in The Vault

Highlander (1986)

Manuary begins with the testosterone-fueled winner of the Academy Award for “Best Movie Ever Made.” Highlander is the legendary tale of Connor Macleod (Christopher Lambert) an immortal warrior who’s story spans from 14th century Scotland to 1980s New York. Connor is part of a rare breed of immortals that fight other immortals to achieve a power called “The Quickening”. The only way immortals can kill other immortals is by decapitation (awesome). The more immortals you kill the more powerful you become until the last immortal receives “The Prize’ which is assumed to be ultimate ass-kicking power.

What I didn’t know going in is that these immortals are not in fact called “Highlanders”. Connor is a Highlander because he was once a warrior from the Scottish Highlands. During this time he did battle against “The Kurgan” (Clancy Brown) a rival clan leader who is also immortal. After barely escaping battle from The Kurgan, Connor meets Juan Sanchez Villa-Lobos Ramirez (Sean Connery) an Egyptian immortal who teaches Connor the ways of combat. Connor trains and hones his skills for centuries until he is reunited with his enemy The Kurgan (now Victor Kruger) in the 1980s. What follows are scenes of Connor’s journey through the ages while Kruger gets closer and closer to becoming the most powerful of the immortals.

Relative newcomer Christopher Lambert plays the stone-faced Connor in a mostly disappointing performance. To start, his accent is incomprehensible. Reportedly, the French-speaking Lambert worked to develop an accent that sounded like an amalgamation of many accents. The result is a voice that is so bad you wish Lambert would’ve played the part mute. Lambert doesn’t do any better when performing a Scottish accent. Let’s not forget Sean Connery is playing an Egyptian. I’m not sure if Scotland ever recovered from this movie.

On the other end of the spectrum, you have Clancy Brown as the emotionless villain. Clancy Brown is a good actor, but you’d never know that from this performance. His character doesn’t say much aside from “There can be only one.” which he says all the f@*king time. Victor Kruger feels like a character that was written with Dolph Lundgren in mind; a tall, menacing, mostly mute killer that has absolutely no interesting qualities. Though I do like it when Kruger gets so mad in an alleyway that everything around him explodes for no reason.

Highlander is a man movie for many reasons. The plot is as simple as “Dudes need to kill other dudes to be more powerful” and there’s not much in the way of female characters. There’s the throwaway love interest, but whatever-her-face often takes a backseat to dudes being decapitated. The opening enough solidifies Highlander’s place as a manly action-movie. Connor is chilling at the most 80s wrestling match ever captured on film, where he then proceeds to the parking lot and chops of some guy’s head with a katana. Highlander may lack a good script and good characters, but it delivers on the action and that’s all I’m looking for this Manuary.

P.S. The Soundtrack is by Queen! It’s not very good but still… Queen!