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  • All true Highlander fans will simply not acknowledge the existence of Highlander 2, wih good reason: Planet Zeist.

    if you were to see part 2 and not the Original, it would be ok, cuz it would make sense in its own way. H1 and H2 are effectively unrelated films. But Highlander was quite an original story. H2, unfortunately, is a bit goofy and out of sync. Quite laughable in its own way.

    If you want a good laugh, check it out. It's high cheese. If you're a Highlander purist, it DOESN'T EXIST. The intention was probably good, trying to show the aftermath of McCloud's mistakes after winning the original "tournament", but the premise is ruined by Planet Zeist, and Michael Ironside is just rehashing the Kurgen. He's a bit funnier in the villain role, but it doesn't save the movie from being silly
  • Ah, friends. Come sit with me as we experience the Quickening. If we both stick our hands into a puddle of orange, shiny goo, we'll be shocked, and yet, united. Then we can battle the evil Katana and save Zeist from ... from what?

    This is the effect of HIGHLANDER II.

    HIGHLANDER II: THE QUICKENING is set in the future. Well, at least, I think it is. The film begins on Earth in the year 1999. Then, it heads off to the planet Zeist 500 years before. Following that, we're back to Earth in the year 2024. I'd say the film is pretty much divided between being on Earth in 2024 and Zeist 500 years before, but I think it was meant to be on Earth in 2024.

    Now that that's cleared up ...

    Imagine, if you will, that most of what they told us in the original HIGHLANDER was crap. Immortals don't come from nowhere, they come from the planet Zeist. The entire original HIGHLANDER movie was lies! Lies! Lies!

    And if you believe that, I've got some $200,000 property for you down in sunny North Carolina.

    Connor MacLeod, the main character of the original film (played by Christopher Lambert), is old and dying. When, in 1999, the Earth's ozone layer was nearly completely gone, MacLeod created The Shield Corporation, which then created a shield which would protect the Earth from the sun's violent rays. But in 2024, the world is a dark dungheap, and MacLeod's pretty much to blame.

    Now let's go back to the planet Zeist. General Katana (Michael Ironside) is pretty pissed. MacLeod's still alive. So he sends his two retarded minions to kill MacLeod. The extremely elderly MacLeod somehow starts dancing around like Dean Martin and beheads both of them. The power of their lifeforce makes him young once again and free to kiss terrorist Louise Marcus (Virginia Madsen) and then try to take down the world's anti-Ozone shield. Oh yeah, the ozone's healed, by the way.

    So then Katana comes to Earth to kill MacLeod, who is suddenly super-cool and ready to kill Katana. But for some reason, he needs help. So the producers paid Sean Connery $3.5 million. Behold! Juan Sanchez Villa-Lobos Ramirez is resurrected from the dead and comes back (for nine minutes of screen time) to help MacLeod shut down the shield.

    If you haven't figured it out by now, HIGHLANDER II is completely messed-up.

    I haven't seen a sequel this bad in who knows how long. It contradicts the entire HIGHLANDER mythos, and thus was ignored in every other sequel and television series that followed.

    But there is a good side to the film. I think Ebert said it best in his review of the film: he describes HIGHLANDER II as being "a movie almost awesome in its badness". How awesome do you hear that? But that's exactly what HIGHLANDER II is: almost awesome in its badness.

    It may be one of the worst films ever made, and it may be the worst sequel, but it is also a very fun and frequently (unintentionally) funny film. In the words of the Immortal Ramirez, "If you can summon it all up, at one time, in one place, you can accomplish something glorious."

    Whatever that means.

    NOTE: There are two versions of the film. The theatrical version, called the Quickening, has just been reviewed here. The director's cut has been re-named the "Renegade Version" and changes much of the film's story. The film has also been completely re-edited. The Quickening version runs 89 minutes, while the Renegade version runs 109.

    HIGHLANDER II: THE QUICKENING by Russell Mulcahy. * 1/2 out of ****.
  • (I May Spoil some of the movie)Without a shout of a doubt, this is by far the worst sequel ever made for a movie. The first Highlander was a great film, it had a good story, good characters and plot that pretty much worked. Highlander II had some of the worst acting I have ever seen, really bad camera work, horrifying choreography in the fights scenes, a story that made absolutely no sense, cruddy special effects and overall, it was just a really bad movie. Though I am a fan of the first Highlander, it seemed to me that a sequel was not possible. Macleod had defeated the Kurgan and won the Prize. Now all of a sudden it's the future, and the immortals came from another world? I am fan of Michael Ironside but this was by far his worst acting job ever as he played the villain, Katana. What makes absolutely no sense to me is that in the first Highlander, the immortals didn't know why and where they came from. Now all of a sudden, Macleod remembers life on his homeworld of Zeist. The one thing that kept this movie up somewhat was Sean Connery's return. Now he died in the first Highlander, but they brought him back. And it really wasn't explained how he came back to life. This was by far the worst of the Highlander series, and the sequels later on disregarded this movie which I felt was a good idea.
  • Never in the field of human endeavour has there been an act of such instrumental, destructive, diabolical folly as this justifiably reviled, quasi-sequel to the original 1986 fantasy in which immortal warriors duelled throughout the ages until one remained. Yes, its Highlander II - a film so bad that Robert Mugabe refused to show it to white farmers on the grounds that it would be "exceptionally cruel". Needing to grasp on to a strand of optimism, perhaps only the thickness of a human hair, I long ago decided that the film existed purely as a textbook demonstration for future filmmakers on how not to make a successful sequel to a hit movie. This theory alone explains the cynicism on screen and the ham-fisted, slapdash, car-crash handling of the material. Don't misunderstand; I'm not saying this thing is poor - poor would be generous praise for a Frankenstein fantasy in which all the invention, both visual and conceptual, inherent in the first film's appeal is frittered to nothing. In fact, the totality of the words already used are only the merest fraction of those required to accurately portray the near total devastation that washed over me as I sat through it (I'm ashamed to say not for the only time) on a stormy night 14 years ago. Russell Mulchay deserves to be poisoned and broad beaten with a tent pole in the male ruminations for his decision to helm the whole sorry affair and grind his original good work to dust. It hardly needs saying but the problem for anyone scripting a Highlander II is that Highlander I concluded business comprehensively with no outlet for a second episode. To get around this the makers of The Quickening simply decided to ditch the back-story of the original film and invent a new one which would enable them to write around the fact that all the immortals, bar M.Lambert were, not unlike themselves, dead from the neck up. So although McCloud was originally born in Scotland and Ramierez in er, Egypt, now they were aliens from a planet called Zeist; handy, because this new ancestry meant that all that was needed to reengergise the concept was that another visitor showed up on Earth and the games can begin again. To fully appreciate how awful an idea this is you need only imagine a Star Wars sequel in which the action is suddenly set in present day Earth for reasons of plot convenience or a second instalment of Titanic in which it's revealed that Jack and Rose are actually time-travellers and are thus able to prevent the disaster and save all their friends. Thus Highlander II is effectively the one line joke in the Player in which the writer of the Graduate pitches the terrible sequel writ large and for real. We can only imagine that the owners of the original film were desperate for more because nothing but desperation could possibly explain how this made it to the screen. If blame were slurry and required apportioning by EU agricultural directive then you'd need roughly 6 tankers worth, each containing somewhere in the region of 40,000 tonnes. The shame of Sean Connery and Christopher Lambert is palpable and everyone who felt any enjoyment during this picture is consciously and deliberately complicit in its evil work. As a purely commercial enterprise with no respect or consideration for the 1st film or its fans, we can only hope that all involved lost millions and that having lost their deposit they were forced to sell themselves into sexual slavery. Highlander III, not exactly itself a great sequel, ignored this one completely as ironically it left no outlet for a third episode but it too was a cynical cash-in and could only continue the first film by ignoring its ending whereas the forth in the series simply didn't bother with the first film at all, opting instead to go with the spin-off T.V series. That's the way the rot spread but here's where it started - now please Hollywood...never again.
  • I have cried in a total of 3 films in my life... Number 1, Bambi, when his mum dies.... Number 2, City Slickers, when Norman the Calf gets dragged down river and nearly dies... and finally, Number 3, Highlander II, as it soooo bad! Remember Highlander? The Locations, The Soundtrack, The Kurgan, The Plot...

    Now, take it all away and replace it with...

    Awful red sky effect throughout the film, Couple of old Queen songs from the 1st film, Michael Ironside doing a bad Kurgan impression and a "plot" that doesn't have any relevance to the original plot...

    That is Highlander II.
  • ...if you watch the Renegade Version on DVD. It includes nineteen minutes of additional footage, and does not once mention the planet Zeist. This version makes a lot more sense and follows the plot of the first Highlander film a lot more closely. If you're going to get this movie, get the Renegade Version.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Worst sequel ever, bar none. If you are a fan of the original Highlander (a great movie in my opinion), and for some reason haven't seen this yet, for pity's sake, don't! It will contaminate all the good memories you have from the first film. *SPOILER ALERT* (As if this piece of muck could be spoiled) This movie tells us the immortals from the first movie, steeped in mysticism and ritual, are actually...aliens. Yep. You heard me. For some reason these exiled aliens become immortals when on Earth (sounds like a pretty good exchange to me - exile for immortality). Sounds stupid? It is. No real reason is given for this ridiculous twist. Oh, and Sean Connery's character from the first movie (Juan Ramírez) manages to come back to life for a little while, to help Conner MacLeod. How? Magic...but didn't they just tell us these guys were aliens and not the mystical warriors we were led to believe in the first movie? Maybe they're magic aliens - that must be it. I actually saw this farce at the cinema, much to my chagrin. Have I mentioned that I am a big fan of the original Highlander movie? If any film ever made me wish we had the technology to selectively delete portions of our memories, this is the one. Avoid at all costs.
  • Highlander Connor MacLeod must reveal the truth about the Earth's anti-ozone shield while fighting some immortals sent from the past.

    It lacks the danger and finesse of the original, but thankfully the new Highlander 2 edit with updated effects makes this troubled and poorly executed sequel at least watchable, compared to the original theatrical release.

    Michael Ironside and supporting cast give distracting, larger than life theatrical performances. Sean Connery lights up the screen, and Christopher Lambert is notable especially in the aged make-up. Virginia Madsen comes off in the best light, although she is not given enough to do, going from strong feisty conservationist to love interest in a blink of an eye. Nevertheless, the script is poor and the editing is still choppy. The film has a serious pacing issue which no amount of re-jigging can correct.

    It has some redeeming qualities, the sets and score are excellent and director Russell Mulcahy gives some fantastic sweeping shots. The new cut now makes sense; for example why MacLeod becomes immortal again, hinting that he has forgotten a past, prior the setting of the first film, and gone is the idea that Ramírez and Connor come from another planet.

    If you must watch Highlander 2, avoid the 'The Quickening' version at all cost and watch the 2010 blu-ray release. Although it's far from a kind of magic.
  • COnceptually Highlander 2 the quickening is an awesome film. THe theatrical cut was a massacre that the famous Ed Wood would find hard to top....

    The two subsequent releases of the film are both improvements but they cut the planet Zeist stuff and a lot of other good footage too, so while now a good film with loads of cool stuff from fights, humour, production design etc it still remains a great film straining at the seams to get out.

    Try and track down a fan cut which includes more Zeist, more explanations and fairytale ending for the best continuation of Highlander 1 there is going.
  • The only thing I've got to say is I don't understand why everyone ditched this movie. It was the worst of the Highlander movies maybe, but it still was cool. The only thing I didn't like was this movie taking place in the future and then making another sequel and the setting just like the first one. Sean Connery was in this one again, I just wish he could stay alive. He and Christopher Lambert make a pretty good team. Michael Ironside as Katana wasn't as freaky as Kurgan or Kane, but he was cool. I'd like to tell all those who ditched this movie that this movie is cool. You need to watch it again and again.
  • Do yourself a favor, and don't even bother seeing the original release.

    GET THE DIRECTOR'S CUT! It rids itself of the alien rubbish, adds a few sequences that bring some coherence and generally makes the movie less painful for true Highlander fans.

    From what I understand, the movie was never made the way the director and stars envisioned it (due to Corporate involvement), so they went back and reshot some sequences and did some serious editing. When they were done, it fit much better into the Highlander universe, and compromised the story line much less (although there are still some holes).

    So, if you get a chance, SEE THE DIRECTOR'S CUT! Otherwise, don't bother...
  • Antagonisten16 January 2005
    This has to be one of the worst sequels ever made. Not that "Highlander" was a great movie to begin with. But still, destroying a concept so completely is almost enviable.

    It's the year 2025. The whole earth is covered by a shield that stands in for the ozone-layer that has been destroyed. Connor McLeod has killed all the other immortals and is slowly dying of old age. But something happens and immortals are suddenly starting to show up again and Connor must fight once again.

    I don't want to know which drugs the script-writers were using when coming up with the plot for this movie. How DO you start with a movie about immortal warriors on the Scottish highland, and end up with aliens fighting each other under a red sky in 2025?! Do we even want to know? It has to go down into movie history as one of the worst ideas ever. Taking something that was almost a solid story and destroying it completely by introducing weird elements like aliens and shields in the sky.

    So, apart from that? Well, even if we do overlook that major flaw this is still complete garbage. What did they pay Sean Connery to appear in this? Either he was well paid or the man doesn't take any pride at all in his work. The action scenes are pathetic, the effects are awful. Christopher Lamberts wheezing voice makes the VIEWERS want to slice his head off.

    I consider myself quite the connoisseur of b-movies. I can actually enjoy movies purely because they stink. But this is just so bad that it's not even funny. I rate this 1/10.
  • I've heard alot of bad things about this, but being a fan of the Highlander film and TV series, I had to check this out. That was a mistake. This movie has almost nothing to do with the first movie, and even by itself sits on laughable premises. The writing is terrible, the characters are one-dimensional (at best), the effects look like they were done out of someone's garage. Hey, let's summon back dead characters for no apparent reason. Hey! Let's pretend everyone's from another planet! You know what? Let's through in a conspiracy for the hell of it! This movie seems like it didn't leave the script-writing process until they finished shooting, and then they skipped editing. I shudder to think the horrors I would have witnessed had I not been watching the directors cut.
  • *** (4*'s) We all know the story. Here is a review.

    THE QUICKENING: Best scene in this cut is the opening. The rest of the this film transitions very poorly. Some dialogue is silenced, but we still see their lips moving. The movie is entertaining, still, but doesn't make much sense. Connery's scenes are misplaced, he is almost forgotten, at times. Katana kills David Blake just moments after meeting him in this one. The ending is the most incompetant for the most part. Connor is wearing a prison jacket, then suddenly switches to a trench coat, holding a broad sword after just having a samurai sword. The closing scene is bad also.

    RENEGADE VERSION: An excellent, totally revamped sci-fi cut of this often misconcepted sequel. This time, they are not aliens from Zeist. They are from the past, more like a different dimension. Character development is re-attached, plot holes are filled in, and we get a chance to see a blue sky at one point.

    Overall opinions: Lambert's acting is at it's best. He seems to be really into his character in this movie. Ironside is a great villain. He chews the scenery, hams it up with comic book dialogue, and demonstrates some memorable killings (the subway holocaust, and the cabbie killing). Watch both versions, you'll find them interesting in comparison.
  • This film is not often given it due. The insurence company took over the production and the director lost control of it. Many viewers of the quickining version hold a grudge and have refused to see it. I have seen both versions. However I saw the Renegade first and thought that it explained the Immortality issue better than the first. It was a beautiful film visually and a good plot.
  • Close your eyes. Think. Think very hard. Let yourself slip into a deep trance. A deep, somber, almost hypnotic trance. Think of films that you have seen. Ask yourself, "What's the best film ever?" What's the answer? There can be only one.
  • If you saw the theater release of this movie you should see the Directors Cut Special Edition of this one. It is even better than the first release. I have added it to my video library. If you have not seen this movie please do.It is a good action story with Sean Connery great as always.
  • I saw this film seven times in the theater and I wish I had payed to see it again and again. Not only was the directing the best yet but the acting left me speechless. I was so amazed at how Chris Lambert can act better than anyone who has ever acted before and Sean Connery's ten minute scene seemed like a lifetime of great acting. This was the film of his career although he came close to acting better than this in The Avengers. This movie was so good it made the original look terrible. I own both the original video of this and the revised version. This film is so stimulating it even makes me cry. Anyone who says it is bad or even lower than pure exellence must be retarted or something.
  • dan-su29 February 2004
    i saw the premiere of this film in edinburgh at the odeon. the theatre was packed and having really enjoyed the first movie, like i guess most of the audience we were all really excited to be seeing the sequel. you can imagine our dissapointment. lots of ppl, including us , left 20 mins before the end, quite a few patrons were quite angry at how ineptly bad it was. having recently seen it again on cable it is still utterly woeful. i would rather go and clean the toilet than sit thru it again. on second thoughts i'd rather come and clean your toilet and i don't like clieaning toilets and don't know you. get the idea???
  • Bored_Dragon6 November 2018
    Let's start with a quote that perfectly sums up the coherence of the plot: "Ok, let me just see if I can get this straight. You were mortal there, but you're immortal here until you kill all the guys from there who have come here and then you're mortal here. Unless you go back there or some more guys from there come here, in which case you become immortal here again."

    When this film came out, it was awesome to me. I was eleven back then and it bought me with a dark atmosphere, strong cast, very good effects for its time, fast pace, entertaining action, and sexy Virginia Madsen. Now, I still liked all of that, and in addition, I enjoyed several examples of great camera and directing, as well as the very good soundtrack, but this time all of that was not enough to cover for one of the worst screenplays in the history of cinema.

    "Highlander II: The Quickening" retains the actors and characters from the first film, while completely ignoring the original story. Not only that it is neither sequel nor a prequel, but the stories of these two films are mutually so contradictory that it is impossible to fit them in any way. Even if we completely ignore the previous film, this one is for itself full of holes and illogicality, and it is incredibly stupid. When it comes to story, in this movie every spot is a weak spot. Immortal's mythology doesn't work, quasi-science also doesn't work, and even romance, which is completely redundant, also doesn't work. I mean, they meet for the very first time and minutes after initial introduction they are attacked. He hides her into a garbage can, fights the attackers and kills them. Then she leaves the container and has sex with him against the wall in the middle of the street. Yea, right, very believable. How much this scenario stinks is best illustrated by Michael Ironside statement:

    "Yeah, listen, I hated that script. We all did. Me, Sean, Chris... we all were in it for the money on this one. I mean, it read as if it had been written by a thirteen-year-old boy. But I'd never played a barbarian swordsman before, and this was my first big evil mastermind type. I figured if I was going to do this stupid movie, I might as well have fun, and go as far over the top as I possibly could. All that eye-rolling and foaming at the mouth was me deciding that if I was going to be in a piece of crap, like that movie, I was going to be the most memorable thing in it. And I think I succeeded."

    For the nine days of work, Sean Connery received three and a half million dollars and donated the whole amount to charity. I suppose he was just trying to wash away the shame. However, apart from the story, everything else in this movie I liked pretty much, so I can not completely bury it with the rating. Audio-visually I would give it a strong seven, and maybe three for the story.

    5/10
  • I know what your thinking why am I giving this movie a positive review? Well the reason is I actually enjoyed Highlander 2: The Quickening. The movie for me was so silly and bad that the film itself really didn't turn out that bad for me. Most of the reason why I like this movie is because Cristopher Lambert, Sean Connery , and Michael Ironside( all actors I adore) starred in this movie. If they hadn't then this movie would be complete garbage.I won't go into to the story because it gets really hard to describe and it just sounds plain dumb but thats what I like about this movie. The fact that this movie COMPLETELY contradicts the first film and the ridiculously dumb storyline makes this movie worth a view. From beginning to end(especially if you've seen the first movie) you'll be able to spot so many mistakes and goofs that this movie will make you roll on the floor laughing. The dialog is a cheesy camp-fest and the plot is all over the place. Probably the biggest contradiction to the first film in this movie is that Connor and Ramirez are from another planet called Zeist in Highlander 2. If you've seen the first movie you'll remember that Ramirez clearly states that he has no idea why him and Conner are immortal!!! There is so many things I could have said about this movie but to sum this up Highlander 2: The Quickening is a laughable sequel that's very entertaining if you don't take it too seriously. This is the last good Highlander film.
  • Okay, before i begin, let me just say that i am a Huge Highlander Fan, tv series, Movies, (even parts of the animated) But i will not say this movie is terrible. when i first saw it, i hated it. i thought it was stupid, horrific and moronicd. later on i purchased the renegade version, watched it and enjoyed it. If you havn't seen the original Highlaner or the original Cut of this one, wait until you do before watching this. Lets put this in it's place. Star Treck had a pretty good film series,(with the exception of the first one) But when Voyage Home came out, alot of fans hated it, they thought it was stupid and... Awful. okay, lets watch that one again, many see it as a campy fun ride in the star trek universe(it happens to be one of my favorites). well thats what H2 is. it is a campy, corny, funny movie. look and laugh. Besides, the scene with ramerez in the tailors is hilarious.

    Ohh, another thing, there are four distinct highlander universes. these are the Universes ' H1,H2

    H1, H3

    H1,H4, Tv, Raven

    Animated

    (not sure were THE SOURCE is yet, cause its still in production)

    Those movies all make sense in their own alternate universe, the Panzer/davis aren't so stupid that they give him the prize constantly, it works fine. plus, this theory works perfectly, in the third movie, They say that Connors wife died in a car accident, tottaly cancelling out the radiation sickness story from H2. so watch it, it's not the Black sheep of the series, (endgame was..POOR CONNOR I WANT CONNOR HE IS THE ONE!!!!) sorry bout that. It's the Funny one, the one to make you laugh, and if you don't like it, fine, it has a big rewatch value just for the laughs
  • Sure the original theatrical version was bad but that was not due to the makers, it was due to a financial company that backed the production. Here (in the directors cut) is the way that it was supposed to be made. It has great action, great production value plus the return of Sean Connery. It gives some explanation as to how the competition began and it shows how Connor used the "prize" from the first film. It's a lot better than any of the Highlander films and series that followed. If this had been the version that was originally released on the theatre's in 1991, then the series would still have been alive today.
  • It is so weird to read people's stories here. I couldn't believe what I was reading, when I saw this movie as a kid I loved it, and when I watch it today I think it's awesome.

    So... I did some research.

    It turns out that most people have watched Highlander II: The Quickening, which is supposedly a real piece of dodo. The Renegade Version, however, well... it rocks! I love the settings, the opera music in the beginning, the cool sci-fi storyline, everything has the raw 80's look and it's wonderful.

    This is not a slow movie, and there are a lot of things to appreciate. It has two great actors in the lead and a great supporting cast. What more could you ask for?

    Check it out, it is really good.
  • In 1999, I was graduating college in Richmond, Virginia and had a yard sale to get rid of excess junk. I had quite a collection of movies on VHS that I hoped to get rid of because DVD was just coming into its own. I had a copy of "Highlander II Renegade Version" that I bought in th 4.99 clearance bin at Wal-Mart because I had seen "Highlander II: The Quickening" and wondering if there was any way possible in improve on one of the worst films I had ever seen.

    Well, renegade version started out priced 2.00 in the morning. By lunchtime, it was down to a buck. As the afternoon wore on, the price went down... 75 cents, 50 cents, 25 cents. Finally, I had sold most of my films and decided to give it away for free. As the sun began to set and I cleaned up, this film was still there. It seems you cannot even give it away for free!

    Anyway, if you're a glutton for punishment, this is the film for you. It has "low budget" written all over it, and I, for one, cannot possible fathom how Sean Connery agreed to be in it.

    "This movie is awesome and fearless in its badness" Roger Ebert writes, and for once, I agree with him. It is pretty bad. It creates massive continuity errors with the first Highlander by having all the immortals come from the planet Zeist (!?!). Second, as a plot device, the sky is covered with some kind of orange/red crud to protect the earth, which has lost the ozone layer. Wouldn't everything on Earth die without any kind of sunlight anyway, since the sun is the source of energy for all the forms of life at the bottom of the food chain?

    The renegade version is even more unwatchable than this version! You might ask yourself, how is that possible considering that Highlander II is one of the worst films ever made. Well, somehow they found a way. Now if they could only put all that energy into cancer research, cancer would be wiped out!

    I could go on and on just how and why this movie is so stupid, but what would be the point? Chances are, if you're reading this review, you're some kind of Highlander-head anyway. More power to you, and there can only be one! (fake laughter)
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