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.
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.