Highlander 2: The Quickening (Renegade Edition) (1991)
Director: Russell Mulcahy
John C. McGingley/David
In the future a shield covers the earth protecting it from the sun (the ozone layer is dead). The world has bad air, people are suffering but hey, at least they’re alive. Trouble starts brewing when hot babe Louise (Madsen) suspects that the shield has lost its purpose, that the ozone is fine. She begins sniffing around and her life is put at risk. Oh, I almost forgot, there’s also a couple of immortals fighting with swords, gliding on flying boards trying to off each other…wait…is this an Highlander sequel?
This is the director’s cut of the very hated Highlander 2: The Quickening. The version released in theaters was an unfinished product and had the immortals be aliens from another planet. Here the film is complete, makes more sense and the immortals are from the past sent to the future. One thing is for sure its way better than the Quickening version but its still got its problems. Where do I begin…
Having the immortals come from the past is a good idea but it doesn’t always gel right. I mean they come from a past able to develop time travel, flying boards and ray guns but yet when the immortals arrive in the future (Ramirez and Katana) they marvel at the sight of TV’s, subway cars and airplanes. The past seems more developed than the future. Christ they still drive beat up cars in the future but in the past they have flying backpacks…makes sense??? Even if this version says the immortals come from the past, it feels more like another planet.
The rules of the immortals are rendered more complicated. I mean if u die on earth you go back in the past and become mortal…whatever.
Most of the performances are very hammed up and a tad on the cheesy side. The opening scene bird like villains are silly to say the least and have the most annoying laugh. Katana (Ironside) chews the scenery like a rabid acting beast but at least with him it’s amusing. (love the subway scene)
This sequel doesn’t have the heart or the depth the original has. The best way to enjoy this flick is to not see it as a Highlander sequel. It still has few positive aspects. The sets are amazing, the effects are decent, the fight scenes are good, the subway scene stands out as kickarse, the humor sometimes works and Sean Connery (Ramirez) is always fun times. I could see the disappointment of not getting a real Highlander sequel but that doesn’t mean it’s a total loss.
Cut off heads and a nice shoot em up scene that leaves Connor and Ramirez blood soaked. But where the red stuff really flows is in the subway scene…gnarly…
Christopher Lambert did all his own stunts in this one and you have to respect him for that. His performance is also on the ball, we get the token Lambert laugh and he looks great in a black trench coat. Virginia Madsen (Louise) takes a window dressing part and gives it a hint of depth, she’s also one pretty lady, why isn’t she a big star? Michael Ironside (Katana) lets loose and goes all out. He makes the villain in the first one seem subtle. He’s fun to watch but does go overboard big time. John C McGinley (David) mugs for the camera…a lot. Sean Connery (Ramirez) shows up long enough to spread the Scottish charm around, give us a few chuckles and collect his check.
T & A
In the future they don’t show breasts in love scenes.
Mulcahy directs with his usual style. We get flowing camera movement, tight action sequences and lots of mood. I also love the lighting in this film. But I will admit the film feels stale compared to the original.
Some opera, some blues, some Queen and a decent score.
A Highlander sequel this is not. It has more in common with Blade Runner or The Crow than Highlander. The film’s content is laughable but on an eye candy level it delivers. Forget it’s a Highlander sequel and appreciate it for what is, a flawed, cheesy sci-fi flick with Michael Ironside running wild. You might like it…a bit…
To judge Highlander 2 see the RENEGADE version. DO NOT SEE THE QUICKENING version…AVOID IT LIKE THE PLAGUE!
A third version of Highlander 2 exists. This version contains some of the footage from the "Renegade Edition" although the sequence of events is more like the theatrical release. It also contains footage and dialogue not seen in either of the other versions. Note worthy differences include the following: While Katana is fighting the rebels on Zeist soldiers from both sides use machine guns. Connor and Louise leave earth for Zeist at the end of the movie. This version is the one commonly used for television broadcasts.