Movie Review: 'Highlander: The Source' - How far can a franchise fall?
Written by Rev. Robert A. Vinciguerra Wednesday, 01 August 2007 00:00
Fans of Highlander the Series – like me – will be exited to know that Adrian Paul returns as Duncan MacLeod, the hero of the day, and he is joined by old friends Methos and Joe, but that’s where the excitement ends. The premise of the film is that Duncan MacLeod, sometime in the near future, will join with a band of immortals to seek out the true source of their immortality. Though Mac and his reluctant associates do go on a quest, the true ‘source’ is never revealed or explained to the audience.
We meet our hero in the not too distant future where the world has fallen into anarchy, in what is complete and total departure from character; MacLeod wanders the streets of a decaying Eastern European city, completely broken up over the loss of a girlfriend – a woman who left him after he shared his immortal secret.
Readers familiar with Duncan’s 400+ year history with love and loves lost would find this plot element exceptionally difficult to swallow.
The new antagonist, the Guardian, is enough to singlehandedly ruin the film. He is a cross between “the gimp” character of Pulp Fiction fame, and “that yellow bastard” from Sin City, with yellowish skin and worse one-liners than C3PO. It’s enough to make George Lucas blush.
To make him appear to be powerful, the Guardian has been given a gimmick. He has the supernatural ability to move “really fast,” made possible by the futuristic effect by speeding up the film. Yes. It looks as awful on film as it sounds in writing.
It’s not just Duncan; all of the characters are off base. Methos, MacLeod’s trusted friend, who at one point was willing to sacrifice his 4,000 year old head to save Duncan, is recast with a cold, callous and uncaring persona. The character has been rewritten to self-centered extremes.
While Joe Dawson makes an appearance, it is brief. His Watcher network is all but extinguished, (with no mention of how or why). Fans of Dawson will much prefer his five minutes of screen time in End Game to his pointless and extremely disappointing role in The Source.
Several new characters join in on the quest. The most notable is a priest named Giovanni. His cowardice, flamboyancy and inability to defend himself makes for an absurdly unconvincing immortal who supposedly has been able to live for hundreds of year by the sword.
Who forgot to bring the Plot?
The movie doesn't explain anything. The world has fallen into chaos. How? Why? Who knows! I can only suppose that the writers didn’t consider the concept of ‘storytelling’ to be important to the movie’s natural progression.
This idea that plot is somehow meaningless also manifests itself in the complete and utter lack of flashbacks, which had become a Highlander staple. Sadly, the only flashbacks in the film revolve around MacLeod’s girlfriend, who the audience meets very early on in the movie.
MacLeod's girlfriend, the very one who he’s distraught over, has visions about how to find the source. How? Why? “Who cares?” says a writer. Again, that detail must not have been too important to the non-plot.
Aside from the Guardian, the second absolute worst part of the entire charade is the is Jabba the Hut’s cameo. As if it wasn’t bad enough that they had to show up C3PO. (You’ll know what I mean if you watch the film.)
-Duncan MacLeod does not take one single head
-There is only one quickening in the entire movie (not Duncan!)
-The ending is horrid… beyond horrid
I have said about as much as I can without completely spoiling the movie for fellow fans who, like me, still really want to give it a chance, despite all of the negativity surrounding it.
Unfortunately and without question, this is the worst episode in the Highlander saga. Other notoriously bad Highlander chapters, including the final season of Highlander: The Series, the entire Highlander: The Raven spin-off, and even the Highlander 2 film pale in comparison to The Source’s levels of cinematic incompetence and general unpleasantness.
Leading man Adrian Paul himself has not voice confidence in the final product. When asked in an interview if the movie is any good, he indicated that he had seen it, and that you will need to “Judge for yourself.” Paul has later gone on the record saying that he will not participate in another Highlander film unless he has creative control. (Good on you, sir!)
Officially released on September 15th 2007, Highlander: The Source is the first Highlander movie to not make it to theaters. It was not even be a direct to DVD release. Thanks to what can only be described as incredibly poor production quality, it was released as a direct to TV movie, debuting on the SciFi Channel. Such a sad moment for the Highlander legacy.