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Movie Reviews

Highlander : Endgame  

Duncan Macleod (Adrian Paul)
Connor Macleod (Christopher Lambert)
Jacob Kell (Bruce Payne)

Directed by Doug Aarniokoski Written by Joel Soisson
Rated R for violence, sexuality and nudity
Running Time: 84 minutes Distributed by Dimension Films
Highlander: Endgame
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Highlander: Endgame is a shabby final installment to the Highlander film series. The fourth film of the series continues to follow a group of immortals from the beginnings of 15th century Scotland through their journeys and settles in present day New York. The "highlanders" can only die by being beheaded and they must defeat one another because there can be only one. This certain Highlander story takes place in the year 2000, and the villain of the film, Jacob Kell (Payne), has become the most invincible Highlander ever, amassing supernatural strength of the 600 immortals he has killed over the centuries. Kell is ready to win the game at any cost and the only thing that stands in his way is the continued existence of Duncan (Paul) and Connor Macleod (Lambert). But when Connor and Duncan are forced to enter the fight, they discover that Kell has ignored the rules. To survive, either Duncan or Connor must make the ultimate sacrifice. For there can be only one.

Highlander: Endgame is a disappointing installment to the once creative science fiction series. The film has a dreary script that doesn't have the sense or glue of the past Highlander stories.

Joel Soisson wrote the script for Highlander: Endgame. The writer's script outline and sequencing is what brings this film down. The plot of the film was already presented for the writer to work with; he just didn't elaborate on it. The idea of combining the two Macleod characters from the Highlander movie versions and TV series worked well, but there should have been more depth to their relationship. One of the big secrets of the Highlander stories is how are Duncan and Connor related. In which, I though since this was the final installment of the series, their relationship would have been told, but it isn't even touched. The flashbacks in the film are also not accurate in the explanation of character and sequencing of events. It seemed that Duncan and Connor were having flashbacks every two minutes in the film. I don' understand why this film lacked depth and explanation, it wasn't as if the movie could not have fit more scenes in it, because the running time of the film was under ninety minutes. The script and film could have been a lot better if the important elements were presentably revealed, explained and lengthen.

Doug Aarniokoski's direction in the film was very bland. He does tie-in everything a Highlander film must have, like many fights, beheadings, rock music and lighting (from the quickening). However, I didn't find this version to have the unique style of the past Highlander films. The director chose to cut down on the sword fighting and to make Duncan fight more aggressively with martial arts. I ask why? Highlanders can only be killed if they are beheaded. Also, Aarniokoski's choice of costumes was irrelevant. Highlanders are mostly dark and mysterious beings, not a part of the heavy metal genre, which is how Aarniokoski portrays some of the villains. Lots of the special effects used were very cheesy and so were the bad guys' entrances. An example is a scene in which Duncan is attacked; the bad guys decided to burst in throw a wall in an apartment on motorcycles. The really dunce concept of their entrance is that the apartment is on the second story of a building. Did the cyclists get up there by flying?

Adrian Paul has the essence of an action hero in the coming. His acting is nothing special, but I could see him being an action star if he can get some good roles. Mostly because he is smooth and he will attract women to the theaters. Christopher Lambert returns to the role that broke him into Hollywood. I have not seen Lambert deliver any good work in over a decade and his performance in Highlander: Endgame isn't any better. He looked really rough, old and he sported a bad hair cut in this film. Bruce Payne does what he can with his role as the evil Jacob Kell. I have always thought of Payne as one of those good stereotypical "bad guy" actors that has a great smirk and very cold eyes. But like Lambert, his days are numbered.

I am a huge fan of the Highlander stories, but I really didn't like this final installment. This film should have been made for television with USA studios, I believe that it would have been a more developed and better film. There are just two many obvious problems floating through and around this film.

Report Card Grade: D+

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