I love Highlander, to this day I think it’s an excellent piece of movie making. Sure, it’s flawed in places, sure it’s a child of the 80’s and it has issues, but beside that it’s exciting, interesting and engaging. I remember being as confused as hell the first time I watched it. The jumps between different times in history really catch you out, especially when they’re all mixed together like they are at the start.
But I think sometimes films should be a little challenging in that respect, it makes you sit up and take notice, and once you’ve gotten to grips with that, the story is quite engaging and at the time it was pretty unique.
The imagery, cinematography and sound track are just superb. The special effects were impressive for their day, although it’s a little hard not to cringe these days. The interplay between Connor, Ramirez and The Kurgan is excellent. I can still hear in my head The Kurgan’s cry of Ramirez with that deep gravelly voice. In fact, I probably know by heart too many of The Kurgan’s lines, and a fair number of Connor’s.
To someone who was tabletop roleplaying when it came out, this movie really helped enhance your imagination when visualising fights your characters were taking part in, remember, in 1986 computer games looked like the image to the right (which has nothing to do with highlander, btw). In those days, TV and Film were the major source of images you could use to enhance your own imagination. As a gamer and someone who read a lot, I absorbed those images I saw and re-used them in my games or my reading experience. I knew how my character looked swinging a sword because I had seen Connor do it. I knew how my huge barbarian looked when he bore down upon the enemy because I had seen The Kurgan do it a week before.
When I went to university I took or bought Highlander on VHS, I’ve already spoken about RoboCop and how we watched it over and over again. If we weren’t watching RoboCop, we were watching Highlander. In fact, we watched Highlander so much that the tape began to wear out, and we got a single solid line of black/white across the top of the picture as time went on, as well as general degradation of the sound.
When I got my first DVD player, I got Highlander and I was really disappointed with the transfer, I’ve got another copy now and I’m still not happy with it.
The two Highlander sequels are travesties of moving making history. The second movie specifically is so atrocious that I still have nightmares about it now. The third one essentially ignores the second and remakes the first one over again in an attempt to regain the fan base, but fails. If asked, I would vote Highlander II as the worst movie sequel ever made in the history of ever.
So among my lasting memories of Highlander are the worn out VHS tape I used to watch at university and the pile of movie making shit that was Highlander II, besmirching the good name of the original. However, I think the winning memory is the chance to enhance my roleplaying games by using the fighting imagery from Highlander to really engage in what my characters in those games were doing.
Nuns. No sense of humor.
There can be only one.