sequel. you can imagine our dissapointment. lots of ppl, including us , left 20 mins before the end, quite a few patrons were quite angry at how ineptly bad it was. having recently seen it again on cable it is still utterly woeful. i would rather go and clean the toilet than sit thru it again. on second thoughts i'd rather come and clean your toilet and i don't like clieaning toilets and don't know you. get the idea???
I have cried in a total of 3 films in my life... Number 1, Bambi, when
his mum dies.... Number 2, City Slickers, when Norman the Calf gets
dragged down river and nearly dies... and finally, Number 3, Highlander
II, as it soooo bad! Remember Highlander? The Locations, The
Soundtrack, The Kurgan, The Plot...
Now, take it all away and replace it with...
Awful red sky effect throughout the film, Couple of old Queen songs from the 1st film, Michael Ironside doing a bad Kurgan impression and a "plot" that doesn't have any relevance to the original plot...
That is Highlander II.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Worst sequel ever, bar none. If you are a fan of the original Highlander (a great movie in my opinion), and for some reason haven't seen this yet, for pity's sake, don't! It will contaminate all the good memories you have from the first film. *SPOILER ALERT* (As if this piece of muck could be spoiled) This movie tells us the immortals from the first movie, steeped in mysticism and ritual, are actually...aliens. Yep. You heard me. For some reason these exiled aliens become immortals when on Earth (sounds like a pretty good exchange to me - exile for immortality). Sounds stupid? It is. No real reason is given for this ridiculous twist. Oh, and Sean Connery's character from the first movie (Juan Ramírez) manages to come back to life for a little while, to help Conner MacLeod. How? Magic...but didn't they just tell us these guys were aliens and not the mystical warriors we were led to believe in the first movie? Maybe they're magic aliens - that must be it. I actually saw this farce at the cinema, much to my chagrin. Have I mentioned that I am a big fan of the original Highlander movie? If any film ever made me wish we had the technology to selectively delete portions of our memories, this is the one. Avoid at all costs.
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