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Category:    Home > Reviews > Action > Adventure > Fantasy > Battles > Swords > Quests > Highlander 2-Films Set (Highlander (1986) + Highlander 2 (1990/Renegade Version) Lionsgate Blu-ray Set Anniversary Collection)

Highlander 2-Films Set (Highlander (1986) + Highlander 2 (1990/Renegade Version) Lionsgate Blu-ray Set Anniversary Collection)


Picture: B-     Sound: C+     Extras: B-/C-     Films: B-/C-



A little while ago, Lionsgate issued the first two films in what became the Highlander series, the first two happen to have Sean Connery and this was our original coverage:





Now out as a set that takes up half the space, the films have aged in odd ways and were not my favorites in the first place, even with Connery on board.  I give him as much credit as anyone for the success of the first film, but Director Russell Mulcahy (The Shadow) and co-star Christopher Lambert (The Sicilian, Greystoke) were also instrumental in this fantasy/adventure with a New Wave attitude that extended to many imitators (A Knight’s Tale with Heath Ledger, the Sharpe TV series, both also with music by Queen) that constituted a cycle of the Fantasy genre that is over now (300 changed the direction and for the worst, as we now know), but this era had some energy and was not as obsessed by its own style.


That is also to say it was not so self-impressed.  The second film (originally issued as Highlander 2 – The Quickening, which sounds more like a promo tie-in flavor of Kool-Aid than a movie) barely had Connery and was never great in any cut, yet it kept the name alive enough to transition the idea of the first film into a franchise that included a few more features and a couple of TV series.  Mulcahy was even back for the sequel, but how it got so botched is beyond me at this point.


Oh, to be immortal and still use weapons against other immortals.  Connery had the classical credibility playing many similar characters from centuries ago (plus his Zed in John Boorman’s underrated Zardoz (1973) dealt with immortals, though in a much more complex manner than here), but this was more accessible and the popularity of Connery was enough to keep this going when nothing else would.


The 1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image of the original and 2.35 X 1 of the sequel are the same transfers as the last Blu-rays, as well as the DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 mixes, but both are not what they could be for films of their time and the first film does not always look like a print that was from the same source blown up to 70mm prints for exhibition.  Those prints had 4.1 Dolby magnetic multi-channel sound mixes, which this DTS-MA mix only hints at.  The sequel was Dolby analog A-type noise reduction, so its sonic limits are more in keeping with its original soundmaster.


Another way to see the limits on the first film is to compare to Universal’s Blu-ray of the 1980 Flash Gordon (unreviewed, but recommended), which was also a 70mm blow-up film with a 4.1 mix and music by Queen.  You can take it from there.  Extras are also the same as the previous Blu-rays.  For more Highlander, see our coverage of the spin-off Raven series:





-   Nicholas Sheffo


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