Movie Review: Highlander (1986)

Starring: Christopher Lambert, Clancy Brown and Sean Connery

Directed by: Russell Mulcahy

An immortal Scottish swordsman who has lived through centuries battling against people like him when he finds himself against his final opponent, a bloodthirsty barbarian who lists after the coveted ‘prize’ for being the last immortal standing.

I have always heard of Highlander but never seen it before but everybody that I’ve spoken to about it always have praised it highly. I didn’t know much about the movie but likened it to Braveheart and was expecting a grand tale of courage and bravery during 15th/16th century Scotland but what I ended up watching was something way different than anything I could’ve imagined. Highlander was set in present day (1985) and we see Connor Macleod’s history, who is the immortal Scottish swordsman, through flashbacks at different stages through his journey. I enjoyed the aspect of mixing modern day New York City which was dirty, rough and cramped with the beautiful scenic views of the Scottish highlands which were a lot more simplistic and isolated in comparison. They were two vastly different periods in time and I think the movie was able to portray each of them very well.

Christopher Lambert who played Connor Macleod was reasonably ok in the role although his attempt at a Scottish accent was truly dreadful, it seemed he did not take the time to do a little research or practice before filming or he could’ve perhaps asked his Scottish co-star Sean Connery for a little help. I’m not just singling out Lambert here as the other actors who were playing Scottish swordsman who were being led into battle by Macleod all had atrocious accents too and as somebody from the UK it infuriates me when American actors shoddily attempt any of the British accents as it always seems to be an after thought to the majority. Personally the true star of the movie and standout performer was Clancy Brown who played Macleods rival Kurgan, who throughout time has been bloodthirsty and hungry to be the last immortal standing to receive the coveted prize of the spiritual ability to know everything. Throughout the movie he was fantastic and his appearance and demeanour was truly frightening. Only downside though was the poor bald cap he had to wear towards the end of the movie, really wasn’t very well done.

I enjoyed Sean Connery’s small role as Ramirez, Macleod’s trainer, despite the fact that he was the only Scottish actor in the movie and he wasn’t playing a Scotsman, weird choice but he was fun to watch nevertheless. Some of the fight scenes between Connor Macleod and Kurgan were solid but I hated that Highlander had to push a romance angle as it was not needed at all. As soon as Brenda Wyatt (Roxanne Hart) came onto the screen both my wife and I knew that she’d be Macleod’s love interest and sometimes in action movies the romance angle isn’t required to add drama to the story.

Overall, Highlander was a reasonably good movie but hasn’t aged very well as it did seem very dated. The poor attempt at a Scottish accent was really disappointing but other than that the acting performances were pretty decent.


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