Highlander: Endgame

It is the futuristic year of 2000. In the real world, HIGHLANDER II‘s prediction of solar radiation creating the necessity for an electromagnetic shield over the earth has not come to pass. Instead we got President George W. Bush and Ron Howard’s upcoming HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS!.

From the dawn of 1986 they came…moving stylishly down through the decades. Movies, TV shows, cartoons, struggling to reach the time of the reviewing, when Vern will write about the franchise

It has been six years since HIGHLANDER III, which did not make back its production costs at the box office. But in that time the mythology of the Immortals has taken on a new life on television, with Connor MacLeod’s younger friend Duncan MacLeod (Adrian Paul) entertaining fans through 117 episodes (not including the two he wasn’t in). Though the show ended in 1998 and its spin-off The Raven in 1999, they have clearly left behind a fan base that takes this shit seriously. From 1994-2000 there was an annual convention called “The Gathering” in Denver, Colorado, with Paul and other stars as guests of honor. From 1997-1999 there were three “Highlander Clan Cruises.” 1997 gave Australia the first of eight “Highlander Down Under” conventions. And the list goes on. Clearly this is a group of loyal fans waiting to be exploited. I mean catered to.

And so here on the cusp of the millennium we find the immortal movie series resurfacing in the Weinstein-Brothers-cheapass-franchise-exploitation era.

HIGHLANDER: ENDGAME was one of the many genre sequels released by Dimension Films in the year 2000, alongside FROM DUSK TILL DAWN 3: THE HANGMAN’S DAUGHTER, SCREAM 3, THE PROPHECY 3: THE ASCENT, THE CROW: SALVATION and HELLRAISER: INFERNO. In the next few years they’d bring us MIMIC 2 and 3, CHILDREN OF THE CORN: REVELATION, HALLOWEEN: RESURRECTION, HELLRAISER: HELLSEEKER and DRACULA II: ASCENSION. It was their business.

ENDGAME is, in my opinion, better than much of that crap. With its shitty ’90s credits, subpar digital FX, sometimes TV-ish lighting, gloomy keyboard score, flashbacks to things that just happened in this very movie, and overall filmed-in-Romania feel, I assumed at first that it would be a chore to get through. But once I got used to its blasphemous abdication of Mulcahy’s religious allegiance to style (or at least its crappiness compared to Mulcahy’s films), I was able to get on its wavelength and enjoy the mythology and what not.

The opening kinda explains the main appeal here: Christopher Lambert and Adrian Paul, as Connor and Duncan MacLeod, emerging from a subway station together. Just hanging out, the only time in a movie, only time since the pilot of the TV series.

I assume this one only follows the series continuity, and it specifically disavows knowledge of II when Connor says in the opening text/narration that “WE ARE THE SEEDS OF LEGEND. BUT OUR TRUE ORIGINS ARE UNKNOWN. WE SIMPLY ARE.”

Connor called Duncan to come from Paris to New York. He’s clearly worried about something, but won’t say what. They split up and Connor gets back to his part 1 antique store/loft just in time to see it get blown up with poor, sweet Rachel (a returning Sheila Gish) inside. You remember Rachel – one of the great bits of mythology from the first film, the woman who works for him and looks older than him, but in fact was an orphan he rescued during World War II and raised as a daughter. If you forgot, don’t worry, for some reason home movies are showing on a TV to explain that. They both look older.

In some early-2000s-DTV-Steven-Seagal-style awkward storytelling we jump from the explosion to ten years later (does that mean we’re in 2010 now?), when Connor is locked up in a stone-and-torches type place called The Sanctuary. I assumed he’d been kidnapped, but later it indicates that he went there voluntarily right after the explosion, without so much as meeting Duncan at the bar at 8:00 as promised. Connor MacLeod is many things, but a good host to out-of-town guests is not one of them.

Anyway this Sanctuary is a cool concept. The Watchers – apparently an ancient order established in Highlander: The Series – are keeping a bunch of Immortals strapped to metal machines, fed by I.V.s, in some sort of stasis so they can protect their necks and The Game will never end, thus ensuring that your Kurgans, your General Katanas, your Kanes or your Kells will never collect The Prize.

That last one would be Jacob Kell (Bruce Payne, PASSENGER 57, FULL ECLIPSE, ONE TOUGH BASTARD), who we learn from flashbacks used to be Connor’s friend but betrayed him by burning his mother (June Watson, THE DEATH OF STALIN) as a witch. Trying to save her, Connor stabbed several prison guards, Kell, and Kell’s adopted pops, Father Rainey (Donald Douglas, BRIDGET JONES’S DIARY). Now Connor has learned that Kell is also an Immortal and has gathered some of the others to come after him. As usual, we’re told that if it can only be one and the one turns out to be this particular asshole then the world is totally doomed.

A goofy thing you gotta forgive in this one: lots of new flashbacks to centuries ago, but with Connor 14 years older than he once looked in those eras, not to mention the 1980s.

The second (and possibly best) action scene is when Kell’s team of immortal biker weirdos with spiked helmets show up at the Sanctuary and battle their security – guys with machine guns and jackets with hoods like monk robes – to get in. And the gas tank of one of these bikers gets shot and explodes, so he dismounts with a flying double kick and goes right into a short but beautiful fight of pure Hong Kong style and speed.

This character is named Jin Ke, and he’s able to make such an entrance because he’s played by MOTHERFUCKIN DONNIE YEN!

Jin Ke is based on a real historical figure, Jing Ke, famed for his 227 BC assassination attempt on King Zheng, who later became the first emperor of China. In that sense, HIGHLANDER: ENDGAME is a companion piece to Chen Kaige’s THE EMPEROR AND THE ASSASSIN (1998) and Zhang Yimou’s HERO (2002), the latter of which Yen was in but, unfortunately for my fan fiction editing project, plays a different character.

Yen is credited as ENDGAME’s martial arts choreographer, and I don’t know if that only means his scenes, but it definitely means this one. You know, it’s one of those scenes where even the way he takes off his helmet seems to be a martial arts movement, and then he throws it in the air and does a flying kick and hits a guy in the head with it.

I probly don’t have to say that I don’t consider ENDGAME to be half as good as Yen’s next movie BLADE II, where he filled a similar role as choreographer/supporting player. But I do think it’s a better showcase of his skills.

Anyway they get in with their mysterious hooded boss (Kell), who is always introduced with a closeup of his platform shoes with crucifixes on them like he’s some kind of goth.

He says he’s looking for Connor MacLeod, and proceeds to massacre the defenseless shackled Immortals of the Sanctuary.

Damn. Gone too soon. R.I.P. Connor MacLeod.

So the story shifts to Duncan, who in his flashbacks seems to have hung out with Connor all the damn time. It’s weird how little this has been mentioned before. He goes to look at the wreckage of Connor’s home, and I’m assuming they couldn’t have had the original location or set or whatever, so it’s impressive how convincingly they re-create both the loft and the vault.

While he’s there, Duncan is attacked by someone named Faith (Lisa Barbuscia, ALMOST HEROES), who was formerly named Kate when she was Duncan’s wife hundreds of years ago. Then the motorcycle guys show up again. Including the best one.

When Duncan sees Jin Ke he gives him some of the respect one ought to give Donnie Yen, saying, “Some say you are a man of honor.” When Jin Ke later says “Honor is not in the weapon, it’s the man,” Duncan honorably puts down his sword so they can kung fu each other. It’s good shit, but the best part of this scene is not the fighting, it’s the moment after Kell shows up and interrupts. As he’s making an evil speech one of the bikers, Carlos (Roc-A-Fella Records co-founder Dame Dash, PAID IN FULL), just straight up shoots Duncan six times! Duncan falls out a window, screaming, and gets impaled. And then Carlos says:

Not even sword guy. Swords guy. I love it. While Kell is busy threatening Carlos for what he did, a van of Watchers pulls up, chainsaws the rebar that Duncan is impaled on, and takes off with him. Which would be awfully kind of them if they weren’t planning to Sanctuary him against his will.

(What happens to Carlos involves a laughable visual effect that reminded me of THE SPIRIT. But I don’t know. It’s kind of adorable.)

Luckily some characters from the TV show, the Watcher Joe Dawson (Jim Byrnes, HARMONY CATS) and the Immortal Methos (Peter Wingfield, CATWOMAN), rescue Duncan. When he doesn’t know the answer to the question “How many Quickenings have you had? How many heads have you taken?” they show him the official Watcher files on a laptop. According to their database, Connor has 262 confirmed Immortal kills, Duncan has 174, Kell has 661. They act like the higher number is automatically the most powerful, but I believe this is bad science. Since Immortals absorb the power of their vanquished opponents, that means that when Connor killed the Kurgan he was also absorbing the power the Kurgan got from killing Ramirez, Sunda Kastagir and whoever else he’d killed, and whoever any of them had killed. So the numbers don’t tell us much at all if Connor has killed all the most prolific killers while Kell has only killed a bunch of chump newbies. It’s anybody’s guess.

Duncan thinks “something doesn’t make sense” and insists on seeing Connor’s body, and he goes to a cemetery for some good old fashioned graverobbing, but luckily Connor just steps out and reveals himself still alive. Viva Connor MacLeod! (The Sanctuary scene led us to believe he was killed, but now it seems Kell let him go so he could toy with him or something.)

Connor is broody and pessimistic in this one. I like that when Duncan finds out about him killing the priest all those years ago he tries to be there for him. “Connor, with time anything can be forgiven, you taught me that.” And then we learn that the reason Duncan had to be taught that, and the reason that Faith hates him so much, is that he did something a long time ago that was real hard to forgive. This also explains something about the rules of immortality that, if it previously existed in the movies, I never picked up on. It turns out that you can be born an Immortal but just grow old and die like anybody else. The immortality has to be triggered by a violent “death.” And Kate was a potential Immortal so after their wedding Duncan, you know, stabbed her. Without consent. Without explaining that he was Immortal and she could be too. That’s why she hates him. She still feels like she should’ve had some say in that.

(This actually seems like a reworking of the way Highlander: The Raven ended. In the final episode, “Dead On Arrival,” male lead Nick Wolfe was about to die from poison, so Amanda shot him to trigger the immortality she secretly knew he had. He didn’t appreciate it, chewed her out and walked away.)

There’s a very dramatic turn in this one that I didn’t really see coming. Duncan goes to a rooftop thinking Kell is there, but it turns out the Immortal he senses is Connor, who’s acting kind of crazy and pulls his sword on him. Connor explains his theory that Kell is too powerful for either of them to defeat alone, and they can’t fight him together because the rules of The Game only allow one Immortal to challenge another, therefore one of them has to kill the other in order to be powerful enough to beat Kell.

Sound logic, but you’re thinking I don’t know, this is Connor MacLeod, do I really believe he would kill his friend to gain power? We’re talking about a guy so honorable that earlier in this very movie he chose not to save the world by killing Kell just because doing so in a graveyard has always been considered an illegal move. But quickly you realize that oh shit, no, he’s trying to get his friend to kill him to become more powerful. Suicide by Immortal.

Paul is quite good in the scene, trying to refuse Connor while sword fighting, literally begging him not to make him do it, ultimately being egged into it. It’s much more sad than cool. But it’s kind of cool. Connor smiles before dying from a move he personally taught Duncan. And we see him zooming through hundreds of years of good memories (from this movie only).

So it’s sad, but it’s a heroic death for our boy and he doesn’t have to give up his Quickening to some asshole. My one issue is, what happened to being an old man in 2024 who has to blow up The Shield? It’s confusing enough that this movie was made in 2000, one year after The Shield was built, yet there is daytime. Are you telling me there’s no Planet Zeist, no forgotten past, and no 2024? I don’t suppose Connor ever did Ramirez’s Zeistian ritual to connect himself to Duncan and give himself the ability to come back from death if his name is called?

Ah, shit. R.I.P. Connor MacLeod again. For real this time.

When Duncan finally duels Kell it’s in one of those abandoned factory/warehouse type places that many movie characters choose to have fights in, but there’s extra atmosphere when they find themselves in a foggy room with chains hanging everywhere. I wondered if this was a set also used for a HELLRAISER.

Anyway I approve because it follows the Mulcahy rule that it’s more important to look cool than to make sense. Also there’s a gimmick that Duncan knows how to push buttons to make certain chains rise up to pull a sword or person away.

ENDGAME uses the standard, somewhat acceptable sequel move of making up new shit that you didn’t know could happen before to jazz up the climax. So right before Duncan defeats Kell (SPOILER), Connor speaks through him and Duncan’s face even morphs into Connor’s for half a second. Kell’s death is kind of sudden but also enjoyable because he gets a pretty funny dummy-falling-off-a-ledge-and-whacking-against-things plummet into a vat of boiling liquid. Unfortunately when Duncan gets his Quickening there are some FX shots that look much more ridiculous than even what they did on the TV pilot.

I mean, they must’ve been up real late the night before the deadline when they okayed those shots. And I wonder if it was even worse on the big screen? On the commentary track the producers talk about finishing some FX for video and removing some that looked bad.

There’s plenty of goofy shit in this movie. One that made me laugh is that there are two different parts in the movie where they indicate that a main character has been killed by Kell in a massacre, and they’re out of the movie for a while, but later show up and explain that for some reason he chose not to kill them. So in my opinion, even though they didn’t show it, Donnie Yen’s character Jin Ke was not actually killed. We don’t believe he just sat there, do we?

(NOTE: I have been told that in some version he cuts his own head off to prevent Kell from getting his Quickening. In the one I watched he’s just implied to have died off screen.)

Another one that made me laugh is kind of ridiculous to even bring up, but I suppose I’m a ridiculous person. At the very beginning of the movie Duncan orders ketchup on his hot dog, then as he walks away complains about the volume of ketchup.

Someone who has lived for so long and in so many places is certainly allowed to have his preference, but I tend to agree with Dirty Harry on this issue:

So I thought it was funny that the producers discuss this on the commentary track. They note that somebody in New York wouldn’t order that, claiming it was Paul’s personal hot dog preference.

There are some nice nods to the first film. There’s a second unit driving shot where you see the Silvercup building from a distance (on the commentary I think they say this is one of three shots reused from the first movie). In addition to Gish returning as Rachel, Beatie Edney is in a bunch of the flashbacks as Connor’s second wife Heather MacLeod. Which reminds me, Duncan has Connor buried with Heather. I get it, but I still feel for Brenda, his wife who he settled down with after temporarily winning The Prize, who died either from sun radiation (according to II) or a car accident (according to III).

Having overseen the Highlander motion picture and television empire for a decade and a half, Panzer-Davis Productions did not enjoy the controlling and arbitrary methods of Miramax. The Weinsteins, of course, made them shorten the movie, just as they’d done and would continue to do with master filmmakers from all around the world. Luckily, they were allowed to put 14 minutes back in for the DVD’s “-EXCLUSIVE NEW CUT-” with “More Action, More Steamy Scenes, All-New Ending!”

In other ways the instincts of the two producer factions seem to have overlapped. I assumed they’d cast Yen based on an awareness of his work in Hong Kong. Nope – they just wanted a hot martial arts guy, and called around to the relevant magazines to ask who that was. They also wanted a wrestler, any wrestler, so Connor and Duncan beat up WWE’s “Edge” (Adam Copeland) in a flashback.

Rookie director Doug Aarniokoski is the first HIGHLANDER movie director not to come from the music video world. Instead he’d worked his way up as an assistant director for Full Moon (DOCTOR MORDRID, TRANCERS III, PREHYSTERIA!, REMOTE, DOLLMAN VS. DEMONIC TOYS, PET SHOP) and then Miramax via Robert Rodriguez (FOUR ROOMS, FROM DUSK TILL DAWN, THE CROW: CITY OF ANGELS, THE FACULTY), as well as being second unit director and co-writer of PUPPET MASTER 4 and 5. He has since directed the 2008 John Skipp & Craig Spector scripted ANIMALS under a pseudonym, and he wrote and directed that Paz de la Huerta movie NURSE 3D (2013), but like so many working directors he’s moved mostly to television (Criminal Minds, Sleepy Hollow, Arrow, The Flash, Limitless, Star Trek: Discovery).

ENDGAME’s story is credited to Eric Bernt (SURVIVING THE GAME, VIRTUOSITY, ROMEO MUST DIE), Gillian Horvath (Associate Creative Consultant from Highlander: The Series who also oversaw the show’s tie-in novels) and producer William N. Panzer. Screenwriter Joel Soisson was another guy who made his bones in low budget genre fare – he was 2nd unit director and line producer of A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 2, producer of MANIAC COP 3 and THE PROPHECY, etc. Since ENDGAME he’s been a prolific contributor to the world of DTV and DTV sequels as writer of HOLLOW MAN 2, writer/producer of the DRACULA 2000 trilogy, and writer/director of THE PROPHECY: UPRISING, THE PROPHECY: FORSAKEN, PULSE 2 & 3 and CHILDREN OF THE CORN: GENESIS.

I’m not surprised to read that, like THE FINAL DIMENSION, ENDGAME didn’t even make back its production budget in theaters. Even more predictable: critics at the time hated it, something I don’t think would’ve been changed by seeing the presumably more coherent longer version. Honestly, its 11% on Rotten Tomatoes is high for the series – FINAL DIMENSION is at 5%, THE QUICKENING at 0%! – but most of the circa-2000 reviews I’ve been able to find still online make a big show of looking down on the series, the mythology, and movie violence in general. I couldn’t find any that mention Donnie Yen by name. A no-longer by-lined review from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution was typically dismissive of the action:

“But it quickly goes astray with fight scenes laden with too many bullets, too many explosions, too many sparks, lightning bolts and weird lights–and too many impalings. The martial-arts choreography is rendered unimpressive by the fact camera tricks were obviously used to speed up the action.”

Those dreaded “camera tricks.” So not everybody was into the Hong Kong shit.

Surprisingly, Kevin Thomas of the L.A. Times does offer that it “looks sensational.” Which I was thinking I disagreed with because I keep remembering that CD-ROM looking Quickening at the end, but as you can see in the other screen grabs most of it looks pretty nice. Cinematographer Douglas Milsome was actually a camera operator on HIGHLANDER. He’s one of the few guys who worked extensively with both Stanley Kubrick (as a focus puller or “lighting cameraman” on A CLOCKWORK ORANGE, BARRY LYNDON and FULL METAL JACKET) and Jean-Claude Van Damme (as cinematographer of LEGIONNAIRE, SECOND IN COMMAND, THE HARD CORPS, UNTIL DEATH, THE SHEPHERD: BORDER PATROL and FULL LOVE), which makes him kind of perfect for this series. He also shot DESPERATE HOURS and ROBIN HOOD: PRINCE OF THIEVES.

I don’t blame all those normal people for not being into ENDGAME. But after going through the series and enjoying the ongoing adventures of the MacLeods I liked seeing them together seeming like real friends in a weird-ass hybrid of movie and syndicated television show, falling into such a weird stew of plot twists and colorful side characters, fumbling to keep up with then current, now dated trends. ENDGAME is not good, exactly. But it’s something.


Other action movies released in 2000:


Other fantasy movies released in 2000:



Though the Highlander movie series is not necessarily thriving by this point, it’s managing to scrape by as the genres it belongs to are dwindling.

P.S. I would’ve mentioned this in the Highlander: The Series review if I’d realized it at the time, but Adrian Paul was actually directed by Russell Mulcahy once, years before HIGHLANDER even existed. He played a matador in the 1982 Duran Duran video “My Own Way.”

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82 Responses to “Highlander: Endgame”

  1. I remember that there was a certain amount of hype around the release of the movie among German nerds, because the TV show was so popular here. Even my mother was excited about it. I only watched it once and remember only that it was surprisingly bloody (which really turned my squeamish mother off) and all in all a huge disappointment, although it also was cool to see the TV gang in a big adventure with R-rated violence.

  2. I’m from Chicago and they always make a big deal about putting ketchup on a hot dog. Personally, that’s communist because you should be able to put whatever the fuck you want on a hot dog.

  3. Surely there are no other moments in film history as emotionally devastating as that roof top-scene? “LOOK INSIDE OF YOU AND TELL ME I’M WRONG!”

    Anyway, I like that they continue the tradition from part 3 of someone teaching someone what is apparently a great sword move, but frankly looks kind of meh. The move in this one is, according to Connor, amazing.

    One bit of trivia I picked up on in your RESIDENT EVIL 3 review, that is worth mentioning here, is that the director of this – who did second unit on RE3 – ended up more or less replacing Mulcahy on that one? Bizarre…

  4. I don’t eat Hot Dogs, but if I would, I would put ketchup on it. Don’t know what’s the big deal. I also like my steaks well done, which also seems to make me a food related monster, according to random people.

  5. Ketchup is a french fries only type of deal in my opinion, but then I don’t have the refined palate of a dozen lifetimes backing me up here.

    I like this one a lot, it’s probably my favorite of the sequels specifically because it feels like the whole concept and universe finally come together in a satisfying way. Biggest problem imo is I don’t think the villain is a patch on Clancy Brown or Michael Ironside, but they’re two of the all-time great bad guy actors in cinema history so you can’t blame this dude for not being able to compete.

  6. People generally put equal amounts of ketchup and mustard on their hot dogs here in Norway, but if someone put a gun to their heads and made them choose I guess ketchup would win.

    As I said before, some of my friends got really pissed off when Edge turned out to be some wrestler and not the U2 guitarist.

  7. This movie is bad but a much better kind of bad than 3. Seems I don’t remember a specific version and the theatrical cut, DVD cut, and Workprint cut have all been mixed together in my head to make one version. In my version, we get the hilarious Donnie Yen cuts off his own head because surely there is no way he could ever hope to take on Kell, whose power level is maximum and frightening!

    I remember my much bigger HIGHLANDER fan friends being okay with it even though they were a bit disappointed. So I wonder if its reputation as the worst thing ever before The Source came out just gradually happened liked with PHANTOM MENACE and DAREDEVIL? I can’t remember.

    As for Yen, this was during his ‘I flushed it all away’ phase and was looking to be one of the greatest martial arts choreographers ever. I still think he did maybe Jackie Chan’s last truly great fight scene in TWIN EFFECT (or VAMPIRE EFFECT depending on the version) and then his acting career bounced back and he was much more humble. I remember being super hyped for Yen being the bad guy in SHANGHAI KNIGHTS and getting a climatic fight with Chan and then watching the movie and being greatly disappointed the fight is really short. Then learning on the DVD that the fight was much longer but the director cut it because it slowed down the climax too much. Cause clearly people are way more interested in Chan fighting a snooty British guy than Donnie Yen.

    Speaking of Yen, anyone else read or even remember that interview AICN did with that extras guy who was in the running for Anakin in ATTACK OF CLONES? Only reason I remember it is because he spent a large portion of the interview (from my memory) slagging Donnie Yen. Saying that he, the interviewee, was a real actor and Yen was just a mear stunt man and clearly his roles were small in both this and BLADE II because he was such an awful actor. Pretty funny and aggravating read then and I’m sure it’s just hilarious now seeing how Yen is one of the biggest stars in the world now.

  8. I’m generally not a ketchup fan so I have no stake in the ketchup fight that will no doubt derail this comments section. I’m not sure what we New Orleanians do for our hot dogs so I just assume it’s the same as other places.

  9. Well if we’re talking weird regional hot dog toppings, here in Seattle we put cream cheese and grilled onions on em and you know what? I like it that way. Tastes good imo.

    Also I hope not-Anakin felt like an extra big dingus once Yen scored the best role in the best new STAR WARS flick.

  10. Yes, I’m sure in a couple of days we’re still at it, calling each other ketchup commies and mustard fascists.

  11. 2000 seem to have been a pretty weak year for action films, with only WAY OF THE GUN and CROUCHING TIGER HIDDEN DRAGON having a lasting impact. X-MEN did really kick off the comic book films we have to die (even though that credit should probably belong to BLADE). But it’s a film that kinda feels dated. CHARLIE’S ANGELS was fun but has that post-MATRIX feels that is really dated today.

  12. For some reason, I was supposed to write today, and not die. I’m not sure if Grammarly auto corrects it, or it just didn’t catch it. Weird. I do own Endgame on VHS, but haven’t watched it since, so I don’t remember how bad it was, or if it really was bad.

  13. For some reason, I was supposed to write today, and not die. I’m not sure if Grammarly auto corrects it, or it just didn’t catch it. Weird. I do own Endgame on VHS, but haven’t watched it since, so I don’t remember how bad it was, or if it really was bad.

  14. Aww shit here it is. The last of the theatrical films in the HIGHLANDER epic. Also the only one I never finished watching. Damon Dash’s terrible attempt at acting villainous literally put me to sleep. One day I’ll eventually watch the whole thing. Until then I’m sure this review will be the next best thing.

  15. I caught this playing on televison a while back. At first, I thought it was a rerun of the television show. Then I realized it was ENDGAME. Then I thought, “This was actually released in theaters? Yikes.” Like Kurgan has mentioned, Bruce Payne is a step down for the series in the villain department. A lot can be forgiven, but having an unmemorable bad guy is a cardinal sin.

    So an Immortal can only be awakened through violent death? What’s to stop an Immortal from finding a dormant Immortal, beheading him/her, and soaking up that freshly squeezed Immortal juice? They can already somehow sense when a person has the potential.

  16. Falconman- that’s actually what some of them do. It’s why the Kurgan is in Scotland in the first place in the original movie- he’s trying to take MacLeod’s head before Connor gets hip to the whole game.

  17. Something the review just made me realize about the movie series. If you ever find an immortal baby in a dumpster and decided to raise it as your own do NOT give it a name beginning with the letter K. You’d basically be signing your own death certificate.

  18. Man WWE really went hard promoting Edge’s appearance. You would think he was supposed to be a Kurgan like baddie. In the end he was a glorified cameo. I laughed so hard when it was established that Not Warlock from PASSENGER 57 was the next great obstacle.

  19. As a native NYer who still lives out here in the city the ketchup assessment by the producers. Never met a fellow NYer who at least didn’t put ketchup. Hell I went to see JOHN WICK 3 the other day and guess what I ate afterwards? 2 hot dogs with ketchup AND mustard at Gray’s Papaya.

  20. Meant to type “is plain wrong” after “the producers” matter of fact everyone else at that spot last week also had ketchup on their franks. Some were even tourists.

  21. Kurgan – How did I not know/forget that you were in Seattle? I never heard of cream cheese on a hot dog for most of my life so when I first heard it was “Seattle style” I thought they were trying to force a made up regional thing. And maybe they were. But I learned to love it on the chipotle field roast from Dog in the Park (that little stand in Westlake Park).

  22. What new footage is there in the longer version?

    I remember a shot in the trailer where Connor/Duncan go through some kind of portal. Apparently that was created just for the trailer.

  23. No susprise that the producers of the Higlander series are clueless about ketchup.

    Anyways, I’m from Norway, and we eat so many hot dogs here, you wouldn’t believe it. On or National Day, every Norwegian eats 3 hot dogs (average…so, some of us eat a bunch of them!). I’m pretty sure everyone has ketchup on em, so that Dirty Harry quote has always confused me a great deal.

  24. Vern- I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned it before to be honest! Yeah I’ve lived in Seattle pretty much my whole life, but I myself learned to love cream cheese on a hot dog from those carts on Capitol Hill after getting out of late night shows back when I still did theater acting regularly after college in the early 2000s. They’re basically the perfect thing for soaking up too much post-show whiskey, which was an appeal at the time.

  25. I can’t imagine how fucking boring a human being would need to be to not only insist on having the same condiment on every single hot dog he or she will ever eat, but also to assume that his or her fucking boringness is some kind of proud aesthetic stand that everyone else on earth needs to follow.

  26. In Chicago you can put anything you want except ketchup so it’s not always sameness.

  27. I couldn’t imagine never jazzing it up every now amd again with grilled onions, relish or sauerkraut. You have to live a little.

  28. I saw the theatrical cut with the giant JVC billboard. I have to believe I mentioned Donnie Yen in my review but I doubt even Internet Archive could find my Daily Radar review.

    I also remember a lot of talk about once you quicken someone, they’re inside you. I had hoped the LGBTQ community would embrace this movie about mostly men wanting to be inside each other or have one inside them but to my knowledge Highlander: Endgame did not become a LGBTQ phenomenon like The Babadook.

  29. Broddie, I remember reading something about naming All Highlander villains with a K but I can’t remember when they came up with it. I can imagine by 3 they’re like “shit we should name our villain Kane too!”

    Did the TV series have all K villains too?

  30. You might want to review Iceman (Donnie Yen, not John Lone) and Iceman Cometh aka Time Warriors (Yuen Biao) eventually.

  31. Actually Fred the most notable villain in the series was named Horton. Though I don’t recall him ever hearing a Who. He wasn’t immortal though. The 2 biggest immortal villains that I recall both had K names (Kalus & Kronos). The lead singer from Fine Young Cannibals also played a notable immortal villain. Though I don’t recall his name beginning with a K either. So the series definitely did switch it up.

  32. Ah, the year 2000, what a time.

    I get the vibe that this movie needs some Nightwish on the soundtrack, specifically Wishmaster, if it doesn’t have it already.

    Ketchup on hot dogs is just kind of gross to me for some reason, everything else is fine though.

  33. Kurgan- I haven’t seen the original film in a while, so the chronology of events are a little muddled for me. I just thought K was in Scotland for Ramirez, saw some guys going into battle, and asked if he could come too.

    Just to chime in on the hot dog heresy: I’m a fan of a Southern slaw dog.

  34. Majestyk – what are you trying to say about me and Dirty Harry

  35. Ha ha Vern. To me it read like it was more about Adrian Paul; but I could be wrong.

  36. So one guy’s fiance, best friend, and great uncle are all incredibly rare immortals like he is? Man. What’re the odds? That’s gotta be the Highlander universe equivalent of “the Wackowskis are both transgender.”

  37. Broddie- That Fine Young Cannibals guy Roland Gift played an Immortal bad guy called Xavier St Cloud.

  38. The weird thing is that I always thought “Hey, that guy kinda looks like the guy from Fine Young Cannibals, but if it would be him, I’m sure they would mentioned it in the TV Guide or any of the nerd magazines I’m reading”, but they never did. I really didn’t know it was him until today.

  39. Vern: I get being anti-ketchup, but saying one is only allowed to be pro-mustard is crazy to me. (For the record, I generally go with the basic trifecta of ketchup, mustard, and relish in various ratios but have been known to get creative on occasion.) But if you can appreciate cream cheese on a dog, then you are clearly open to the glorious variety of condimentation out there and aren’t limiting yourself to just mustard. Unlike Inspector Callahan, who I’m not sure really knows what he’s missing. But who’s gonna tell him? Not me, that’s for damn sure.

  40. Kaplan, it would make sense if they were all from planet Zeist!

  41. I can’t eat hot dogs anymore (sad face) but JESUS are you Seattle people weird.


    An Eastern Washingtoner who prefers rad waste to cream cheese and grilled onions

  42. Great, now I’ll think of hot dogs every time I watch HIGHLANDER!

    CJ, Gift had a pretty long and unremarkable movie and TV career going on during and after his involvement with FYC.

  43. “I mean, they must’ve been up real late the night before the deadline when they okayed these shots.”

    This sent me into a convulsing laughter that hurt my stomach.

  44. You know what’s weird? There’s another obscure movie with “Endgame” in the title which has a scene where characters talk about the appropriateness of a condiment on hot dogs. They call it “Avengers: Endgame” (ever heard of it?), and in the very first scene Hawkeye and his daughter discuss whether mayo belongs on a hot dog.

    Not kidding. You can see it at around the 30 – 40 second mark here:

  45. I guess the REAL endgame is about the question what to put on a hot dog.

  46. Now I have a hankering to sit in deep concentration and type out a script I shall call FRANKFURTER: ENDGAME.

  47. The Kurgan: Goes without saying that Not-Anakin guy goes on and on about how much better ATTACK OF THE CLONES would have been if he had cast. Even seems to suggest that the story would have gone differently(?). I wonder where that guy is now and if he cries seeing Donnie Yen pop up on so many posters or when he sees Yen’s STAR WARS action figure.

    Broddie: Will the villain be one who believes ketchup on hot dogs is wrong? Will you call the script THE KETCH or KETCH ON?

    I want to agree and like Kell more because of his motivations are better than we get but I guess I don’t like the execution of the character. One thing that always bugged me about the movie is that they make a big deal about how Kell is ‘breaking the rules’ and that’s how he’s so successful and amassing power. That would suggest ‘the rules’ are not ironclad and as governed as once thought. So what’s stopping the Macleods ganging on him at the end or in the graveyard earlier if the rules don’t matter? Silly nerdy thing to get hung up on I know. Plus if our heroes didn’t live by the code we wouldn’t have gotten the honestly pretty good farewell between Duncan and Connor.

    Actually, ya know what, that’s one thing I will give 3. It’s the only time that I can think of when we see that there is an omnipresent force overlooking the immortals and making sure they follow the rules. The scene where Kane tries to fight Connor in the monestary or whereever and ‘something’ makes it know that is not okay leading even Kane to run away. I mean we know from 2 it’s the Zeist elders but still…

  48. And I do believe I need to turn Dashlane off on this sight as I believe this is now the third or fourth time it changed my user-handle to my real name thus exposing my friends and family and giving my enemies something to use against me!

  49. The thing that mostly bugs me about Kell is Bruce Payne’s decision to deliver every line as slowly as he’s able to. If he spoke any slower he’d fit right into the scene in EYES WIDE SHUT where Cruise&Kidman are smoking dope.

  50. If we were to rank the HIGHLANDER villains I’m afraid he’d end up very low on the list.

  51. geoffrey – worse he only believes in eating dry plain hot dogs. KETCH ON is a good sequel title.

  52. HIGHLANDER 5: THE SOURCE doesn’t have a K villain. That was probably a key reason it fell on it’s face. Or it could’ve been that bogus “there can be only one” retcon. I dunno.

  53. When you go into a Pressbyrå to buy a hotdog, you are left with choosing between ketchup and mustard. No goddamn gurkmajonäs. No easy livin in Sweden.

  54. You can’t have both ketchup and mustard? It’s been a while since I bought a korv in Sweden, but I don’t remember that law?

  55. Oh, you can have both.But no gurkmajonnäs. A real shame.

  56. Also, this may be presumptious. But do you have any other means through which we can communicate, pegsman. I have always loved shooting the shit with you. Scandinavians alike. Like facebook?

  57. AS much as I’m a Zeist apologist today, I think i should acknowledge if this were a mythology I was really invested in, I wouldn’t appreciate undermining it in a sequel by saying “oh yeah, they’re aliens.” But since this was ridiculous to begin with, I find the idea of trying to make it make sense and then ignoring that explanation forever after (even special editioning it out of existing releases) is magnificent. And they still couldn’t decide on their rules after!

  58. Shoot, if you follow the link to my sight I believe you’ll find my name on there. Then it shouldn’t be to difficult to find me on Facebook.

  59. I followed pegs in pajamas,not sure what the hell that did though.

  60. pegs-i-pysjamas.com

  61. I followed that. Not very personal is it?

  62. So, when I get the 2 for $2 hot dogs at 7-11, I always do one up with mustard, onions and relish and the other with chili, mayo and jalapenos. Yeah, I know. If I’m ever in Seattle, tho, I’ll totally try the cream cheese/grilled onions combo. Sounds delish!

    Ketchup, however, is for fries and tots and that’s it. If you ask me.

  63. Doesn’t Callahan’s usual lunch and dinner include raw onions? A hot dog in this country usually includes ketchup, mustard, raw onions, fried onions, cucumber mix and prawn relish. The hot dog itself could be a wiener or a grilled version. As Forrest said, we eat a LOT of hot dogs over here.

    Shoot, I meant that my name’s on there and then you can contact me on face/messenger, you know “Per Sætre”.

  64. Catsup (alternate spelling) is also an essential ingredient for a slab of good ol’ American meatloaf, which I also enjoy from time to time. This is off the top of my head so I may be wrong, but wasn’t the meatloaf recipe borne of necessity during times of scarcity during WWII? It’s such a weird, uniquely American food object. Even the name is weird. Meat. Loaf. Tomorrow should be a slow day for me so I’ll wiki it.

    Still not good for hot dogs, tho.

  65. Uh-oh, my full name got published. Hope that Italian chick I pissed off (who happens to be a P.I.) 15 years ago doesn’t notice. Dudes, don’t piss off Italian chicks. Anyways, looking forwards to your DARK PHOENIX review, Vern. The culmination of 20 years of (in my opinion) terrible adaptations of great stories. I’ll got get some hot dogs before I read it.

  66. It’s not possible to make good Sloppy Joes either without ketchup…

  67. Hmm. I’m gonna need some Bon Appetit to prove that.

  68. Or some such some shit. I don’t cook but I deal in magazines so please show your work. I DO like Sloppy Joes.


  69. We guerilla chefs never write anything down!

  70. I’ve had enough of your loose cannon tactics, pegsman! The head chef is breathing down my neck over that stunt you pulled with the Sloppy Joes! You’re on suspension! I want your apron and your spatula on my desk PRONTO!

  71. No!! Now pegs is going to go off on his own and do it even more and more effectively!

  72. Well, you have to admit that he gets results.

  73. He is the best we got…

  74. You’ll never ketch-up to Count Spatula!

  75. Hey guys, I got a question (not about my sex life this time, don’t worry). Spending all this quality time in Highlanderland these past few weeks finally inspired me to buy the double-disc of ENDGAME I’ve been seeing used in my local record shop for the past three years. Which cut should I watch? There’s the “Exclusive New Cut” and “An Earlier Full-Length Cut — 100 minutes.” It doesn’t seem like either of these is the theatrical cut, but maybe that’s just some Weinstein fuckery to keep the consumer from knowing he’s been played.

    Mostly I want to know which one Donnie Yen cuts his own head off in. The rest of the movie isn’t that crucial as far as I’m concerned.

  76. As far as I know, the theatrical cut with the unfinished and even cheaper effects and the original ending has never been released on video.

    If you don’t mind even more unfinished effects and not being color-timed and whatnot, the workprint is the way to go. I remember it being the best of the three versions AND it has the Donnie Yen self-decapitation scene!

  77. Oh yeah, that would be the “An Earlier Full-Length Cut — 100 minutes” I was talking about.

  78. Knew I could count on your guys. Thanks, geoff.

  79. *you guys

    I can’t speak to how reliable your guys are.

  80. The main thing I remember about this one is in the deleted scenes it had a quick two second shot of Adrian Paul and Donnie Yen bowing to each other with respect real quick after Bruce Payne breaks up their fight. It’s like, “that shot was literally two seconds! Why cut that out? It says so much about the characters and makes the scene so much cooler!” That coupled with Donnie Yen chopping his own head off and the sex scene and Edge’s cameo were literally the only things I vaguely remember.

    Re: ketchup on the hotdog, i really don’t understand people who get all uppity about what condiments other people put on their hotdogs. Like I think there’s a restaurant here that actually has a sign saying they’ll throw you out if you ask for ketchup on your hotdog. I know everyone over-accuses everyone of being “gatekeeper-y” about shit, but that’s LITERALLY being gatekeeper-y about fucking hotdogs for chrissakes. To make this make even less sense, here in North Carolina we mostly eat our hotdogs with chili, slaw, onions, and mustard on it. You could literally tell me there’s ketchup somewhere in there or there isn’t ketchup in there and I’d be like “sure, I guess”.

  81. Fun fact! Hulu is adding Highlander: Endgame to its service on June 15th.

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