Is It Time to Remake Highlander?

Look, I’m OK with the term ‘reboot’ but let’s be honest, it’s just a case of dodgy wordplay. A reboot is a remake. Dracula’s been remade approximately 3,784 times. (Blacula doesn’t count because in that one Dracula makes Blacula. Yes, I saw it.) The old concept gets pulped and the new one is planted fresh in the earth, its tender marketing roots seeking the wallets of us all.Planet of the Apes begot Planet of the Apes, Battlestar Galactica begot Battlestar Galactica, Halloween begot Halloween, Anne Rice begot Twilight. It’s the way of things.

And since people in their 30s want to make sure their childhoods are perpetual, we see The A-Team, The Karate Kid and now even Fright Night target our hearts and minds with bigger sequences, updated graphics and “reimagined” characters. So long as we keep these as viable box office draws, we will keep seeing them.

So I was wondering, why no talk of a Highlander remake? And then I found out thanks to Google that one is on the way, with a script and director. Read about it here, there and everywhere.

Granted, this is something that has apparently been spoken about and even had a production company for the last couple of years, so maybe it’s in development Hell. Now, as I stated above, it’s just natural that these things happen. To be honest, the Highlander franchise was so savagely desecrated that there’s nothing left. Unlike other franchises that have weathered bad sequels, Highlander was the first to “go Matrix” on us and take an unexpectedly enjoyable idea to turn it into something so execrable that even die-hard fans walked away.

Seriously. Highlander 2: The Quickening is so unimaginably bad that it leaves you speechless. (It’s also one of my prime exhibits for what I call the “Michael Ironside Curse”). I so desperately wanted to reclaim the lost love of the franchise that when they released a ‘Director’s Cut’ that ‘addressed fan problems’ I rented it and watched it with my friend Dusty.

It’s the only time that I’ve used time as a measure of quality. The ‘Director’s Cut’ was 15 minutes worse.

Still, I (and a lot of other geeks) gave Highlander one last shot with Highlander 3; they promised that they got back to basics and ignored the second one. Both of those things were tremendous selling points. It turned out so bad that it practically killed Mario Van Peebles’ career much the same way Batman & Robin virtually killed Chris O’Donnell’s.

After that, all but the extreme fans tapped out. Some adopted the show as worthy, but the rest of us were completely done by that point.

Eventually, I got around to watching Highlander: Endgame when I had a spare afternoon full of bad judgment. This one aimed to reconcile contradictions between the TV series and the movies (because things like that should never be allowed to stand, regardless of how little the TV show M*A*S*H had to do with the original film). It’s hard to tell whether it was worse than the second film, because once you exceed a certain threshold it’s like trying to measure the differing strength of two Black Holes. They both suck unlike anything else, so who cares?

But there’s still something a little sacred about the original. It may not be the best movie ever made, but it was made with such energy and exuberance that you can’t help but love it completely. Ask any geek/nerd/dork and you’ll see a smile crawl across their face as they remember the first time they watched that film.

And besides, Kurgan remains one of the most badass villains of all time. Clancy Brown has an eternal well of goodwill from the nerd herd for it. Heck, when he appeared on LOST, I perked up. He even had some of the best lines in The Shawshank Redemption as an added win. No matter what, when I find out Clancy Brown is in it, I become more interested in seeing it.

He’s like the anti-Michael Ironside – who ironically played the lead villain in Highlander 2. Oh my goodness, I think I’ve just figured out why I have such a violently primal dislike of Michael Ironside.

Anyway, I don’t want to see a Highlander remake/reboot/re-imagining. I understand why someone might think it necessary, but let’s not make a Halloween-level mistake here and remake it for the sake of it. Because that’s just wrong.

And it’s one step closer to my own snapping point. Halloween, my favorite horror film of all time, got remade. Highlander is on its way to similar pointlessness. The final blow will be if/when Robotech gets the Tobey Maguire treatment. The scream of agony could well shatter your soul.


15 thoughts on “Is It Time to Remake Highlander?

  1. Endgame went the way of the Highlander movie sequels, as did it’s sequel, “Highlander: The Source”. It seems that aside from the original, no one can seem to get it right.

    The TV show was okay, it’s spin-ff “Highlander: The Raven”, not so much. The animated series, I never saw. I also have not seen, but very much would like to, an anime movie, not of any of the Highlander stories we are familiar with, that received very favorable ratings.

    But I’ve wandered very far afield here. This whole re-boot/re-imagining trend in Hollywood tells me a couple of things. First, that Hollywood has effectively run out of ideas. Second, that, paraphrasing you from another blog post, our generation is killing visual entertainment.

    Creativity seems to have been drummed out of many of our contemporaries in Hollywood, and the “re-imagining” is king. And if it can’t be re-imagined, put it out for people in 3-D, and let the visual effects make up for poor scripting.

      1. I believe “Highlander: The Source” was an original Sci-Fi movie, so the production was “B” movie quality.

      2. They did. And it stunk.

        According to many who have seen both, it is a bit of a debate as to which was worse. “Highlander II: The Quickening”, or “Highlander: The Source”.

        Because I managed to get a tiny bit of amusement from a couple of scenes in “The Quickening”, I put it only a tiny bit over “The Source” (kinda like “Star Trek V” is only a bit better in my eyes than “The Motion Picture”).

        1. Star Trek V is a lot better than The Motion Picture. A lot. And it’s just about equivalent with Star Trek III, only III has a better ending; however, V has a better beginning and middle. Just one man’s opinion there, and I have a rather unique emotional connection to Star Trek V that will always leave it nested in a special place in my heart. *That* story is pretty much another post entirely.

          As for Highlander II v. The Source, you’re omitting Endgame from the calculation for brevity of comparison I presume? Because shouldn’t it be a 3-way contest? (I never saw The Source, so I’ve got to be content comparing the suck between II and Endgame. I feel left out.)

      3. “Endgame” was bad.

        “The Source” was BAD.

        No three-way contest about it. “Endgame” was watchable. The other two belong in the archives of MST3K.

        I can understand having a personal connection to a movie, and respect that. My opinion is that “STV” is just above “TMP”, if Trek movies are getting ranked (my personal order, worst to best goes 1, 5, 7, 4, 10, 9, 3, 6, 11, 8, 2, but that’s just me). Your opinion differs greatly (big surprise there), and for different reasons.

        It’s all good. Now I must get to grilling.

        1. Having anything from the Next Generation movies in the top 4 immediately invalidates any Star Trek opinion you may have. I’m frankly disappointed that anyone touting themselves as a Trekkie would rank 9 anywhere above the first 6. 9 was an abomination on the scale of Highlander 2. I wanted to like it, I tried desperately to like it, but in the end there’s nothing likable about it. I even rented it again recently and couldn’t get through it in one sitting.

          To each their own as you say, but at least now I know that comparing our opinions is like comparing between someone who likes Pinot Noir (me) and someone who drinks Thunderbird (you). 🙂 LOL

      4. HA!

        Shows what you know. I don’t drink.

        Seriously, though, First Contact was a fine movie, and I guess I would have mentioned that it and 6 were more or less tied in my list, but I still know that won’t make a dent in your opinion.

        Aside from generally snide comments, could you actually be specific about what you didn’t like about “Insurrection”? Personally, I saw it as more like an extended episode than a movie, which is what made “Generations” suffer in my eyes. There was no “theatrical” feel to either movie.

        But my issue with 5 has to do with why you liked it: Sybok. He was a character who, along with his ability to use the mind-meld as a projection tool, that never made a lick of sense to me. That and Kirk was far too sarcastic for how his character had previously been established. Well, and the story was kinda silly.

        1. As many people know, I have a unique attachment to 5. But I also enjoy its innocence. I also enjoy its theme and find it very relevant today.

          9 was just weak all around. Bad villain, bad plot, no theme of consequence. It had some minor political points but that’s just not enough for me. It’s too rooted to the times, there’s no quality that carries it forward.

          That was my problem with 8. It was made just to make it. Same with 7. Even TMP had a deep timeless philosophical question behind it, as did 3. 4 & 6’s messages were both rooted to the time and timeless.

          Ironically I thought they had nearly figured it out by 10. I liked that best of the TNG lot, but it’s still not as enjoyable as the rest.

          I enjoyed 11 for its Star Warsiness, but they took Spock & solved all his 40 years of issues in 2 hours. So while enjoyable, I’m not totally sold on the new direction.

          I’m curious as to why your opinion should change mine about what movies someone “should like” more than another. Does it matter, or did you take my teasing too seriously again?

          Seriously dude, I’ve been watching Star Trek just as long as you. I know the ins and outs. I just like the good Star Trek more. :-p

      5. There were only 4 good Star Trek movies:

        4. Nemesis
        3. Star Trek (the “re-boot”)
        2. The Wrath of Khan
        1. The Undiscovered Country

        All other Star Trek movies are as expendable as original series “red shirts.”

  2. Trying to remake the original Highlander would be like trying to remake the original Die Hard…a remake simply could not be better than the original. You simply could not duplicate what the original actors created on screen.

    Sequels in the highlander franchise have never worked out either.

    On a side note, the Halloween remake was horrible. Rob Zombie spent far too much time humanizing Michael Myers as a young boy. It was cheesy, unnecessary, and ruined the movie.

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