Highlander: The Source, by Albert W. Vogt III

Before beginning this review, while looking up Highlander: The Source (2007) on the International Movie Database (IMDb), I had a brief moment of panic.  You see, there is a search bar at the top of the page where I type in the movies I want to research.  Whether it is laziness or apathy (take your pick), I did not want to type out the full title.  This meant scrolling down a way through the other films in the Highlander franchise through which I suffered.  What got my heartbeat skipping a bit in worry is when I noticed something called Highlander: The Raven.  Dear, sweet God, please, no more, I thought, as I frantically Googled for more information.  Ever so thankfully, it turns out that this was a short-lived television spin-off from the broadcast series.  The original show starred Adrian Paul as Duncan MacLeod of the Clan MacLeod, and ended in 1998.  So, too, did the spin-off.  I would also say poor Adrian Paul.  Yet, he is a working actor, and since I have not seen him in anything other than Highlander crap, I am sure he is glad for the role.  At least Christopher Lambert, the first MacLeod, was in the first Mortal Kombat (1995) movie?  Yikes.

After four previous movies, and two television series, you would think people would have the rules down by which immortals live.  I mean, who else is watching Highlander: The Source other than die-hard fans and idiots like myself? But, no, they have to lay out the guidelines right away, which are: they cannot die unless their head is cut off, fighting on holy ground is forbidden, and in the end, there can be only one.  Got it.  From there, the film devolves into a bunch of half-explained nonsense about something called “The Source.”  Whatever it is, and I assure you that it never fully reveals what it is, there are a group of immortals quite concerned about it.  The one who is not is Duncan, and a voice over explains that he has lost his way . . . somehow.  Something happened in the unseen past that has him brooding from rooftops somewhere in a chaotic Eastern Europe, watching a woman he once loved named Anna Teshemka (Thekla Reuten).  Because there is nothing these movies like better than a flashback, it is later told to us in one of these sequences that they could not yet be together because she feels like it is not the right time.  She is mortal, and yet she is able to see certain things and has some kind of connection to the Source.  And once again, we are never made to fully understand the nature of that connection, only that she just knows the way to the Source.  The immortals who do believe in it think it will be a key to power, and potentially ending “the game,” the deadly contest between immortals where there can be only one of them left with their head upon their shoulders.  There are four immortals looking for a pathway to it, and one of them, Zai Jie (Stephen Rahman Hughes), is closing in on information that they believe will lead them to the place where it can be found.  This is becoming more of a priority as their resident astronomer, Reggie Weller (Stephen Wight), is tracking an alignment of the planets that has not happened in thousands of years.  Not only does this seem (I guess) to power the Source, but it also awakens a powerful immortal known as the Guardian (Cristian Solimeno).  He hunts and kills Zai, but not before Zai is able to confirm Reggie’s findings.  The resulting quickening (one last blessed time, what they call the lightning filled pyrotechnics of an immortal’s death) destroys the tower they are in, and brings Duncan poking around.  One of the others looking for the Source, Methos (Peter Wingfield), sends one of his colleagues, Joe Dawson (Jim Byrnes), to keep an eye on Duncan and try and persuade the Scotsman to join their quest.  Joe also saves Duncan when the Guardian emerges from the rubble and attacks.  Everyone meets up at a nearby monastery, including Anna, where they seek out the advice of an ancient immortal known as the Elder (Patrice Naiambana) regarding the Source.  He tells them to follow Anna’s visions.  These take our group, all the while being hunted by the Guardian (and a band of cannibals, which is never paid off in terms of people eating people), to an island in the Baltic.  From there, they find their way to a house, which does not seem to serve any purpose to the story, and then from there to the Source.  I guess I should mention that they were warned that as they got closer to the Source, they would be mortal.  This is how Reggie dies.  Anyway, Anna is taken by the Guardian to the Source, and Duncan is chosen as the only one capable of facing the challenge.  Now, with a burst of speed he had never before displayed, Duncan defeats the Guardian.  He does not lop off the head, though, which was some kind of final test that granted Duncan the ability to have a child with Anna.  The blissful end.

The end of Highlander: The Source is blissful because it is the final movie of these that I have to watch.  The frightful thought is that there could be more of these things, but I will cross that bridge, if I have to, when I come to it.  In the meantime, once more we have a film where virtually nothing that happens makes sense.  I understand that part of the genius of good films is that they do not have to explicitly spell out the plot.  The magic of motion pictures is in the showing, not the telling.  With this one, the only clue we get about the importance of the Source is that immortals want to possess it.  What “it” is, I do not know.  Is it the glowing thing at the end of the film that Anna and Duncan enter?  If so, how can someone possess a ball of light?  There are also hints that it can be used for ill purposes.  How?  Is that what the Guardian is doing?  Then again, how can anyone want to be like that creature?  Granted, he can move really fast, but entire sections of his skin are coming off.  There are two things that got people interested in these films: sword fighting and the Queen soundtrack.  Every other part of moviemaking seemed to go by the wayside.

One character I have yet to discuss in this analysis of Highlander: The Source is Cardinal Giovanni (Thom Fell).  He is one of the immortals looking for the Source.  As his character name would suggest, he is a high-ranking clergyman in the Catholic Church.  At first glance, I thought, uh-oh, there is going to be some vast Catholic conspiracy regarding the Source.  This would make sense plot-wise, and in Hollywood logic, as much as it would have also grated against my sensibilities.  Surprisingly, this was not the case.  Still, there were aspects of his character that I liked and disliked.  On the plus side, he is a part of Catholic Church that seems to genuinely acknowledge the existence of God, even while the world slips further into chaos.  He also has a few nice lines on the matter.  On the balance, however, he says a lot of things that put him in the pantheon of other cinematic Catholic priests, declaring blasphemies all around.  He is also power hungry, of course.  As they near the source, Anna and the immortals (band name!) are briefly captured by the cannibals.  In an absurd sequence of events, Giovanni is able to get free and decides to go after the Source on his own, making a mad rush towards the glowing light that ends with his decapitation.  Sigh.  Thankfully, the monks at the monastery appear to be okay, at least.

Highlander: The Source: banality, blood, and boobs.  Watch other movies, please.


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