Highlander: The Source

DVD Reviews | Mar 18th, 2008

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Starring Adrian Paul, Thekla Reuten, Peter Wingfield, Jim Brynes
Written By: Stephen Kelvin Watkins and Mark Bradley
Directed By: Brett Leonard
Studio: Lions Gate
Buy on Amazon.com link

Where do films go when no sane distributor would grant it a theatrical release? Straight to video of course or nowadays straight to the Sci-Fi channel and given the title of Sci-Fi Channel Original Movie such in the case of Highlander: The Source, another to join the ranks of very forgettable and easily ignored cable movies.
But hold the phone, another Highlander movie you say? Continuing the TV series and featuring several of it’s characters you say? Cool. Awesome. Bitchin. Hopefully it will be good. Sign me up motherfucker.

Well hope no more because this one laughs at you. It takes your hopes and dreams and forces you to watch an incredibly awful film. If you are lucky enough, you may not be a fan of the TV show and within a half hour you will realize you could be doing something much more productive and so you will shut it off and watch porn or an episode of Everybody Loves Raymond. On the other hand, if you enjoyed the TV show you may feel compelled to watch this movie as I did and try to find anything that would make this worth the 90 minutes. Sorry pal, you think it’s an accident that all highlander sequels are bombs? This one refuses to give you anything that made the TV show great. As if the series of movies can’t get any worse. Here it is, by far the worst film of the Highlander franchise. Hope you are drinking heavily if you watch this. This one was painful.

Truly a hard movie to watch. I say that because I am a fan of the TV series and have sat through a terrible franchise of movies. To sum up the Highlander movies in a word, schizophrenic. It does not know what to do with itself and often opportunities are missed.

Highlander: The Source is the fifth in the Highlander series of films. In 1985, the film to first bare the name was released to abysmal box office numbers. That of course could not stop the film from gaining a fast growing cult of fans who wanted more sword swinging action. Then Highlander 2: The Quickening comes along; a very poor sequel with an unbelievably bad storyline that will always be remembered as one of the worst sequels ever made and probably one of the worst Sean Connery films. Despite that, a television series was made, a solid and often entertaining show based only on the first film. The series was popular, marked by hit or miss episodes which ran for six years. It continued the premise of immortals; beings who cannot die unless beheaded to the music of Queen featuring special effects such as lightning bursting out of an immortal’s decapitated body! You laugh. I laugh too but you have to admit it sounds rocking even with music by Queen.

Christopher Lambert, the star of the previous Highlander movies, passed the torch to Adrian Paul in the last sequel. Paul, star of the TV series, takes over in what is planned to be the first part in a trilogy of films that covers the origin of the immortals. Director Brett Leonard is best known for Virtuosity and the Lawnmower Man. He helms this chapter of the movie series though seems to be more motivated by showing off special effects than plot or character development.

The biggest missed opportunity was the lack of using the continuity of the TV show to bridge and support the film franchise, which it does with the previous Highlander film; Endgame, albeit awkwardly but now everything that made the show strong is forfeited with cheap effects and a disastrous storyline that takes the mythos into the far left field of a post apocalyptic near future. Instead of continuing with what has always worked, a story fleshing out from a contemporary setting and using flashbacks to unravel the history of the characters, you get the complete 180 degrees of a near future where life sucks, the set lighting is very dim, and people in motorcycle jackets wander aimlessly next to bonfires. Get it? It’s the future! On top of that no flashbacks, a vague resemblance of the characters from the show, and by far the most over the top villain in all of Highlander lore.

Unfortunately, nothing is inspiring about this film and you would think with all the Highlander enthusiasts that this cult has spawned there would be at least one descent script well written enough to make a good film. Early on in the movie it is realized that the story, the characters, and the acting is just not convincing enough for one to tolerate another hour of a really big missed opportunity.

In the end, The only people who would bother to sit through Highlander: The Source are the fans. Hardcore fans are going to check it out regardless. I advise Highlander fans in general that they’ve been warned but if you have never seen any of the films ignore it and everything will be ok! It’s simply not worth watching. I loved the TV show so of course I had to see this movie to believe it, truly horrible and not worth the time let alone the two movies which are supposed to follow. You may be better off stuffing this one back on the “don’t watch this shelf” between the half dozen Crow and Leprechaun sequels.

“Highlander: The Process” A Behind-the-Scenes Documentary
Storyboard to scene comparisons
Tribute to Bill Panzer, creator and producer of the Highlander series
Highlander video game sneak peak

5.1 Dolby Digital

16×9 Widescreen (2.35:1)

English, Spanish

Favorite Scenes: None
Rating: R
Running Time: 86 minutes
Extras Rating:
Overall Rating: