Highlander II: The Quickening (1991) – Christopher Lambert

Having a messier a plot than the original Highlander, and having overly drawn out fight scenes that get especially boring for rewatchers, Highlander II deserves a lower rating than the original but is still just about watchable – generally worth watching sequentially after the original and before the third and fourth.

The best part of this movie is the re-appearance of Sean Connery in a strong supporting role albeit with a lot less screen time than Christopher Lambert, the star of the first four movies in this series. There are 5 movies in total, in the Highlander movie saga, and none of the sequels are as good as the original, but the 5th instalment deserves erasing from history altogether.

Michal Ironside does a fair job as the main antagonist in Highlander 2. Not a pleasant character – sick in every way – but respectable acting.

Virginia Madsen does a decent job as the main female in this movie. She makes a credible couple with Lambert.

The plot takes us to the future, to 2024 (considering the movie came out in 1991) where baddies have blanketed the sky with a “shield” (that looks like modern “con trails”, to use the less controversial name for them). This shield was originally installed to protect the earth from radiation of the sun, due to a hole in the ozone layer, but after it repaired itself, the bad guys left the shield in place for nefarious reasons without telling anyone that it’s no longer needed.

There are a few good scenes in this movie, but there’s a lot of slow & dull material here too. It’s mad how it had a budget of over $30 million – about twice that of the original, yet ended up in the state it did. The producers of Highlander II: The Quickening could hardly have done a worse job if they tried!

Highlander (1986) – Christopher Lambert

The Highlander (1986) starring Christopher Lambert has an interesting plot with some cool bits throughout the movie, including a strong appearance by Sean Connery. This just about makes up for the cheesy bad acting, which is so bad in places, it’s borderline satirical – not helped by the extremely cheesy music played throughout, by an 80s band called Queen.

Highlander is about a few ‘immortal’ men, who can not die, unless they are decapitated. Lambert’s character, Connor MacLeod (pronounced MacCloud) has lived for a few hundred years until the present day (1986, in New York), and this movie follows him during his first lifetime in the Highlands of Scotland, a few hundred years ago, as well as during his time in ‘present day’ New York. Plus there’s a short clip of him participating WW2.

The basic concept is, those few immortal men must meet and fight each other until there is only one left. MacLeod makes friends with some of them, including Juan Sánchez-Villalobos Ramírez (played fantastically by Sean Connery) who has lived for thousands of years, and teaches MacLeod about his powers and trains him how to fight; but there is one big and nasty man called The Kurgan (played adequately by Clancy Brown) who beheads all of Lambert’s friends for hundreds of years until finally it’s just the two of them left to decide the winner in present day New York City.

There’s no other strong or important performances to speak of in this movie, as far as I see. The various women in MacLeod’s life were all played satisfactorily by different actresses but none of them stand out to me as being especially noteworthy.

So all in all it’s not a terrible movie. It’s worth watching once in a blue moon when you’ve got nothing better to do. Christopher Lambert is his usual self – he does a generally decent job; and Sean Connery is his usual self – excellent in his role although he has less than half the screen time of Lambert here.

If you enjoyed this movie, don’t miss the many sequels, which continue with the same theme, and offer a similar level of stunts and acting.

The Hunted (1995) – Christopher Lambert

7.5/10 – This one is a bit dated but probably had a fair budget in its day. Not exactly a blockbuster but it has classic Christopher Lambert in his element. Martial arts (ninja) theme throughout, with a decent quality of acting all round, thus consistently entertaining for those who are keen on this genre. Not a bad plot although could have been a bit more creative. Still, a decent film for those who haven’t seen it and are into this type of movie generally. I’d rate it a 7.5/10 alongside movies like Jet Li’s The Master which is a good comparison because it has a seemingly similar budget, a similar quality of acting / investment in cast, similar input on plot, similar year of production and all round similar style and quality of movie with the exception that one is about kung fu and one ninjutsu/samurai so if you like one you’ll probably like the other too.