Tag Archives: Russell Mulcahy

Highlander (1986)

<strong class="MovieTitle">Highlander</strong> (1986)

(Second or third viewing, On TV, January 2018) Whew. I remember watching Highlander in what must have been high school and thinking that it was an awesome movie. I’m not a teenager anymore, but I have to say that Highlander still carries a punch. No, it’s not the best movie ever. Yes, it has visibly aged and remains a film deeply steeped in the mid-eighties. But the rock video aesthetics of the film do lend it an enviable flair even today. The film may have wanted to portray the degeneracy of the time with its emphasis on heavy metal and entertainment wrestling as opposed to the nobility of an immortal Scottish highlander, but it works. Christophe Lambert has seldom had a more iconic role, and Sean Connery is perfectly used as a cranky mentor. (Clancy Brown is good enough as the antagonist, and so is Roxanne Hart as the love interest/audience stand-in.)  The clever script is just good enough to earn our interest quickly, and develop the premise with effectiveness. Swordfights in modern rainy New York City? Bring it. Still, it’s director Russell Mulcahy who gives the biggest boost to the film by adapting then-unusual music video elements in service of a longer film—the impressive visuals are still striking (ah, that shattering-windows climax!) and the music is a strong component of the film. In retrospect, after numerous inferior sequels and a long-running TV show, there’s something about the admirably incomplete lore of the film’s premise. An immortal, a prize, a few big sequences signifying the progress of the quickening … it doesn’t take much more, and over-explaining it all rather ruins the experience. While Highlander does lose some of its appeal once viewers grow out of their teenage years, it’s still a good fantasy/action film, and a rather effective time capsule of the time. Just ignore the sequels.