Highlander III: The Sorcerer
Reviewed by Steve Crow
Rating: 9 Beans
n this movie, we begin with a flashback to a newly minted Immortal, Connor MacLeod (Christopher Lambert), who is training with a wise teacher. The teacher trains him as best he can, but then falls to an evil Immortal. Cut to the modern day, where the evil Immortal is now hunting down MacLeod. He will strike at his woman, kidnap someone near and dear to him, insult the Highlander's manhood, play chicken in a car, waggle his tongue a few times, have sex with a prostitute, confront MacLeod in a church, and ultimately win or lose in a final battle between good and evil.
Oh, that's the first Highlander movie. You want to know about Highlander III, don't you? Hmm, wait, the above describes Highlander III, too. And that's the main problem. Scared of going too far out story-wise (as the folks responsible for Highlander II did), this time Brad Mirman (probably best known for writing for star Christopher Lambert in Knight Moves) and Paul Ohl (who??) team up with William Panzer to basically re-adapt the first movie.
Okay, there are some differences. This time we get an increasingly desperate Mario Van Peebles (Judgment Day, Solo, Rude Awakening) as the Immortal warrior Kane, with some vaguely defined "power of illusion" that lets him do whatever the plot calls for: cheat at a shell game, turn into a raven and fly, teleport to New York City, let himself be cut in half and rejoin the two parts, whatever. He benefits from having two lackeys (imaginatively named Warrior #1 and Warrior #2 in the credits) who are so pathetic that Kane decapitates one of them, and MacLeod readily finishes off the other, after he has somehow made his way to New York on his own, despite being a newly-resurrected 17th century Mongol or some such.
Meanwhile, Alex Johnson (Deborah Unger, The Game) has got a hint of MacLeod's past and is intrigued. It also helps that she is the spitting image of Connor's old girlfriend from 18th century France.
There's also a somewhat confusing subplot that goes nowhere concerning the death of Connor's wife in a car crash, and his adoption of a son. Although Connor is presumably mortal until Kane is dug out of his 400 year old tomb (in a nod to the end of the first movie - more than the second movie ever bothered with), the writers seem to want it both ways, hinting that it's Connor's immortality that kept him from siring a child and dying in the car crash.
Oh, and did I mention a pointless scene where Connor manages to get locked up in an insane asylum and deal with a patient who thinks he is Napoleon? No? What about the cop, Stenn, who I think the writers want us to think was in the first movie (he wasn't) who is still trying to hunt down Macleod? Nothing about him either? You're not missing much.
Basically H3 is a retread of H1. There are a few interesting notes, but the writers try to either hedge their bets with obfuscation (like the "is he/isn't he Immortal" thing above), or just don't bother to follow up the point they raise (like a scene where Kane challenges Connor on holy ground and..._Connor's_ sword breaks!). Lambert has very little to do other then look alternately offended and moony-eyed over his newly found love. Kane is never really established as a menace, since his only victory before fighting Connor is against the pathetically incompetent mentor Nakano (Mako - Pearl Harbor, Rising Sun, Sidekicks). Mario seems to be having a grand old time mugging for the camera, but his villain is paper thin.
Oh, the director's cut has a bit more nudity if that helps.
Like I said, I hold this movie in a bit more contempt than H2. Say what you will about the latter: at least they tried to do something different. Highlander III simply has nothing original going for it.
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