There can be only one, except for the sequels and TV adaptions.
The first Highlander movie was not the best movie ever made, and it definitely was one of the films where you question Sean Connery’s role choices. It is due to the sometimes silly dialogue and wardrobe that it has solidified itself as a cult classic, with the sequels and a television series to prove it.
This first film, directed by Russel Mulcahy and featuring Christopher Lambert as the iconic Connor Macleod, now serves as an introduction to an extensive history and mythology.
We are all familiar with the story, in which some are born as immortals and someday they will all be drawn together to duke it out until there is just one left. Lambert plays our central focus, the noble Connor Macleod, and we follow his life in the present day with flashbacks to his life before realizing he was immortal. Cue the appearance of Sean Connery and a montage that turns a lowly Scottish swordsman into the Highlander, complete with a beach race reminiscent of Rocky III.
Clancy Brown, now more known for cartoon voice acting than his evil deeds, plays the villain Victor Kruger, whose costumes go from looking like an extra from a Gwar concert to a Glen Danzig impersonator by the time the credits roll. When I was a kid, I saw Brown as a really scary and evil immortal swordsman, but now that I am older he just looks like a burn victim from a Misfits concert. Beyond these recent observations, I also discovered that Christopher Lambert somewhat looks like the comedian Steven Wright, and since this realization I’ve now yearned for an estranged twin addition to the Highlander series starring the two.
The music is amazing in Highlander, with Queen being featured throughout the film to add a campy sense of epic proportion to the crazy story. But aside from the great music, the visual and sound effects are hilarious. It really sounds like the immortals are fighting with lightsabers and someone went back and replaced the glowing blades but left everything else. Sparks are constantly flying from even the slightest contact any of the immortal’s blades which really cheeses up the fight scenes. But it’s still an action-packed movie with a few iconic scenes: In particular, the scene in which Kruger fights Juan Sanchez (Connery) is great, even if the castle exploding randomly around them seems to make no sense.
This series always left me a little confused. If this is the time when all the immortals gather to fight each other, then where are the rest of them when Kruger comes after Connor? In what way does an immortal become stronger when they dispatch another immortal? Does it make their necks less susceptible to being hacked through? Perhaps the answers lie deeper within the lore; perhaps through ingesting the sequels and TV series I could have the answers I seek. But really there is no reason for anyone to sit through that much Highlander on their own free will.
Sometimes things from your youth really aren’t as amazing as you remember them, but still they have a hold on our hearts and minds. In a time when Conan was a barbarian, not a comedian, and He-man defended Eternia, Connor Macleod gave kids a calmer sword-wielding idol. The Highlander was cool and still is cool, but unfortunately his movie is by no means a great.