The one good thing about the third Highlander film is that it does away with the horrible second entry in a franchise that did NOT need to happen. For countless fans everywhere, there can be only one, and the diminishing returns on the sequels, no doubt caused by the horrible stories supports that.
This story tries to tie itself in a little stronger with the first film’s continuity, and even features nods to sets and characters from the first immortal adventure, where it really stumbles is by introducing magic. I know, I know, the characters are immortal, there’s a whole song by Queen based on a line in the film, A Kinda Magic, but it’s different here.
The story wants to introduce illusion and magic as an actual reality in the Highlander continuity despite the fact that it wasn’t even mentioned in the first film, or the second (which doesn’t count anyway).
And then there’s the love story. Don’t get me wrong, Deborah Kara Unger is talented, lovely, and Canadian, but the idea that she appears to be a reincarnation of someone Connor MacLeod (Christopher Lambert) was in love with a couple of centuries earlier. In the present (1994) she’s an archaeologist working in Japan who may have found the cave of the legendary Nakano (Mako, also YAY!), who was purported to be a magician, and apparently, an immortal.
Trapped in the cave, is the new villain of the piece, the immortal, Kane (Mario Van Peebles doing his best Clancy Brown voice), who has gained Nakano’s powers after beheading him. So he has magical abilities now in modern day New York.
Surprise, MacLeod! Apparently you didn’t win The Prize, at the end of the first film, somehow a trio of immortals, who were trapped in a cave for four hundred years, went unnoticed in The Game.
I might be able to forgive the film for the immortals stuck in a cave, but giving Kane magical powers, or any of the immortals for that matter, is just silly, and seems like poor storytelling in the context of that universe’s continuity.
And while it is always going to be cool to see Lambert in the Connor persona, and the idea itself is pretty damned cool, Morahan shoots the film like it’s a music video, which isn’t a surprise, as he came from music videos. The visual effects are terrible, the story, albeit a step up from the second, doesn’t work, and it doesn’t even have a kick-ass soundtrack.
They should have left the film at one. Sure, one could argue the television series (both of them) was good (never saw it), but I also know they created their own continuity around it, away from that of the feature. So apples and oranges despite having the same name.
So after exposing myself to these films, I will now block them from my memory, and just revisit the first, and only, Highlander!