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HIGHLANDER: ENDGAME

SYNOPSIS:
The fourth and, by all accounts, final chapter in the Highlander franchise finds time-tripping immortal Connor McLeod (Christopher Lambert) and his young kinsman and fellow immortal, Duncan McLeod (Adrian Paul from the Highlander T.V. series) crossing swords with redoubtable arch-enemy Jacob Kell (Bruce Payne). Some five hundred years earlier Conan and Kell were firm friends, but ever since Conan was forced to kill Kell's father during a witch-hunt incident, Kell has been after Connor's head. A lengthy series of flashbacks, each set in a different century, graphically document Connor and Kell's bloody run-ins. Now, high on a rooftop in modern-day New York, Connor, Duncan and Kell must finally put their immortal lives on the line and settle things once and for all.

"Though the first Highlander film in 1986 (directed by Aussie Russell Mulcahy in the same flashy style that characterised his video clips) proved to be an entertaining load of codswallop that went on to do healthy box-office business, its two uninspired sequels - 1991's Highlander 2: The Quickening (also directed by Mulcahy) and 1994's Highlander 3: The Final Dimension, directed by Andrew Monahan, both wore out their welcome virtually in the opening reels. By and large, Highlander: Endgame is a blatantly opportunistic attempt to capture a new generation of fans by killing off Lambert's tired Connor character and passing the theatrical baton (or sword) to the younger, more attractive immortal that Adrian Paul created in the short-lived Highlander TV series. Unfortunately, judging by what writer Joel Soisson has come up with here, the franchise is already dead in the water. Either unwilling or unable to tamper with a proven formula, Soisson has cobbled together what amounts to an overly familiar rehash of all the sword and sorcery set-pieces which have been become de rigeur not just for this particular series but also for films of this genre in general. From an acting point of view, only Bruce Payne as the evil Kell looks like he's having any fun. Putting his arched eyebrows to good use, he is a scenery-chewing scene-stealer par excellence and there's little that Lambert, with his permanent pained expression, can do about it. Adrian Paul is a handsome hunk but that's not an asset this enterprise needs. If the film lives at all it's in the sheer exuberance of Douglas Aarniokoski's direction. Pausing for neither narrative cohesion not logic, there is atmosphere to spare in the Gothic Romanian landscapes he had chosen, and when the battles erupt, he keeps them brisk and bloody. That said, it's still a film for the die-hard fan only, and its trip to the video shelf is imminent."
Leo Cameron



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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 0
Unfavourable: 1
Mixed: 0

HIGHLANDER: ENDGAME (MA)
(US)

CAST: Adrian Paul, Christopher Lambert, Bruce Payne, Lisa Barbuscia

PRODUCERS: Peter S. Davis, William N. Panzer

DIRECTOR: Douglas Aarniokoski

SCRIPT: Gregory Widen (characters), Eric Bernt, Gillian Horvath & William N. Panzer (story), Joel Soisson (screenplay)

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Douglas Milsome

EDITOR: Chris Blunden, Rod Dean, Robert A. Ferretti, Tracy Granger, Michael N. Knue, Donald Paonessa

MUSIC: Nick Glennie-Smith, Stephen Graziano

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Jonathan Scott Carlson

RUNNING TIME: 88 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: February 15, 2001







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