Highlander: Endgame

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Highlander: Endgame

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Highlander: Endgame

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Highlander: Endgame is the latest installment in a franchise that now includes four feature films, three syndicated series (live-action and animated), and countless other spin-offs, all offshoots of a perfectly terrible 1986 action film about immortals playing an everlasting game of beheading. You have to take a couple of steps back to realize just what a strange, arbitrary mini-phenomenon the whole thing is. Why Highlander and not, say, Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins? Is it the swords? The franchise survived even the infamous Highlander II: The Quickening, a sequel poor enough to be rejected by the undiscriminating audiences who gobbled up the original. Much of Highlander's endurance can be attributed to the long-running and cultishly followed syndicated TV series of the same name, to which Endgame connects more directly than the movie series. Square-jawed TV star Adrian Paul and mysteriously accented film star Christopher Lambert reprise their roles as members of the MacLeod Clan, good immortals who dislike killing other immortals yet engage in it with alarming frequency. Endgame pits both against the villainous Bruce Payne, whose status as an immortal hasn't allowed him to escape a bad case of male-pattern baldness. What follows involves many flashbacks to Lambert and Paul wearing silly costumes, a great deal of shouting, and a handful of scenes featuring suggestively intimate sword-fighting. For those unfamiliar with the Highlander mythology, Endgame will likely seem as inscrutable as the elephant's-funeral sequence in Santa Sangre. As spectacle, it's handsomely mounted and far less grating than the first two Russell Mulcahy-directed entries, but it's far from extraordinary in every other respect. Like a Pokémon movie, anyone not familiar with the series needn't bother. Those already immersed will have no choice.

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