Highlander: There Can Only Be One (1986)

Cleave November 19, 2011

For thousands of years they have fought each other and killed each other to claim the prize. Only one of them can claim it and it is the power of them all. In the end there can only be one and Connor MacLeod want to make sure that he is the last one left to claim it. He was born in the highlands of Scotland in 1536 and he is The Highlander. Now he is Russell Nash, an antique dealer trying to hide out in plain site till the time of the gathering.

Connor (Christopher Lambert) was loved by his kinsmen and he would do anything for them. When they went into battle so did he to both protect them and their honor but he was not like the rest of them. He was different but none of them knew it till he died on the battle field and came back from it without even a scar. After that they treated him differently and even his bonnie girlfriend Kate (Celia Imrie) claimed he was the devils own. She raised such a fuss that the whole clan was about to burn him at the steak for consorting with the devil. If it had not been for his uncle Angus (James Cosmo), the clan chieftain, he would have been burned alive. Instead Angus banished him and forbid any to hinder him leaving or to help him as well. He cared for his nephew and looked to give him a chance at a life that was unnaturally given to him. So with his arms bound in a yoke he stumbled from the village and into the mountains.

Along the way he meet his first wife, Heather (Beatie Edney), a loving woman that cared nothing but the love of her husband. Even as she grew older she was hopeful that eventually she would be able to grant him a son. It was about 5 years from when Connor was cast out that a man with strange clothes and a strange accent came to visit him, he was Juan Sanchez Villa-Lobos Ramirez (Sean Connery) and an immortal. It was Ramirez that taught Connor how to use a sword and about the other gifts that he had as an immortal. He told him that none really knew why they were here only that near the end there would be a gathering of them all when they would fight for the prize. That prize could either save humanity to enslave it for all eternity. Remirez wanted to make sure that Connor would be ready for what was to come, he wanted to prepare him for The Kurgan, Victor Kruger (Clancy Brown). A vile and evil immortal thousands of years old and feared by all the immortals that knew him. It was Kurgan that killed Connor on the battle field but was stopped before his head could be taken.

The only way to kill an immortal is if their head is removed from their body. Once this happens the one who struck the killing blow receives all the power that was stored up in that body. The more heads taken the more that is stored and released. Later in the film you get to see just what kind of force and energy is released when an immortals head is removed. So strong is the force that it can cause windows to shatter, cars to explode and buildings to crumble. Heather, Connor’s wife saw this destruction first hand when Kuger and Remirez fought. The whole tower that she was in was shattered by their duel as the heavens opened up and lightening rained down around them. It seems that when ever 2 immortals are in combat the elements around them, especially electricity and lightening join in the fight to see who might be the victor.

This is the first film in a series of films about the immortals and will have you on the edge of your seat as you watch it. It is done in a style that we don’t see that much in film making where you get to see the events unfold and explained with many flash backs. We get to first see what the outcome might be and then see why it is going to turn out that way but it is done in a way so that nothing is really given away or revealed. Another great thing about this film is that it was done before the constant use of computers in film. It is amazing what you can do with composite shots, scratch cells and hand animation to make a film really come alive. There were not CG computers at the time to make all that you see, instead they used models and the filming process that I just mentioned as well as physical effects. You get to see the full force of what was actually seen on set. This is a film that you are not likely to ever forget after you see it.

I give this film a Musing review of ★★★★☆☆ 

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