Highlander: Endgame Preview

Having woken from their slumber, Jamie and Patrick rush to the computer. The internet is poppin’ and full of newly minted reviews for The FMV Rich & Poe: The Music Video Game VR Experience: Legends Never Die starring Jason Derulo. They hold their collective breaths and sigh in relief as they gather the consensus: it’s a smash. “This ironic twist on the tragedy that was the monster cat themed previous entry in the Rich & Poe saga certainly has this reviewer singing a different tune when thinking about the latest entry. While definitely not canon, no matter how much the creators insist, we welcome even more ironic sendups of these beloved characters we had thought wore out their welcome.” Jamie and Patrick predator high five, tears shimmering in their eyes. But wait, what’s this other chatter burning up the R&P message boards? “Release Date Postponed!” it screams and Jamie and Patrick’s shoulders slump. All this work on the hype machine and their cyborg nemeses got ahead of it. “The end of August,” Patrick says in despair, “classic dump month.” Jamie slams closed the internet window and falls heavily into a chair. “What do we do now? We can’t just keep pumping out FMV gold!” But Patrick’s mind is already turning. If the FMV game isn’t canon, then maybe only films are… and if only films are then… “Preemptive sequel,” he mutters and Jamie sits up straight in his chair. They’ll turn the new movie into a prequel and show that Rich and Poe never died. If their film is bad, Rich and Poe survive. If it’s gold, like usual, they keep the hype machine going. “So we have a plan. Now we just need an endgame,” Patrick says cryptically, leaning on the entirely useless box that’s not even worth mentioning. That’s right! We’re taking the final (?) baby step on the journey of finishing Highlander with the fourth entry in the series, Highlander: Endgame. With a title like that you are assured it’s the last Highlander ever released (hint: this is not true). Or at least the last one you’ll have to watch for BMT (now that is true). Let’s go!

Highlander: Endgame (2000) – BMeTric: 64.3; Notability: 34

StreetCreditReport.com – BMeTric: top 3.6%; Notability: top 46.0%; Rotten Tomatoes: top 7.2% Higher BMeT: Battlefield Earth, Dungeons & Dragons, Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2, The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas, Nutty Professor II: The Klumps, Urban Legends: Final Cut, 102 Dalmatians; Higher Notability: Little Nicky, Gone in Sixty Seconds, The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas, Coyote Ugly, Mission to Mars, Ready to Rumble, Lost Souls, Proof of Life, 102 Dalmatians, Thomas and the Magic Railroad, Reindeer Games, Rules of Engagement, Bless the Child, Hollow Man, Nutty Professor II: The Klumps, Isn’t She Great, Final Destination, Pay It Forward, Supernova, Dude, Where’s My Car?, and 25 more; Lower RT: The in Crowd, Battlefield Earth, Bless the Child, Lost Souls, Turn It Up, Circus, The Skulls, Urban Legends: Final Cut, Dungeons & Dragons, Supernova, I Dreamed of Africa, Ed Gein, Screwed, The Ladies’ Man, The Watcher; Notes: Loving the sup-5.0 on IMDb, that is obviously a huge number. It is astonishing that Highlander IV is above 30 Notability. At this point it was borderline straight-to-video and they were still pumping money into it, just amazing.

Leonard Maltin – BOMB – Tedious sequel in which 500-year-old Lambert goes up against fellow immortal Payne, a vengeance-seeking, power-hungry rogue. Also involved is Lambert’s clan brother (Paul, from the TV series). Of interest only to die-hard series fans.

(Another BOMB?! We are racking them up now. Of interest only to die-hard Highlander fans … great, so this movie was made for us.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M7mqpGNx8FI/

(Basically this is Highlander: The Series: The Movie!!! The television show is terrible, and this looks just as terrible. And then they bust out what appears to be the Hackers soundtrack at the end? Just incredible. Looks like nonsense.)

Directors – Douglas Aarniokoski – (Known For: Nurse; The Day; BMT: Highlander: Endgame; Notes: He wrote the fourth and fifth Puppet Master films, and currently he produces a ton of television (including Star Trek: Picard). Was previously married to producer Suzanne Todd.)

Writers – Gregory Widen (characters) – (Known For: Highlander; Backdraft; The Prophecy; OtherLife; BMT: Highlander II: The Quickening; Highlander III: The Sorcerer; Highlander: Endgame; Notes: Wrote the sequel to Backdraft as well. He wrote the original Highlander while in school. Still writing, he’s attached to an upcoming film called Yasuke.)

Eric Bernt (story) – (Known For: The Echo; Future BMT: The Hitcher; Virtuosity; Surviving the Game; BMT: Highlander: Endgame; Romeo Must Die; Notes: Was a writer and producer on the television show Z Nation in the mid-2010s.)

Gillian Horvath (story) – (Known For: On the Other Hand, Death; BMT: Highlander: Endgame; Notes: Was a creative consultant on the Highlander television. She seems to have been a freelance sci-fi writer for a ton of shows including Xena.)

William N. Panzer (story) (as Bill Panzer) – (Known For: Steel; BMT: Highlander II: The Quickening; Highlander III: The Sorcerer; Highlander: Endgame; Notes: Was the original producer of the series and has been executive producer on basically all of the Highlander stuff forever. Has a story credit on the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th films.)

Joel Soisson (screenplay) – (Known For: Piranha 3DD; Cam2Cam; Trick or Treat; Children of the Corn: Genesis; Blue Tiger; The Supernaturals; Pulse 2: Afterlife; Pulse 3; Hambone and Hillie; BMT: Dracula 2001; Highlander: Endgame; Notes: Has written dozens of films, mostly straight-to-video horror sequels, has directed a number of films, and was a producer on Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure. Clearly very involved in moviemaking.)

Actors – Christopher Lambert – (Known For: Highlander; Beowulf; Hail, Caesar!; Southland Tales; Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes; Kickboxer: Retaliation; Sobibor; Subway; Bel Canto; White Material; Resurrection; The Sicilian; Knight Moves; Nirvana; Fortress 2; Un + une; 10 Days in a Madhouse; Why Me?; Vercingétorix; Future BMT: Fortress; Gunmen; Loaded Weapon 1; The Hunted; BMT: Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance; Highlander II: The Quickening; Highlander III: The Sorcerer; Highlander: Endgame; Mortal Kombat; Notes: By all accounts and incredibly nice person. Apparently he has a puppet on the satirical French show Les Guignols de l’info.)

Adrian Paul – (Known For: Love Potion No. 9; Black Rose; Susan’s Plan; Outpost 37; Merlin: The Return; Apocalypse Pompeii; Last Rites; The Heavy; Nine Miles Down; Eyeborgs; The Breed; Dikaya liga; Kids vs Monsters; War of the Worlds: Goliath; Nemesis Game; Seance; Moscow Heat; Masque of the Red Death; Throttle; Code Hunter; BMT: Highlander: Endgame; Notes: Has become involved in a few different production companies and also has written several scripts (although from what I can tell they weren’t produced, or he wasn’t ultimately credited on them). Started as a dancer and appeared in a few music videos in the 80s.)

Bruce Payne – (Known For: The Keep; Necronomicon; Absolute Beginners; Sweepers; Creators: The Past; For Queen & Country; Vendetta; One Point O; Steal; Prowl; One Tough Bastard; Ripper; Re-Kill; Pyrates; The Rizen; Brothel; Breakdown; Age of Kill; The Fruit Machine; Privates on Parade; Future BMT: Passenger 57; Switch; BMT: Dungeons & Dragons; Getaway; Highlander: Endgame; Notes: Apparently was considered for the lead role in Burton’s Batman, which usually I wouldn’t mention, but he would have played Bruce Wayne … and his name is Bruce Payne. That’s crazy.)

Budget/Gross – $25,000,000 / Domestic: $12,811,858 (Worldwide: $15,843,608)

(No, that is no good. Something tells me this film did not, in fact, cost $25 million to make though. Although, then again, maybe that is why the sequel went straight-to-video. It is pretty unbelievable this ended up in thousands of theaters in the first place.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 11% (6/54): The fourth and supposedly last Highlander movie is a confusing mess, complete with bad acting and dialogue.

(So, I guess at the time maybe they were claiming this was going to be the conclusion to the franchise? Didn’t happen, they made a fifth which apparently is worse than even the second one! Reviewer Highlight: Highlander: Endgame looks sensational, moves like lightning. But its script (by Joel Soisson) makes no pretense about being logical or even comprehensible. – Kevin Thomas, Los Angeles Times)

Poster – Highlander 4: Found Another Highlander

(Hmmmm, this does the job. The framing and stuff is good and the big ol’ sword is fun. Got a slight highlander font to boot. Not bad. B.)

Tagline(s) – It will take two immortals to defeat the ultimate evil. But in the end, there can be only one. (D)

(You literally keep saying that but it hasn’t been true yet. The highlander doth protest too much and we are three entries past the point where they should have just rewritten the lore. It should just be that a bunch of highlanders crop up periodically to fight evil that threatens the Earth. Once the evil is gone the highlanders compete to be the only one left for the centuries between the next evil. Is that so hard? Anyway this is trash and it’s too long. I hate it, but it is comprehensible so not the worst.)

Keyword – immortality

Top 10: Wonder Woman 1984 (1984), Suicide Squad (2016), The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), Mortal Kombat: Annihilation (1997), Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011), Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (2001), Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2 (2017), Death Becomes Her (1992), Deadpool 2 (2018), Deadpool (2016)

Future BMT: 89.4 Vampires Suck (2010), 89.1 House of the Dead (2003), 72.2 The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1 (2011), 71.1 The Spirit (2008), 61.9 The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (2008), 52.0 Green Lantern (2011), 51.1 Dylan Dog: Dead of Night (2010), 50.0 The Sin Eater (2003), 44.0 Fred Claus (2007), 42.2 Pan (2015);

BMT: Mortal Kombat: Annihilation (1997), Gods of Egypt (2016), X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009), The Mummy (2017), Hellboy (2019), Jupiter Ascending (2015), Dragonball Evolution (2009), The Last Witch Hunter (2015), Queen of the Damned (2002), Dracula 2001 (2000), I, Frankenstein (2014), Highlander II: The Quickening (1991), Bulletproof Monk (2003), The Medallion (2003), The Seeker: The Dark Is Rising (2007), Highlander: Endgame (2000), Highlander III: The Sorcerer (1994)

(Lots of vampire stuff here. Humans really fear death huh? Look at all these things which posit the consequences of a lack of mortality. Anyways, The Spirit is a giant piece of garbage, I’ve seen like thirty minutes before and it is astonishingly bad, so I can’t wait to see that one in full.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 14) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Christopher Lambert is No. 1 billed in Highlander: Endgame and No. 1 billed in Mortal Kombat, which also stars Robin Shou (No. 2 billed) who is in Street Fighter: Legend of Chun Li (No. 6 billed), which also stars Chris Klein (No. 2 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 2 billed) => 1 + 1 + 2 + 6 + 2 + 2 = 14. If we were to watch Passenger 57, Murder at 1600, and The Glass House we can get the HoE Number down to 12.

Notes – The film’s trailer contained many sequences and elements not in the film, including scenes suggesting that the villain Jacob Kell possessed supernatural abilities, and a scene showing Connor and Duncan leaping through a “magical portal.” It was later revealed that certain scenes were shot exclusively for the trailer, to make the film look more interesting.

The original trailer featured Connor MacLeod splitting Jacob Kell in two with his sword and becoming two people. This never happened in the film.

Billy Idol and Jean-Claude Van Damme were both considered for the role of Jacob Kell.

As Duncan travels toward his rendezvous with Connor, there is a shot of his vehicle passing Silvercup Studios, the scene of the final battle between Connor and Kurgan in the original Highlander.

The interior of the Sanctuary was an abandoned salt mine 200 yards underground in Romania. The only access was a single elevator, and the crew had to be transported down a few at a time.

The film was intended as a bridge between Highlander (1992) and Highlander: The Raven (1998). The TV series was cancelled, and cast availability problems caused production delays. Dimension Films soon realized that their plans for the film were not going to meet expectations, and scaled back on its release.

Other titles at various stages of production included “Highlander IV: The Immortals” and “Highlander: The Search for Connor”.

Connor MacLeod’s “Trophy Room” from the first film was reconstructed in detail here, though the hardwood floor is different. The original set had a radial central floor which supported the weight of MacLeod’s old blacksmith’s anvil in the middle.

Earlier drafts of the script differed greatly from the final cut in several aspects. The character of Kate was originally named Alexis, most of the flashbacks occurred in Shanghai instead of Ireland. Methos and Duncan were living in Paris rather than London as they did in the end of the TV series. Hugh Fitzcairn and May Ling Shen were to appear in the Shanghai flashbacks.

Lucy Lawless was unable to take the role of Kate/Faith due to her commitment on the TV series Xena: Warrior Princess (1995).

Not screened for critics prior to release.

Earlier versions of the screenplay had a subplot whereby Kell would gain an unholy power when he had killed 666 immortals, and would become too strong for any immortal, or even an army of immortals, to kill. In this version Kell’s wiping out his own followers was an attempt to quickly reach that number, but he was foiled after Jin Ke took his own life before Kell could behead him, leaving him needing to kill Duncan in order to reach 666 kills. This subplot was deleted from the final version of the film, though allusions to it remain, with Kell’s kill count halfway through being 661.

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