Highlander: The Source Reviews
There has never been a Highlander film which has suceeded at box office and so the general desire to make another film in a desperate attempt to capitalise on its cult fan based is senseless. The production is therefore doomed from the start, but I never expected them to be of quality this abhorrent.
The production values for the Highlander series have never been as low as Highlander: The Source. Considering that Highlander: The Source is the first film in the series not to feature Christophe Lambert and to be released directly to television, this does not come as a surprise. It takes no time to come to this realization, and it is a most painful one to confront.
Never did I expect that the Highlander series would resort to production values as minimal as Highlander: The Source. As much as Highlander II: The Quickening is the single worst film of all time, at least it had production values. With Highlander: The Source, things look so pathetic and cheap that I honestly wonder if anyone behind the production of this travesty was honestly trying. People on YouTube have may fan-films with production values better than Highlander: The Source. Those films did not have a budget of $13 million or the presence of Adrian Paul, they simply had a thing called common sense.
Nearly the entire film feels like it was shot in front of a blue screen. Not a green screen, a blue screen. It is always obvious when this is the case because the cast could not be more distant from the "backgrounds". It's painfully fake enough already without the film hitting viewers over the head repeatedly with every single shot. Even in the shots which are on location everything is messed up because Highlander: The Source because the cinematography is too shaky or too zoomed and the colour cheme is messed up. Everything looks so roughly monochromatic and blurry that attempting to configure what is happening proves a real challenge. Highlander: The Source could seems more like Brett Leonard was asked to direct an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and suffered a stroke during the production. It doesn't make sense because he is the director of The Lawnmower Man and Virtuosity which were both said to feature groundbreaking visual effects at the time of their release. With Highlander: The Source however, the visual effects are the kind which long to be of the quality provided by Superman IV: The Quest for peace. I thought the visual effects in Highlander III: The Final Dimension looked cheap, but this is honestly beyond comprehension. And when it comes to the action, the choreography is thin and the editing is still poor. Basically, every single technical element of Highlander: The Source is a massive blunder, and so the value of the film as a visual experience is torture for the mind.
Of course, the writing is nothing to boast about either. The screenplay is full of thin characters and cheesy dialogue, but there is one thing about it that particularly bothers me.The line "There can be only one" loses all meaning in Highlander: The Source because it is overplayed so excessively by so many characters to the point that it goes beyond having no meaning. I wish more people had have listened when the line was uttered in the first film and taken notice to the fact that it was referring to the notion that no sequel to Highlander ever needs to be made. Unfortunately, now we live in a world with four sequels. How is that even possible? It's just reassuring that the incompetence of Highlander: The Source served as the final nail on the coffin of the series before what would have been a planned trilogy. But only time will tell, because as Michael Corleone said and the filmmakers proved with Highlander on multiple occasions "Just when I thought I was out... they pull me back in". I would beg fans not to see the series sink this low once again because they already went low enough with Highlander II: The Quickening. Alas, they risk giving in to temptation as I did.
And the cast of Highlander: The Source are as pathetic as everything else around them, but the only person who is worth writing about proves to be Adrian Paul.
Adrian Paul is a sorrowful lead in Highlander: The Source which palese in comparison to the last time he played the role in Highlander: Endgame. Adrian Paul's current career consists mainly of appearing in Z-grade mockbuster films distributed by The Asylum, and yet even those films have more value than Highlander: The Source. Perhaps this film was the turning point for him where he began to go further downhill than his already low-profile career had become in a desperate attempt to keep his cult status as Duncan MacLeod. There is no passion in his performance, not even any dying spirit of the once great cult legacy that was given to him by Highlander: The Series, and his desperate attempt to bring that back with this schlocky excuse for a film. I don't blame Adrian Paul for not bothering to try in Highlander: The Source because nobody else did, I just wonder how he got roped into doing such a terrible film and even into producing it. His presence in Highlander: The Source will not please fans, it will simply insult them to leave them learning that he would leave them disgraced by agreeing to appear in a different level of low point for the Highlander series.
So though its story is not as incompetent as Highlander II: The Quickening, many would argue Highlander: The Source as the worst of the series due to its lack of genuine purpose for existence coupled with production values so poor that they make Ed Wood's films look like that of Martin Scorsese.
That was until I actually just saw the thing- Yikes!! This is easily the worst movie I have seen in a very long time- At least since the occasions that my brother, uncle & I gathered to watch & have a laugh over a few drinks out of a few old 50's "B" movies that we bought or rented for the night. This corny, impossibly convoluted and horribly written mess fits right in, with the exception that the old "B" movies were actually better written and at least fun to watch. Watching this movie? More akin to torture.. Like I said, I am a fan & I was willing (and indeed tried!) to cut the movie some slack, but even I found it tough to slog through the whole thing. I just couldn't believe that experienced directors & script writers- who had done OK with the TV series- could so thoroughly butcher something this badly. It is a completely amateurish effort, at best, and the fact that it seems to take itself so seriously only adds to the overall ridiculousness of the whole surreal experience of watching it.
The story has so many holes, you could drive a fleet of Hummers through it, for starters. It would take pages to enumerate them all, but here are a few choice ones... If Eastern Europe is in such chaos (as apparently it is in the movie), why are the lights left on (let alone all even working) in a big- and EMPTY- soccer stadium at night? How many priests in The Vatican (or indeed anywhere else) have hair-doos & shades like the lead singer for "A Flock Of Seagulls"? Duncan lost his prized katana that he took so much pride in over the course of the TV series in terms of both its craftmenship and how/why he had originally obtained it, and here he doesn't even bat an eyelash over it's loss. And how the hell was Reggie able to log on to an unsecured wireless network with his laptop in a chaotic Eastern Europe from anywhere ranging from a medieval mountaintop monastary to a shack in the middle of the woods? Man... I can't do that in present-day technologically advanced Japan. Or perhaps he was logging onto his own WiFi... And just had a super-duper, hyper-powerful wireless router, or.... Sumthin.
Anyway, even "End Game" which was in no small part an incoherent mess itself, had it's redeeming moments- Adrian Paul & Christopher Lambert did in fact have a certain palpable mutual respect and chemistry- And over the last few years of the TV series, at least, Duncan MacLeod also shared a chemistry with Methos and Joe Dawson- The three had a certain camaraderie that was both visible and fun to watch- It helped you care about the characters and their stories (even if the overall story itself was often flawed) and this carried over to some extent with "Endgame". The action scenes in "Endgame" were also generally fun & sometimes exciting.
"The Source"? Nope- Not here... The writing is simply God-awful, and nothing of the old chemistry between Duncan, Joe, and Methos is on display here- most certainly not enough to rescue such an abysmal script. Ah yes... I didn't mention Duncan's love intrest, Anna (Thekla Reuten). Believe me, it's for a reason- she's about as forgetable as characters come. The action? Disappointing, and, at times, just plain silly-looking.. Especially disappointing since Adrian Paul took such pains to make it believable in the TV series. Silly because it is almost all cheap camera angles and ridiculous (and I don't mince my words) "special effects".
To conclude, I felt pretty let down this movie- If it had been just another stinker, I would not have spent as much time writing about it here, trust me. But I am a fan of the Highlander franchise and had looked forward to & actually cared about what I had hoped to be perhaps a better offering than "Endgame". Well, all I can say is that if this represents the direction of the series, then it's high time to stick a fork in it.