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ARROW IN THE HEAD REVIEWS

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Highlander 4: Endgame (2000)
Written by: The Arrow
Director: Douglas Aarniokoski

Starring:
Christopher Lambert/Connor
Adrian Paul/Duncan
Bruce Payne/Kell
Donnie Yen/Jin Ke
6 10
PLOT-CRUNCH
Connor (Lambert) is re-united with TV’s Highlander Duncan (Paul) and together they must face the most powerful immortal around, the evil Kell (Payne). Is this really the endgame? Only the box office will tell.
THE LOWDOWN
Keep in mind that this critique comes from the mouth of one of Highlander's biggest fan. Now I don't go back on my word too often but I went to see this one again and it went down better. Not having expectations the size of Tommy Lee's ding dong helped. So here we go again.

The first Highlander had it all, depth, action, a poignant love story and a fun villain. The second one (I'm talking about the RENEGADE version) was a decent sequel that went the sci-fi way. The third one was basically a poor remake of the original. This fourth and supposedly last entry means well but in the long run, it's not all it should have been. This is the "Mortal Kombat" version. It has "Clockwork Orange", "WWF" looking bad guys, is all gloss and uses the "you killed my (place family member name here)" tactic to drive its story. What stands for plot is an extensive collage of flashbacks, action sequences and monologues that are kinda of fun but don't mean much in the end. Let me break this puppy down.

Flashbacks: The flashback is a trademark of the Highlander series. Here it's used way too frequently, breaking the action that's happening in the present instead of complementing it. The flashbacks do serve the story but since the story is fairly thin, there's not much to support. At least Paul and Lambert have great chemistry and make it all bearable.

Action sequences: Some nice sword fights, gun play and martial art battles that are (in my opinion) sometimes ruined by the director's tendency to run them in fast-motion. I thought it cheapened them.

Monologues: I will give special merit to Kell (the villain) who just rambles on and on and on. Shut up and fight already!

I admire the film's attempt to connect it with the first (two characters from the original return) but its total disregard of the other sequels pissed me off. Connor's soul-mate in part 3 was just a one-movie fling cause she's totally ignored in the sequel. Ramirez (Sean Connery) is never mentioned and that is a sin in itself.

The film does have some good things: The battle between Duncan and Connor is filled with emotion, the relationship between Duncan and Faith is heartbreaking (the good acting helps) and it's always fun to see Lambert wield a sword again. But the film tries to pack in way too much stuff in 85 minutes (everything feels rushed), uses rules from the TV show that are foreign to the MOVIE fans, disregards its sequels and I must say that the finale has the silliest use of morphing I have ever seen.

Is the jig up?
GORE
Some cut off heads, cut off limbs and lots of red splashes.
ACTING
Christopher Lambert (Connor) gives us a different Connor, he’s sad, depressed and darker. Lambert handles his scenes well but let me warn you, he is not the star of the film (it's nice to see him back as Connor though). Adrian Paul (Duncan) is the star. I never followed the TV series but I can understand why it’s so popular. Paul is at ease with the action scenes, the emotional scenes and his scenes with Lambert rock! Bruce Payne (Kell) usually is very competent (Passenger 57, Warlock 3) but here he hams it up like you wouldn’t believe. He extends every syllable he spits out and gives an overblown show that sometimes grows tedious. Lisa Barbuscia (Faith) does fine as the bitter love interest and manages to convey all required emotion (with some help from her pouty lips). Donnie Yen (Jin Ke) doesn’t get to act much but he sure knows how to kick that arse!
T & A
Barbuscia has an exquisite behind and also shows her breasts. The ladies will relish Paul’s butt shot.
DIRECTING
All the flash in the world can’t make up for a weak script. Aarniokoski goes all out with crazy aerial shots, slow motion and nifty camera tricks but it’s unfortunate that all the zaniness is for nothing. Dude, next time film the fight scenes at normal speed…please…
SOUNDTRACK
Some kind of techno Celtic vibe and the same Loreena McKennitt song they played in part 3.
BOTTOM LINE
Highlander 2 strayed away from part 1. Highlander 3 ignored part 2 and Highlander 4 ignores 2 and 3. Lambert shows up to pass the torch to Paul and I expect to see Paul in the next Highlander sequel when it goes straight to cable or video. Paul has the charisma and skill to take over the franchise but I will miss Lambert and his token laugh. None of the Highlander sequels were able to re-create the depth and emotion the original has. This sequel is no exception. I hope this is not the last entry. The Highlander saga deserves a better conclusion.
BULL'S EYE
Notice in this entry: We see that big neon sign where the finale in part 1 took place.

The scene in the trailer where Payne is cut in half and becomes two is cut from the final film…bummer!
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