Highlander (1986)

Some movies become so ingrained in the cultural collective that we almost forget they’re a movie. Like, my friend had never seen Highlander and knew next to nothing about it, but even he had heard, “There can only be one.” But Highlander is indeed a movie, and one I hadn’t seen in something like two decades, so I figured it was time to rewatch it. And it was totally worth it, if no other reason than I got to see goth biker Mr. Clancy Brown. You can see it, but I’m swooning.

After decapitating a guy in a parking garage and stealing his essence, we are more formally introduced to Connor MacLeod (Christopher Lambert, who I unfortunately know as Lord Raiden in 1995’s Mortal Kombat). He was once a Scottish highlander (title!) who seemingly died in a battle against the villainous Kurgan (Brown), who is giving 110% throughout the entire film. But Connor came back to life, making everyone think he was in league with the Devil. Exiled from his village he meets a lovely lady and also Ramirez (Sean Connery), an Egyptian/Spaniard/whatever who teaches him the rules of being an immortal–mainly that if all other immortals are dead, the last one standing will gain the Prize through the vague magic of the Quickening. While Connor is away, Kurgan kills Ramirez and… we don’t see it, but he later says he sexually assaulted Connor’s girlfriend. Maybe happened, maybe didn’t, but it reinforces what a nasty dude he is. In the present, Kurgan is coming for Connor again now that the two of them are the last ones standing. This is complicated by Connor’s secret being discovered by Brenda (Roxanne Hart), who of course gets captured by Kurgan and used as bait. But in the final battle MacLeod manages to decapitate Kurgan, absorbing all his powers and claiming the Prize. As the last immortal, he knows just about everything, can have kids–oh, yeah, immortals normally can’t–and can apparently even choose to be mortal so he can grow old with Brenda.

Highlander is pretty dated, but it’s a fun ride. Connor is a bit of an unlikable protagonist, but he’s got the same problem as all those angsty vampires–he lives with the sad realization that any mortal he loves will grow old and die. At least he got to be there on the deathbed of his Scottish lover, but the weight of ages would start to crush a person. Lambert is also a bit of a wooden actor, but still. But all that is behind him now, as Connor is the last immortal and with the Prize he can finally have his happy end–

–hang on, my imaginary assistant is handing me a note.


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