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Highlander 2: The Quickening-Renegade Version Blu-ray Review

Highlander 2-The Quickening- Renegade Version Blu-ray

The second time is not the charm for the “Highlander” franchise.

“Highlander 2: The Quickening” is set on Earth in 2024. In this time period, the world is now covered in an electromagnetic shield in order to protect the people from a depleted ozone layer. Connor MacLeod, who helped design the shield, is now an old man who lives a lonely life. His life is turned upside down, however, when he meets a member of the Cobalt environmental terrorist group (Louise) who believes that the ozone has repaired itself. Seeing a new purpose to his life, Connor decides to embark on a quest with Louise (and eventually Ramirez) to destroy the shield. Alas, it is easier said than done as a nasty Highlander (General Katana) from Connor and Ramirez’s past stands in their way. There’s more to it than that obviously, but the less said about the jumbled plot the better.

Over the years, “Highlander 2: The Quickening” has become a frequent punchline when it comes to sequels (much like “Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo” has). The main difference between the two films, however, is that Boogaloo is at least a “so bad, it’s good” movie. The ‘Quickening’ is just plain bad.

After the first “Highlander” film, it was pretty much a no brainer that a sequel would follow. “Highlander” became an instant cult classic and rightly so. The lead trio (Christopher Lambert, Sean Connery and Clancy Brown) give memorable performances, the action was intense, the mythology was odd but interesting, and Queen’s soundtrack flat out rocks. With “The Quickening,” the creative team seemed oblivious as to what made the first film so good and opted to go in a very weird and a very wrong direction. If there’s one thing that you can say about “The Quickening” it’s that it isn’t what you would expect from a sequel at all. You don’t tend to see sequels set in the distant future and this film is probably proof why this rarely happens. Between the preachy environmental plot and Christopher Lambert’s old man voice to Michael Ironside hamming it up and the 2 goggle wearing, hoverboard wannabe riding, winged jet pack wearing, spike haired, hyena laughing assassin henchmen, the sequel is baffling from start to finish. I know the “Highlander” franchise isn’t high art, but 1, 3, and 4 are fun to watch. “The Quickening,” on the other hand, is tough to watch.

I think what really makes this sequel so depressing is seeing the level of talent go to waste. From an acting perspective, you have the Academy Award nominated Virginia Madsen and the Oscar winning Sean Connery plus respectable veteran actors like Michael Ironside, John C. McGinley and Christopher Lambert. On the music front, you have Stewart Copeland of The Police fame composing the score and on the cinematography end you have Phil Meheux who has lensed superb action films like “Casino Royale,” “The Mask Of Zorro,” and “Goldeneye.” Not to be forgotten here is the F/X and stunt work which is pretty elaborate and expensive looking. The futuristic sets, the props, the explosions, and the set pieces are all quite impressive visually (for the most part).

Note: The “Renegade Version” is essentially a director’s cut that is 18 minutes longer (as if the movie needed to be longer). The one plus with this version is that it cuts out the ridiculous Zeist planet stuff.

Video/Audio:

“Highlander 2,” which is presented in 2.35:1 1080p, looks rather inconsistent to say the least. There are some snowy and rough looking shots (like the scene where Connor and Ramirez are banished), but there are also some impressive looking scenes like Connor’s “transformation”, the action set pieces, most close-ups, and the “above the shield” scene.

The DTS-HD MA 2.0 audio track is fine, but the action is clearly in need of a 5.1 track at the very least.

No extras have been included.

Summary: “Highlander” completists may want to pick this disc up, but I can’t recommend the film to anyone other than bad movie lovers with a high tolerance for pain.

March 10, 2013 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , , , , ,

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