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‘Highlander 2: The Quickening’

By Rita Kempley
Washington Post Staff Writer
November 04, 1991


Russell Mulcahy
Christopher Lambert;
Virginia Madsen;
Michael Ironside;
Sean Connery;
John C. McGinley

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Director Russell Mulcahy once quit "Rambo III" for artistic reasons, so he must have some standards. But just how they differ from Rambo's is not clear in his brutish adventure "Highlander 2: The Quickening." A gratuitously violent sequel to the 1986 original, it features a cast of swashbucklers with a Jacobin compulsion for lopping off heads.

French meat pie Christopher Lambert comes out of mothballs to play strapping Connor MacLeod, an alien immortal who has called Earth home for the past five centuries. It's 2024 -- 25 years since the ozone layer vanished and The Shield was installed to deflect the rays of the sun -- and for reasons known only to the screenwriters, MacLeod is now a liver-spotted 75-year-old.

Meanwhile on his home planet Ziest, an old archenemy, Gen. Katana (Michael Ironside), sends two henchman to stop MacLeod from ... whatever. Miraculously rejuvenated by decapitating his two foes, MacLeod is now able to romance his love interest (Virginia Madsen), a spunky terrorist who claims The Shield is no longer needed. Then Gen. Katana himself shows up to collect the hero's head, which wakens MacLeod's late tutor (Sean Connery) from the dead.

Mulcahy and company don't ask us to suspend disbelief; they ask us to pretend we've all had weed-whacker lobotomies. Of course, the plot is of no more relevance to the movie than Lambert's histrionic impairments. With its fancifully moldering sets and technical effects, "Highlander 2" is little more than a barbarous arena, a Conanistic return to paganism for those among us who still laugh at violence.

"Highlander 2: The Quickening" is rated R for violence.

© Copyright 1999 The Washington Post Company

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