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HIGHLANDER II: THE QUICKENING - 2 Slimes
Rated R
Copyright 1991 Lamb Bear Entertainment
Reviewed by Tim Sniffin on 28 December 2000

The Characters:  

  • Connor MacLeod - Christopher Lambert! Formerly a 400-year-old Scotsman, now an alien exile from Zeist.
  • Ramirez - Sean Connery! Formerly a 1,000-year-old Egyptian, now an alien exile from Zeist. Squished by a fan.
  • Katana - Michael Ironside! Formerly a Japanese sword... ...well, no. He's also from Zeist, namely the bad guy. Head sent rollin' by MacLeod.
  • Louise Marcus - Virginia Madsen! Environmental terrorist and requisite love interest for MacLeod
  • Blake - Evil corporate head of the Corporation. Nuts crunched and thrown out of the window by Katana
  • Allan - MacLeod's friend who helped developed the Shield. Dies in prison from bad makeup.
  • Corda and Reno - Head fodder for MacLeod.

Buy It!

The Plot: 

Remember the original Highlander? You know, the one where immortal humans ran around chopping each others' heads off to Queen music? Well, forget it. This ain't no sequel. We're not sure what it is, but it sure ain't that.

Our story begins in August 1999 (Why August? Why not?) with a nice close-up of the sun. In case we didn't get the message, newscasters inform us that the ozone layer is almost gone and everyone is dying from really, really bad sunburn. Cue our hero, Connor MacLeod. Apparently, he and his little buddy (no, not Gilligan) Allan have developed a shield to protect us by using most, if not all, of the Earth's energy resources. So much for late night TV.

Anyway, 25 years later, life under the shield has deteriorated into a retro-look, cut-rate William Gibson cyberpunk novel. It seems that no change between day and night or in weather has gotten everyone down. MacLeod is now old and dozing during a Wagner opera. (No pretension on the part of the director there, no siree.) Suddenly, Ramirez's voice wakes him up, telling him to remember another life in another galaxy on the planet Zit, er Zeist. Seems MacLeod is the chosen one of a failed rebellion who one day can return because he won the prize on Earth. But his old enemy Katana (who is still alive after 500 years even though he's immortal) decides its time to eliminate MacLeod. He sends Corda and Reno - two of the dumbest excuses for henchmen I have ever seen - to knock off the old man, which is beyond their ability, of course. The resultant quickenings (a lightening bolt show after an immortal is victorious) resurrect Ramirez and make MacLeod young and handsome again, just in time for a kiss from Louise. Apparently, she likes immortal aliens. Katana comes down to Earth to finish the job and all hell, hopefully, breaks loose.

Oh, and Louise is trying to convince MacLeod that "something" is going on at the Corporation.

I left a lot out, but to be honest, I don't know where to begin. A bad guy named after a sword. Those two goons. The flying "duel." Settings named the corporation, the Bar, the Opera. The rescue attempt that Allan thwarts by dying. Even if you never saw the first Highlander, The Quickening will leave you as blind sided as Norman Rockwell in a Picasso exhibit. There are huge gaps in logic (listen for Blake's explanation on why they can't bring down the Shield) and strange deviations in continuity (watch the magic Katana). The story wanders in weird directions, taking the characters with it. After Katana comes to Earth, he wrecks a subway train, taunts MacLeod at his wife's grave and then... ...leaves and joins the Corporation. First order of business? Help him find MacLeod! Even when the movie manages to build up some momentum, it suddenly cuts to... ...Sean Connery doing Odious Comic Relief(TM). The mind boggles.

Note: There is a "Renegade Version" director's cut, which adds in about 20 minutes of new footage, fixes most of the continuity problems, eliminates the alien story and eighties pop music, and generally makes more sense. The new version raises (lowers?) the quality of the movie from hilariously bad to mediocre, but it loses a lot of the surreal charm of the original.

Things I Learned From This Movie: 

  • Subways can travel at 400 mph.
  • Corporate executives pack heat.
  • Trunks are bulletproof.
  • The oldest men's shop in Scotland takes earrings instead of money.
  • Katanas are magic.
  • Shakespearean crowds are pretty jaded.
  • Immortals have indestructible clothes.
  • Theater prop swords can stand up to a real sword.
  • Immortality is sexy.
  • They have the Wizard of Oz, high school and football on other worlds, but not kids.
  • Airplane safety films are directed by Irwin Allen.
  • Corporate headquarters are normally located in slum areas.
  • There are control rooms in high security, sensitive areas that are unguarded.
  • Gas guzzlers will be popular in the future.

Stuff To Watch For: 

  • 2 mins - Director cameo alert!
  • 3 mins - Is this Escape from New York?
  • 5 mins - She ain't singing. But she makes an nice "O" with her mouth.
  • 8 mins - Is this Dune?
  • 10 mins - Break ranks? Keep moving? Great generalship, MacLeod.
  • 16 mins - Is this Blade Runner?
  • 21 mins - Hey, look! Chickens!
  • 22 mins - Uh, Katana? Listen to them for a minute...
  • 26 mins - I think MacLeod's makeup is melting. Must be that immortality thing kicking in.
  • 29 mins - Is this Highlander? Oh, wait...
  • 30 mins - RANDOM ACT OF VIOLENCE AGAINST A BUM!
  • 34 mins - You know, that "I am Connor MacLeod of the Clan MacLeod" bit always seems to work. I should try it sometime.
  • 35 mins - I don't quite get it either, Virginia.
  • 42 mins - RANDOM ACT OF VIOLENCE AGAINST A SUBWAY TRAIN!
  • 48 mins - The entire gay population of Scotland is present and accounted for.
  • 54 mins - RANDOM ACT OF VIOLENCE AGAINST A CAB!
  • 56 mins - You've used a gun before, I see...
  • 65 mins - RANDOM ACT OF VIOLENCE AGAINST A GLOBE!
  • 68 mins - Magic Katana!
  • 69 mins - Sure, send the old guy out on his own in a prison complex. You just want to get freaky with MacLeod.
  • 73 mins - Magic Katana!
  • 75 mins - That's real gallant of you, Mac.
  • 76 mins - Boy, the Corporation is a bit behind on their maintenance. Oh wait, there's the janitor...
  • 80 mins - Magic Katana!

Quotes: 

  • MacLeod: "Yes. Yes, I remember. The beginning. Five hundred years ago. On the planet Zeist. We planned rebellion. We met in secret, always careful to avoid our deadly enemy... ...General Katana."
  • Ramirez: "Just remember... ...the Quickening!"
    MacLeod: "It sounds like magic."
    Ramirez: "Well, it is... ...kinda."
  • Actor: "What's your f**king game, shithead?!"
    Ramirez: "Shithead? What's a shithead?"
  • Corda: "MacLeooood! You're going to diieeeee!"
  • Katana: "The corporation. What luck, you see I've come to join the corporation. And here you all are... ....Where do I sign up?
    Blake: "Oh, I think I've had enough of you. Good-bye, Attila." (Gun shots) "Ahhhh, yes indeed! That was brilliantly done. Bravo."

 Audio clips in wav formatSOUNDSStarving actors speak out 

FileDialog
Green Music Note highlanderii1.wav Katana: "I want you to leave for the future immediately. Find MacLeod and kill him."
Green Music Note highlanderii2.wav Louise: "You're nothing but a tired old man."
MacLeod: "More than you know."
Green Music Note highlanderii3.wav Louise trying to reason out the plot, she gives it a good college try.
Green Music Note highlanderii4.wav Katana: "The remains of your mortal wife? So frail, so very dead!"
MacLeod: "At least she's at peace!"
Katana: "Peace is highly overrated."

 Click for a larger imageIMAGESScenes from the movie 

ImageImageImage
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 Watch a sceneVIDEOMPEG video files 

Video Cliphighlanderii1.mpg - 2.1m
MacLeod steps into the energy stream to use his power and free the world from the shield. I love it how the weather reverts to normal in just seconds without any serious problems.

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Comments:Write CommentPages: [1] 2
Highlander II: The Quickening
Reply #1. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:49 PM by Neville
ChrisB, you are absolutely right. The original was a piece of crap and still some people claim this sequel ruined everything... Well, surely it is not good, but it is really more entertaining than the original, and the sci-fi elements make it (at least for me) more interesting. What if they don't make any sense at all? Are inmortal Scotish played by frenchmen and inmortal spaniards played by scottsmen with Queen music more realistic, perhaps?  
Highlander II: The Quickening
Reply #2. Posted on May 03, 2004, 06:44:26 PM by Monster W. Kung
Worst movie ever!!!! I wanna write it in the sky!!!
Highlander II: The Quickening
Reply #3. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM by Ernst Bitterman
I will grant that the first movie was hardly Branaugh's "Hamlet", BUT if you're making a sequel, you really have to limit yourself in general to the reality laid out in the original.  Even "Jason X" had to nod in the direction of the earlier movies.  This movie (and sadly, I haven't the strength to watch the renegade version-- too badly burnt) gave one the sensation of a group of children taking turns telling a story; kid 1 goes on for some minutes about the three bears and a dragon, and then kid 2 has them beaten up by the stars of the WWE.
   Also, frankly, I don't see how it's a BIG punishment for space-rebels to be sentenced to transportation and immortality.  If I'm Claidhmohmor the Space-Despot, I'm going to sentence all rebels to be used as fuel to warm the imperial hot-tub, to be carried out RIGHT DAMN NOW!  Never mind that, should I send them far away where they will live a long time, I probably won't care much about ANYTHING they get up to several centuries hence (What's that McLeod up to? Ah, still a grubby kilt-filler, after 70 years on Earth. Hmm, time for me to have a heart attack and turn the Empire over to my boy, Wakazashi).
Highlander II: The Quickening
Reply #4. Posted on August 10, 2003, 05:59:53 AM by Sinister
Did you know that the Immortals come from the Netherlands an not from outer space? Zeist is an town in the Netherlands.
Highlander II: The Quickening
Reply #5. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM by Karnos
Anyone seen the mythical "Fairy tale" ending? It actually makes this movie more silly than what it is known to be.
<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NW1qHfhe_TM" target="_blank" class="aeva_link bbc_link new_win">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NW1qHfhe_TM</a>
Highlander II: The Quickening
Reply #6. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM by Tim Sniffin (aka billydaking)
"main problem I see with it was the Katana. Why would a Highlander use a Jap sword?"

In the first movie, the katana was more symbolic than practical. Ramierz carries it in memory of his third wife (the sword was a gift from her father), whose death "shattered him." He tells this to MacLeod to "spare you that pain. Leave Heather." Later, when Heather dies of old age, MacLeod uses his clan sword as Heather's grave marker and takes up Ramierz's katana. It shows both that MacLeod is leaving behind who he was (living most of his life under assumed names) and is now carrying the same pain Ramierz did (Rachel telling Connor, "You never let anyone close to you.")

I actually forgot I wrote this review. It was the first time I had written one for the Internet, and I wrote the thing in about a half hour. I'm kind of embarrassed by the text part; I was trying too hard to be funny. Somewhere, I have a tape of the original theatrical cut of The Quickening. Maybe one day I'll send some new audio and a video file (the ones here are from the Renegade cut) to Andrew so he can update the review.
Highlander II: The Quickening
Reply #7. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:49 PM by John Dashwood
I like the first movie. Just don't take it so seriously. Well film and had some great fight scenes. The main problem I see with it was the Katana. Why would a Highlander use a Jap sword? The 80s dudes the 80s mentality.  The historic fights looked great. Better than Braveheart. You can't top the Kurgan for a bad guy either. I could do with out Queen. I never really cared for that band. But a jap sword is not good for parrying. It is sharp but not designed to got up against armor. A European Broad Sword is far better. When it comes to flex, durability and hacking off limbs. Just check out the ARMA web site if you don't believe me. Anyhow. The best thing about the first movie was it's mystery. You just didn't know why these things were happening like in our lives today. I wondered many things as to how such things like the Quickening could happen. THE VERY LAST THING I EVER WOULD HAVE GUESSED WAS WHAT I SAW IN HIGHLANDER TWO! Yikes! It's like scripts from a bunch of different movies all got misfiled together during a shift change, some lay offs occured and then temp workers brought in to reorganize! SHeesh!
Highlander II: The Quickening
Reply #8. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM by Sweden
"Of course I remember. It was 500 years ago, on the planet Zeist." Any hopes I had that this was going to be a good sequel ended right there.

Anyway, a very good review, but it didn't mention one of the key plot inconsistancies: if the world is in a situation of perpetual steamy night, why is it day in Scotland when Ramierz goes shopping? Perhaps Scotland isn't part of the world; perhaps the set designers were just really, really lazy? That said, you could write a book about how this film neither makes sense in the context of the Highlander series, or even its own.
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