Trolling #15: Highlander 2 RULES!
Here at Trolling, we're not alive unless we're contradicting you. If the geek status quo holds a passionate opinion about something, we will automatically take up the opposite stance. We are the rabble rousers. We are the squashers of dreams. We live to destroy the beloved and venerate the hated. We're like punk rockers, only way less cool. The topic of this week's rant will be that most hated of sequels, Russell Mulcahy's 1991 sequel Highlander II: The Quickening.
Highlander II, despite being made by the same director as the first Highlander, features one of the most dramatic retcons in pretty much all of genre history. The first film – to remind anyone who came in late – was a fantasy epic about a race of immortal humans who could only be killed by decapitation, and who all sought to be the final immortal standing after a millennia-long war. Legend goes that the last immortal standing would, more or less, be granted a single wish. The convoluted ins and outs of the immortal mythology can be browsed in detail in a CraveOnline article all about the entire Highlander series.
But in what many fans consider to be one of the most baffling alterations imaginable, the sequel, Highlander II: The Quickening, offered the newly-minted fact that the magical immortals fighting for magical wishes were in fact interdimensional space aliens! In addition to this bizarro turn of events, the film was also set in the near future, and was more about an environmental conspiracy involving a giant ozone shield than it was about sword-wielding paladins. There are various political reasons for the contradictions and alterations which I will not get into here.
The film is hated, and people make excuses for it all the time. Roger Ebert called it the worst film of 1991. Is it weird? Perhaps. But does the film suck like so many people say it does? I say no. In fact, let us all declare the following: Highlander II RULES! Here are some reasons as to why:
The film was re-edited several times in its life, making it feel occasionally choppy and occasionally hard to follow, and fans rejected it outright. As a sequel, it stands up to its predecessor. As a stand-alone film, it's a fun piece of fantasy-laced speculative sci-fi.
Until next week, let the hate mail flow.
Witney Seibold is a featured contributor on the CraveOnline Film Channel, and co-host of The B-Movies Podcast. You can read his weekly articles Trolling, Free Film School and The Series Project, and follow him on “Twitter” at @WitneySeibold, where he is slowly losing his mind.