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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

My 100 Worst Movies of the 90's - 36 - Highlander II: The Quickening (1991)

Highlander 2: The Quickening
(1991; Lamb Bear Productions)
Some may be surprised that this one is not higher.  Highlander II is one of those famous bad movies that just came out of nowhere and failed all over American audiences and fans of the first film.  This one gets a couple (only a couple) bonus points for me just because I respect this film so much for having the most laughable plot ever.  Also, the dialogue is terrific, including some of the silliest lines you’ll ever hear in a major motion picture.

The awesome plot, in a nutshell, involves Connor MacLeod (Christopher Lambert), who is tasked with restoring a rapidly depleting ozone layer.  So Connor has to fix a hole in a field of gas, okay.  How does he do this?  A giant forcefield!  Of course!  He, the guy, is put in charge of a team of scientists (because he’s the guy) and they build a machine that fixes the problem with people dropping dead and stuff, but has the unfortunate side effect of casting a permanent night on Earth.  So, over the course of this silly film, we get touches on corporate greed, terrorism, facing your past and all while completely pissing on the legacy of the first film.  

This film has so many gaping plot holes and such a contrived and idiotic plot that it actually tries to retroactively rewrite the entire back-story of the first film, when there was no reason to do so. The only reason we have this unnecessary back-story is so we can be introduced to the obligatory new villain in the form of General Katana (played by Michael Ironside) and his goons in the form of gibbering technopunk idiots who shriek, growl and chuckle loudly while they get their asses handed to them in one of the most least engaging action scenes I have ever seen in a major action film. All this is stacked on top of the main plot of the film which is thrown out almost entirely during the middle of the film until it is clumbsily picked back up again, like an off-balanced drunk trying to carry an arm full of empty water cooler bottles.

Highlander II: The Quickening does have some following as a fun “bad movie”.  It does fall into so-bad-it’s good territory, and I do like to laugh at its absurdity, but I don’t love to watch this one like I love to watch bad movies like the Room or Plan 9 From Outer Space, this one just lacks the charm those crappy movies have.  It’s far too bombastic and has a strange feel to it that sucks some of the camp value out of it for me. Oh, and one more thing. What the HELL is the Quickening. Sure, it's mentioned in the movie, but what is it? If you know, please tell me, because this question has haunted me for the better part of twenty years and I have been too damn lazy (and indifferent) to actually try to find out.

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