Kell is the new immortal on the block gaining power by quickening up the wazoo. But Conner MacLeod and his best bro Duncan have plan. Can’t get killed by Kell if you’re already dead (think about it) and if you’re dead then the other can gain your quickening skillz. Can Duncan stop Kell (and perhaps get the girl) before it’s too late? Find out in… Highlander: Endgame.
How?! This shall be my greatest challenge ever. Remember the whole prize thing, well once again forget that Conner ever won that. Instead let’s start at the beginning where Conner, newly immortal, returns to his hometown. Considered a monster he is captured and his mother is burned at the stake. Enraged, Conner escapes and destroys the whole village, including the local priest, Kell. Years later he befriends a fellow immortal from the clan MacLeod, Duncan, and they begin decades of adventure together, obviously never mentioned in any previous installments of the franchise. Anywho, they meet up in NYC and are best bros, but tragically Conner’s adopted daughter is killed in an explosion set off by *gasp* the also immortal Kell (what a twist!). A grief stricken Conner then hides away in The Sanctuary, a place where The Watchers lock away immortals to keep Kell from winning the ultimate prize. But that doesn’t exactly work as Kell breaks into The Sanctuary and murders everyone (or does he?). Our boy Duncs goes to investigate but has to battle Kell and his army of immortals and is nearly killed. Instead he is captured by The Watchers who want to compel him to stay locked away like Conner. Duncs is like no way and with the help of some friends he escapes. Once freed he finds that Conner is actually alive, being saved for last by Kell as a form of revenge. Duncan also now knows that his former boo Kate is amongst Kell’s army and they flirt and stuff, but Kate can’t forgive him for the eternity of pain Duncan inflicted on her by turning her immortal (wait, what?). While Kell gathers strength by Quickening to the x-treme via the beheading of his army, Conner and Duncan fight one last time so that Conner, tired of his immortal life, can sacrifice himself to give his Quickening strength to Duncan. In a final climactic fight, Kell and Duncan face off and, duh, Duncs tots wins for sure. In the end we see that Kate has also survived and is ready to bone Duncan for the next 1000 years or whatever. THE END.
Why?! To win the prize allegedly. Although no matter how many times someone wins the prize they don’t seem to actually win the prize and then eventually they die. Makes you wonder whether there is even a prize… or is the ultimate prize really the friendships Conner made along the way (awww).
Who?! Two interesting casting choices here. Damon Dash, cofounder of Roc-A-Fella Records, made his screen debut in the film as one of Kell’s immortals. Probably ended up being his biggest film too, which is interesting. The wrestler The Edge also made a brief appearance in his feature debut… also the biggest thing he ever did.
What?! The Prize and the general immortal storyline is vague enough to probably constitute a MacGuffin on their own. Although not in the traditional sense. And hold up… you’re seriously telling me that Kell’s fake decapitated head went up for auction and didn’t get sold?! I can’t wait until I’m rich enough to need subjects of conversation for my rich person cocktail parties. “You know what this is?” I will say, pointing to a prop head that looks startlingly like Damodar from Dungeons & Dragons.
Where?! A lot of the film is set in New York City and Scotland, like the original. Some brief moments in Europe, but really the NYC aspect of Highlander is fun to have preserved. I have such nostalgia for the first one and the kinda grimy Madison Square Garden wrestling match in the beginning and stuff. It’s great. B
When?! Superb Secret Holiday Film Alert as this is explicitly set during Christmas. At first I was like “hmm, is that a Christmas tree in the background?” and then a minute later a character was quipping “Merry Christmas” to a dude just before he killed him. It is glorious. It’s just too bad that the film is such a piece of shit or I would say pair it up with Cobra and Turbulence and have a very merry Christmas trilogy. Also interesting the Highlander wiki has the film set in 2004… probably something to do with the TV timeline or whatever. A- just for Xmas sake.
I cannot accept that this film was actually released to theaters. It is straight up incomprehensible. Even for giant Highlander fans it would be incomprehensible. I have watched the critically reviled second entry enough to have actual opinions on it… like I have a whole theory that a good cut of Highlander 2 could be made, but in fact has never been made. But despite how much I have thought about the franchise, this fourth entry had me scratching my head wondering whether I was supposed to already know the subtle nuances of highlander lore they seemed to take as a given. Had I overestimated my Highlander acumen? Well I soon learned this was supposed to bridge nearly a decade of the Highlander tv series and finally bring Conner and Duncan MacLeod together. Ah! What everyone across the country was clamoring for! A continuation of the straight-to-syndication show that people probably caught momentarily while taking a sick day that one time. No wonder they released it to 1500+ theaters. Anyway, the movie makes no sense and looks exactly like what it is… a 90’s straight-to-syndication TV series. On a positive note, I actually didn’t mind the final Conner and Duncan fight, it was kind of sweet to show how Conner was ready to die for the fate of humanity after years of losing so many people he loved, and there was some surprisingly good martial arts, but I just can’t shake the fact that they thought this was a good idea. Highlander’s greatest strength was rising from the ashes to reset and forget the tragically misguided last entry in the series… it’s the only way you can get through something like Highlander 2 to claim the vaunted prize: a syndicated TV show. And yet once that prize was attained they decided we must remember everything forever. No wonder the immortal series finally died. Patrick?
‘Ello everyone! There can only be one! … left, there is only one Highlander movie left to do, and it is Endgame. Let’s go!
P’s View on the Preview – There can only be one! Or four or whatever. The most intriguing thing about the film was just how much of the film seemed like Highlander: The Series: The Movie. That, that seems crazy. Because there was six seasons of that show and it ended two years before this film was made … so they wouldn’t actually do that right? What were my expectations? Totally incomprehensible nonsense. There is no other way you can make a Highlander sequel and you know what? I wouldn’t have it any other way.
The Good – There is a genuinely good martial arts scene in the middle of this film. So good, in fact, that I’m fairly convinced that Donnie Yen choreographed it. This isn’t the worst of the bunch, surprisingly. Luckily I brushed up on the lore from the television series so I didn’t have too much trouble following what was actually an impossible to follow plot. And Lambert and even Adrian Paul I think were quite good, or at least, it wouldn’t have really felt like a Highlander film without them. Best Bit: That one fight scene.
The Bad – The madmen did it, they made a movie that was the fourth in a franchise, but also the direct sequel to a six season syndicated television series, and then they released it to 1500 theaters. How is such a thing possible? What were they doing in the 90s where they thought releasing a sequel to a television show to kick off another television show required a theatrical release. Bananas. As a theatrical film it looks bad, it is directed poorly, most of the actors are bad, most of the fight scenes are bad, and the whole thing makes no sense unless you had happened to watch the television show. What the hell is happening?! That’s some wild stuff. Fatal Flaw: Six seasons of television as required viewing for a sequel to an 80s film …
The BMT – In many ways this film is legendary. A late sequel to a series we’ve done in three parts to finish it off. It is maybe the only direct sequel to a television series where you have to watch the show first or else it makes no sense. Martial arts, and Christopher Lambert, and quickenings. The whole thing is just a wild ride while also impossible to recommend. How do you tell someone “man, if you think about just how weird it is that the television show is required to watch this movie … then you’ll get it.” Hard sell. Did it meet my expectations? I think it exceeded them in every way. And after all that you want to hear a wild thing? I kind of dug the film! Or at least I liked it better than the third, and it is more well put together than the second. Really weird.
Roast-radamus – A for real deal Secret Holiday Film (When?) because the climax of this film is set during Christmas in maybe the best way possible! There is an extremely quick moment where a guy is going to interfere with the immortals, and you can see Christmas decorations in the background, and then another guy shoots him and is like “Merry Christmas”!!!!!!! Great stuff. Highlanders are always good for a MacGuffin (Why?) because you know they all are looking for the sweet Quickening. And also a genuine Worst Twist (How?) for Conner sacrificing himself to Duncan to give him a level up Quickening right before his super Kell Quickening at the end. Duncan is a super Highlander now I think. Definitely right in there for BMT, it is a highly amusing film.
Sequel, Prequel, Remake – I don’t think you necessarily need to remake anything, it would be more like a retcon to fix the lore (I do love lore). But let’s call it a Remake for clarity. I think the first film is perfect, even though it makes it a bit more complicated. MacLeod versus the Kurgan to become the last Immortal. But here’s the twist. He’s won the game, and the final quickening happens, and then … the game starts anew with MacLeod as an Immortal outside of the game, a new batch of Immortals born into the world. Being outside of the game he founds The Watchers, an organization which observes and reports on the happenings of the game to gently help good Immortals (like Duncan, whom Conner takes under his wing as an apprentice), hoping to prevent another Kurgan from gaining the ultimate immortality. Eventually, as the game cycles, new Immortals win the game (Duncan being the second), until a final film where a fourth is set to join and it is revealed (much to our heroes’ chagrin) that they are, in fact, the four horsemen of the apocalypse, and that is the point of the game, to mark the end of the Earth. So it becomes a race to prevent the completion of the last game. There must be two! The end. Tight stuff, I’m open to discussing the option terms Netflix.
You Just Got Schooled – Lots of good stuff here as well. First, the film was supposed to tie in heavily with Highlander: The Raven which was running in 1998-1999 when the film would have at least been in pre-production (but it was then canceled). I did watch the pilot called Reborn. Have to say … kind of okay, better than I remember the original series being, which I think makes sense, one was a syndicated show from 1992 and the other from 1998. This was cheesy, but mostly seemed like it was going to be a procedural cop show involving Immortals and all that jazz which is a pretty cool idea actually. I’m going to give it a B-, entertaining for a syndicated show from the 90s.