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Highlander 3 (DVD)

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Genre: Science Fiction & Fantasy - Fantasy / Theatrical Release: 1994 / Director: Andy Morahan / Actors: Christopher Lambert, Mario Van Peebles ... / DVD released 19 November, 2001 at Entertainment in Video / Features of the DVD: PAL

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      13.06.2007 15:09
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      Of the Highlander sequels, probably the most consistent, but not a patch on Highlander

      Connor MacLeod was born in the highlands of Scotland in 1518, a member of the Clan MacLeod and he is Immortal - the only way for him to actually die is by decapitation. Having fought his way through the ages he finally reaches the time of the Gathering, where the last Immortals alive come together and fight it out for the ultimate prize, to be the last living immortal, since in the end, “There can be only one…”

      Naturally, at the end of the first movie, ‘Highlander’ we know that Connor has successfully managed to keep his head and become ‘The One’. By the end of the second, ‘Highlander II: The Quickening’, we learn…actually, I’m not entirely sure what we learn by the end of the second movie…for anyone unfamiliar with the Highlander movies, it’s safe to say that the second outing wasn’t particularly popular with fans and critics alike. So bad was the reaction to ‘The Quickening’ that it’s plots and ideas have essentially never been referred to again in the two subsequent movies, or in the television series that followed.

      ‘Highlander 3: The Sorcerer’ is an attempt to recover the situation and maintain the lucrative franchise of ‘Highlander’. Here’s how it tries and whether or not it succeeds: -

      ~~~ “There Can Be Only One!”…Again ~~~
      “From the dawn of time we came, moving silently among you down through the centuries. I’m Connor MacLeod of the Clan MacLeod. After the death of my friend, Ramirez; and my beloved wife Heather, I left my home in the highlands of Scotland and began to wander the world searching for answers. Finally I came to Japan, to the mountains of Niri and the cave of the sorcerer Nakano…”

      Such begins ‘Highlander 3: The Sorcerer’ and, through the use of flash-backs we see Connor after he left Scotland and went about discovering his life as an Immortal. During this initial sequence we’re introduced to Kane as well as how he managed to gain his powers of illusion that feature heavily throughout the movie.

      Eventually, the movie cuts to ‘modern-day’ Connor living in Africa with his adopted son John. He wholly believes that he won the prize back in 1985. However, an archeoligical dig in Japan uncovers a group of Immortals who were buried in a cave-in several centuries earlier. One of these is Kane, a villainous Immortal who desires The Prize for himself so that he might rule mortals completely. Suddenly Connor finds himself not only vying for The Prize once again, but also trying to protect those that a close to him.

      I could write a whole review on the continuity errors, conflicts and various other aspects of the ‘Highlander’ universe; however, not only would such writing be uninteresting to the vast majority of readers since it’s better suited to a ‘Highlander’ forum, but also it would accomplish nothing, since there are far more ‘learn’d’ people than myself who have debated the subject and come to no true agreement on the matter. Instead, I shall attempt to write the review based of the movie’s own merits. Comparisons with the previous movies will feature, but I’ll try not to dwell on them too much.

      ~~~ # “Is This A Kind Of Magic”? ~~~
      As a self-contained entity, the movie almost works. I think if you were to encounter ‘The Sorcerer’ as your first ‘Highlander’ experience you wouldn’t be excessively confused, since the movie sets up to concept of immortality and the Immortals fairly quickly. However, certain nuances of the ‘Highlander’ universe are perhaps not immediately obvious, in particular, you might not fully understand why the Immortals are decapitating one another. In places the movie does assume that you’ve seen the original, so whilst it’s not essential to be familiar with ‘Highlander’, it can help explain a couple of things in one or two scenes.

      The plot of the story is very simple and, aside from nuances relevant to Highlander, I doubt most people would struggle following the basic premise of the story. Whilst I wouldn’t say the plot is especially thrilling, it is engaging enough to hold your attention for the 93 minutes without becoming particularly dull or boring.
      One aspect that has featured in all Highlander movies is the use of flashbacks to reveal things about Connor. I thought these were done well and do help to set-up themes and offer explanations of certain things that happen elsewhere in the movie. As a device for developing Connor’s character they’re quite effective and interesting to watch.

      The movie does offer some engaging action sequences, especially in terms of sword fights, although there are relatively few fight scenes in the movie and they’re all fairly short-lived, so I don’t think you could class this as an action movie in a typical sense of the phrase. Despite their shortness, the actually sword-skills is fairly impressive and for the most part you can believe they’ve been carrying and wielding this weapons for a couple of centuries and know how to use them.

      Where I think the movie suffers the most is from its script. Some of the of the dialogue seems a little uneasy and forced and in some ways the movie could have benefited from having either more character development, or at least a little more tension on screen. You never really feel like you’re on the edge of your seat. That said it’s not all bad in terms of the script, since some of the dialogue can be engaging. I think ultimately the main issue is that the script doesn’t expand or explain some of the threads it mentions enough and so left me feeling like something was missing, (though I will admit I can’t quite place my finger an exactly what it was that was missing).

      Christopher Lambert reprises his role as Connor MacLeod giving a passable performance, though it is far from remarkable, but again, I think this is largely down to the material he’s been given. Lambert appears natural and comfortable in the role and is believe and engaging playing the part.
      Mario Van Pebbles as Kane attempts to bring back some of the more sinister, husky-voiced qualities of the villain role, such as was it was when Clancy Brown played ‘Kurgan’ in the original. I think he manages to play the villain reasonably well, but like other aspect, the script doesn’t really give Pebbles much to go on, although he does a reasonably successful effort in making the character as less one-dimensional as possible.
      The supporting actors perform surprisingly well overall under the circumstances and some of the exchanges are interesting to watch.

      The special effects are fairly good and on the whole haven’t aged too badly. Certain effects do look a little dodgy in places, but Kane’s illusions are typical well executed and consistent in their standard.

      ~~~ The DVD ~~~
      The DVD is extremely simple, with just a still screen image used for the menu and the one option of ‘Play’. The lack of bonus features is perhaps one of the biggest criticisms that can be placed on any DVD these days. Currently it’s available on Amazon for about £7, however I do think these is a little pricey given both the lack of bonus material, coupled with the quality of the movie overall. I think somewhere in the region of £4 or so is a reasonable price to pay for this DVD.

      ~~~ BlueMidget’s Thoughts And Conclusion ~~~
      I think ‘Highlander III: The Sorcerer’ does manage to achieve some of the things it sets out to do. For people who are fans, it does go some way to scrubbing clean the poor decision to release ‘Highlander II’. Since it’s much more in keep with the original in terms of the reality and nature of the movie, I think most fans will at least be able to watch without shouting out in uproar.

      Script issues aside the movie also succeeds in being relatively engaging. By no means is this a movie that you would insist your friends and family watch because they “have to see it!”. Instead, ‘The Sorcerer’ is a tolerable experience that perhaps isn’t the most thriller, but nor it torturously unpleasant.

      Of all the sequels to the original ‘Highlander’, ‘The Sorcerer’ is probably the best. Unfortunately, it’s not a patch on the original. On it’s own merits, the movie does at least offer some entertainment and there are worse movies you could watch, (‘Highlander II’ being the obvious comparison here). Not a movie I would rant and rave about, but not one I would tell you to stir clear of entirely. There is some merit to this movie, but it’s an average merit in my opinion.

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    • Product Details

      Conner MacLeod is the Highlander. He must face his greatest enemy yet... Kane the Sorcerer intends taking over the world. While the plot is essentially the same as the original, it does have some highlights, such as revealing more of Connor MacLeod's past after leaving the Scottish highlands and a nice musical score involving celtic themes and the song 'Bonny Portmore' by Loreena McKennitt.