Highlander: Endgame

2000, Movie, R, 95 mins

Review

HIGHLANDER: ENDGAME
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The fourth theatrical HIGHLANDER movie has all the narrative momentum of a game of "Magic: The Gathering." But devoted fans probably won't mind, because this convoluted, time- and continent-tripping tale is heavy on the adolescent angst and swoony romanticism that suffused the first film. It also merges the parallel destinies of two Highlanders, Connor (Christopher Lambert) and Duncan MacLeod (Adrian Paul, of the syndicated Highlander TV series). After 18 years the mythos is complicated, but the short form is that immortal warriors are locked in an endless battle with arcane rules of engagement, a cruel cosmic game whose goal is to pare their number to one. The long form involves intricate alliances, doomed romance and quests for personal vengeance, interspersed with bloody sword fights — Immortals can only die by decapitation at the hand of another Immortal, and the victor grows stronger by absorbing the loser's vital energy. This movie opens in 1990: Connor's lover Rachel (Sheila Gish) is murdered and he retreats to the Sanctuary, where Immortals can remove themselves from the battlefield if they're willing to spend eternity in a drug-induced coma, tended by machine gun-toting monks. Ten years later, vengeful Immortal Jacob Kell (Bruce Payne) — whose personal beef with Connor dates back to 1555 — stages a bloody invasion of the Sanctuary. Meanwhile, a continent away, Connor's disciple Duncan is tormented by bloody nightmares that convince him he must find Connor, dead or alive. United, Duncan and Connor are pitted against the vicious Kell, whose allies include Duncan's estranged wife Faith (Lisa Barbuscia), who hates him for cursing her with immortality. Frequent flashbacks, equal parts soap opera and historical fashion show, explicate the complicated relationships between Kell, Faith and the MacLeods, and take the movie from 16th-century Scotland to 17th-century Italy, 18th-century Ireland and present-day England and America, and the script introduces several elements that remain unexplored but suggest that the Highlander saga doesn't end here. leave a comment --Maitland McDonagh

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