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I can understand why HIGHLANDER ($25) has had a huge following and why its fans were excited when a 10th Anniversary Director’s Cut was issued with six minutes of additional footage. Christopher Lambert stars as Connor MacLeod, a man born in the highlands of Scotland several centuries ago. MacLeod went into battle, was mortally wounded, but did not die. He soon discovers the reason he did not die. He is an immortal. Sean Connery appears in HIGHLANDER in the small, but pivotal role of Juan Ramirez.

Ramirez is another immortal who becomes mentor to MacLeod and teaches him about others of his kind. MacLeod learns that immortals must fight each other to the death to claim the other’s power. The only way that an immortal can be killed is to take his head, so Ramirez teaches MacLeod the finer points of the necessary art of sword fighting. As a film, HIGHLANDER has a rich mythology, which seems to be the reason behind much of its popularity. The plot of HIGHLANDER moves back and forth through the centuries, showing how events in the past impact on the present and why MacLeod must face the film’s ultimate villain Kurgan (Clancy Brown). The cast of HIGHLANDER also features Roxanne Hart, Beatie Edney, Alan North, Sheila Gish and Jon Polito.

Republic Entertainment has made HIGHLANDER in the Letterboxed format on a THX certified DVD. While the Letterboxed transfer is reasonably good and restore the film to its proper 1.85:1 theatrical proportions, the DVD authoring for this title leaves a lot to be desired. I was under the impression that THX certification guaranteed a certain level of quality. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case for this particular DVD. In places, there is graininess to the image that wasn’t apparent on the Laserdisc edition of the film. MPEG-2 digital compression artifacts are also quite apparent on this DVD. Aside from the disappointing flaws in the DVD authoring, the transfer for HIGHLANDER has a good level of detail and well saturated color.

The Dolby Digital 5.1 channel soundtrack is fairly good. The newly re-mixed elements sound much better than traditional Dolby Surround, but the limitations in the original recordings date the track. Other soundtrack options include a matrixed Dolby Surround compatible track, plus an audio commentary. The commentary gives a good deal of background information about the film and features director Russell Mulcahy, as well as producers Peter Davis and William Panzer. English captioning and Spanish subtitles are available on the DVD.

The interactive menus offer access to a theatrical trailer, hundreds of production photos and the film’s script.




DVD reviews are Copyright 1998 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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