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C'mon Hollywood: There can be only one Highlander...right?

Sep. 18, 2012by: Paul Shirey

Directed by Russell Mulcahy (RICOCHET), the original HIGHLANDER, starring Christopher Lambert, Sean Connery, and Clancy Brown is the story of a group of immortal warriors all battling to kill each other in order to attain “the prize,” which is mortality.  It was a staple of my childhood, having watched it countless times and revering it with the highest of esteem.  So, while scanning through Netflix a few nights ago, I was elated to see my beloved HIGHLANDER sitting there.

I hit play and soaked in HIGHLANDER (for the first time in HD, nonetheless) and I had a blast with it.  It still held up for the most part, due largely to the clout of Connery, Clancy Brown’s craziness, and Mulcahy’s lively and frenetic visual punch, especially good for 1986.  There were plenty of problems, both in acting and story, but ultimately they were downplayed by the energetic fun, violent action, and cheesy rock soundtrack (by Queen).  It stands as a convincing slice of fantasy entertainment, which is what most of us look for in a film like that. 

Then, I made the mistake of turning on HIGHLANDER 2: THE QUICKENING.  Lambert, Connery, and director Mulcahy are all back and, holy shit, is it an example of how to ratf*ck a franchise.  I’d seen it once as a teenager and couldn’t make sense of it then.  It’s such a massive pile of celluloid crap that baffles me to no end.  How can the same key players screw up a sequel this bad (okay, don’t answer that.  We all know it’s possible)?  So, I did a little digging, and took a look at the trailers for the rest of the sequels, none of which I’d ever had the desire to see.  Each trailer went from bad to worse and I thanked the powers that be for salvaging those six hours of my life. 

It got me thinking; with the recent announcement that a HIGHLANDER remake was in the works, I had to ask myself it was really such a bad thing?  The first film works beautifully, cheesy and silly as it is, but is it really an untouchable classic? I think that it’s the only one worth a repeat viewing for sure, but is it a story that could never be retold without the seas turning blood red and birds falling from the sky?   For the first time, I actually feel like a reboot would be okay.

I mean, let’s face it, the sequels are garbage (and no, I don’t need to see all of them to know this.  Hit up rotten tomatoes for the full story there) with the first film just making the cut.  It was a failure at the box office, but found wings on video as a cult classic.  But does that make it sacrosanct?  I don’t think so.  In fact, I think this is exactly the kind of film that should be remade, if any.  Universally, I despise remakes, because they’re usually of successful films, rather than the lesser-known flicks that deserve a new look (and I know you’ll crucify me on that, since the resounding thought on the THE EVIL DEAD remake is sufficiently against it.  But, I digress.) 

When the announcement was made that Juan Carlos Fresnadillo (28 WEEKS LATER) would be helming the remake with Ryan Reynolds in the lead, the fans erupted in disdain.  Reynolds, who has been hot and cold at the box office (mostly cold) is seen as too much of a hammy actor who doesn’t look like Christopher Lambert, so there’s no way he could pull it off.  However, it seems to me that Lambert is in the same boat, being a hammy actor himself.  Many argued that the only way a HIGHLANDER remake could work is if Thomas Jane took the lead, seeing as he bears a striking resemblance to Lambert and typically takes on tough-guy roles.  I can’t discount either of those, or the fact that Jane would probably do a bang up job, but I think Reynolds could do that just the same.  Why?  Well, the only tolerable scene in X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE, that’s why…

Reynolds has struggled to find sure footing as an action star, but it’s not like he hasn’t given it the old college try. SMOKIN’ ACES was cool, but forgotten; GREEN LANTERN was a bust, but SAFE HOUSE was a decent hit and the upcoming R.I.P.D. could be promising, so there’s hope for the guy who has slept with Scarlet Johansson and Blake Lively yet.  The bastard.   

The inevitable argument will be to just “leave HIGHLANDER alone,” but I just don’t think it’s so great that new life couldn’t be breathed into the story.  I see a mountain of potential in rebooting HIGHLANDER, because if they make it click and it rocks the house, it accomplishes two things; one, we get a kick ass film and two, it reestablishes a series that has long been dead and forgotten, with the exception of those who find it on Netflix late at night.  It’s a really cool concept that is ripe for exploration and I truly hope the filmmakers get the pulse of it and deliver something worthy.  There can be only one original, but I think there’s room to receive one more quickening.

Extra Tidbit: What lesser-known property do you think would be a good candidate to be remade?
Source: JoBlo.com

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8:06PM on 09/18/2012

Yeah this is one of those few times where I'm cool with a reboot

Considering how every f*cking sequel, and tv show were essentially reboots.

Look at it this way, THERE IS NO WAY IT WILL BE AS BAD AS HIGHLANDER: THE SOURCE
Considering how every f*cking sequel, and tv show were essentially reboots.

Look at it this way, THERE IS NO WAY IT WILL BE AS BAD AS HIGHLANDER: THE SOURCE
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+4
4:23PM on 09/18/2012
Thomas Jane would have the perfect choice, he even looks like Lambert. I liked the highlander when I was kid and I actually have never gone back and watched it recently. I really much dont care if there is a remake or not but since there is going to be one I hope it turns out well.
Thomas Jane would have the perfect choice, he even looks like Lambert. I liked the highlander when I was kid and I actually have never gone back and watched it recently. I really much dont care if there is a remake or not but since there is going to be one I hope it turns out well.
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8:02PM on 09/18/2012
I agree. I also never saw the sequels b/c my friends all said they sucked, but the first is still good. It would be cool to get a well done trilogy, Highlander certainly has potential. As for Reynolds, I think he's a good actor but wrong for the part.
I agree. I also never saw the sequels b/c my friends all said they sucked, but the first is still good. It would be cool to get a well done trilogy, Highlander certainly has potential. As for Reynolds, I think he's a good actor but wrong for the part.
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4:45PM on 09/18/2012

meh

I still wish they'd gotten Thomas Jane, though I'll reserve any judgement on the project until I see a trailer.
I still wish they'd gotten Thomas Jane, though I'll reserve any judgement on the project until I see a trailer.
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+1
12:03PM on 09/19/2012

There can be more than One...

I think I am with you Paul. How so many bad sequels come out (many of them actually in theaters) is beyond me... The first one is solid but certainly ages a bit. It is not a masterpiece or an a lighting in a bottle cult classic (like Big Trouble in Little China). I actually think many 70's and 80's genre flicks are ripe for remakes. Bring on LOGUN'S RUN!
I think I am with you Paul. How so many bad sequels come out (many of them actually in theaters) is beyond me... The first one is solid but certainly ages a bit. It is not a masterpiece or an a lighting in a bottle cult classic (like Big Trouble in Little China). I actually think many 70's and 80's genre flicks are ripe for remakes. Bring on LOGUN'S RUN!
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2:49AM on 09/19/2012

Part of me hopes they would re-boot the tv show...

Since, as much as I prefer Connor to Duncan, the TV show format is really where this concept shines. I just hope they reboot it but NOT have hom win the Prize and just end the game. It's way more interesting when the immortals are all out there.
Since, as much as I prefer Connor to Duncan, the TV show format is really where this concept shines. I just hope they reboot it but NOT have hom win the Prize and just end the game. It's way more interesting when the immortals are all out there.
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1:25AM on 09/19/2012

So many remakes

I'm not necessarily opposed to Highlander being remade as I am opposed to the glut of remakes we've had over the last few years. If Highlander was one of only a few, I'd have no problem with it. But with every new announced remake or reboot I care a little less about the film industry as a whole.
I'm not necessarily opposed to Highlander being remade as I am opposed to the glut of remakes we've had over the last few years. If Highlander was one of only a few, I'd have no problem with it. But with every new announced remake or reboot I care a little less about the film industry as a whole.
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9:35PM on 09/18/2012
I think the problem is that when people think of highlander they think of christopher lambert when there is so much other stuff that could be done with highlander if you try some new characters. Thats what made the tv series so damn awesome. It only needed conner two times in the series while it instead established a whole universe full of awesome characters both good and bad. Maybe they need to just break the mold on highlander and try something brand new.

Re Extra Tidbit: Check out the
I think the problem is that when people think of highlander they think of christopher lambert when there is so much other stuff that could be done with highlander if you try some new characters. Thats what made the tv series so damn awesome. It only needed conner two times in the series while it instead established a whole universe full of awesome characters both good and bad. Maybe they need to just break the mold on highlander and try something brand new.

Re Extra Tidbit: Check out the movie My Science Project. Now that would be an awesome movie for remake.
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7:38PM on 09/18/2012
I agree with neobob187 and Half below that Thomas Jane would be an ideal choice. Ryan Reynolds is okay. He can certainly get the job done. For extra tidbit, the movie F/X would be a good remake if done right and it must rely heavily on practical effects, not CGI. Otherwise why remake F/X if you're going to rely a lot on CGI??
I agree with neobob187 and Half below that Thomas Jane would be an ideal choice. Ryan Reynolds is okay. He can certainly get the job done. For extra tidbit, the movie F/X would be a good remake if done right and it must rely heavily on practical effects, not CGI. Otherwise why remake F/X if you're going to rely a lot on CGI??
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3:13PM on 09/18/2012
I have extremely fond memories with the original, the story is great, the pace good and the soundtrack kickass. With the right players involved, a remake could be fun.
I have extremely fond memories with the original, the story is great, the pace good and the soundtrack kickass. With the right players involved, a remake could be fun.
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4:42PM on 09/19/2012

What would be needed - To keep true to the original

The reboot would need to have a sound track by a group of the ilk of Queen.. like Muse.
If they did a whole new soundtrack to go with the movie, maybe redo a few of the original tracks (that would be awesome) it would add another level of credibility to the movie... my 2 cents.
The reboot would need to have a sound track by a group of the ilk of Queen.. like Muse.
If they did a whole new soundtrack to go with the movie, maybe redo a few of the original tracks (that would be awesome) it would add another level of credibility to the movie... my 2 cents.
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3:32PM on 09/18/2012
I agree with Paul on this one. I love the first movie, and I'll always love it, but it isn't exactly cinematic gold. Highlander is a cool concept and world, and I don't see any reason why they couldn't do a remake. I also love Ryan Reynolds, so I'm definitely down for that. People think he's one-note, but that's probably because they only watch the movies where he is one-note. If you've seen Smoking Aces, you know he can do tragedy well. If you've seen the otherwise forgettable Amityville
I agree with Paul on this one. I love the first movie, and I'll always love it, but it isn't exactly cinematic gold. Highlander is a cool concept and world, and I don't see any reason why they couldn't do a remake. I also love Ryan Reynolds, so I'm definitely down for that. People think he's one-note, but that's probably because they only watch the movies where he is one-note. If you've seen Smoking Aces, you know he can do tragedy well. If you've seen the otherwise forgettable Amityville Horror remake, he was terrifying and intense. In fact, whenever he's in a bad movie, he's usually the best part. Blade 3, Amityville, X-Men: Origins.
Give the dude his due.
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3:58PM on 09/18/2012
I think the remake has potential, and Reynolds will fit the role perfectly. My reserve comes from the director- "28 Weeks Later" was good, but I don't recall any real directorial flourishes, and that is something this franchise seriously needs.
I think the remake has potential, and Reynolds will fit the role perfectly. My reserve comes from the director- "28 Weeks Later" was good, but I don't recall any real directorial flourishes, and that is something this franchise seriously needs.
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-4
2:56PM on 09/18/2012

I like Reynolds and am fine with

him in the role but honestly am not really too excited about a Highlander reboot. I just have no desire to see it.

Truth be told I loved the original Highlander movie when I was a kid, but I rewatched it recently and it has aged horribly, and I'm not just talking special effects (that's forgivable) but the fight choreoghraphy and the way most of the fights are shot and such, nevermind the writing and acting (I really dig Lambert but man he has like 4 different accents in this movie and
him in the role but honestly am not really too excited about a Highlander reboot. I just have no desire to see it.

Truth be told I loved the original Highlander movie when I was a kid, but I rewatched it recently and it has aged horribly, and I'm not just talking special effects (that's forgivable) but the fight choreoghraphy and the way most of the fights are shot and such, nevermind the writing and acting (I really dig Lambert but man he has like 4 different accents in this movie and they're all horrible). I was shocked and saddened when I saw it again, definitely shouldn't have done that, kind of ruined my memory of the film...
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