I’m hard pressed to think of a cooler film mythology that was run into the ground quicker and more efficiently than the Highlander world (The Matrix is a contender). Director Russell Mulcahy’s action fantasy mini-epic Highlander (which began life as an undergraduate writing assignment called Shadow Clan by screenwriter Gregory Widen) burst on the scene with crazy verve in 1986. The film was flawed, but it was lifted by the wings of its high-concept (and an iconic theme song by Queen). Its story and characters were so novel that it essentially became an instant classic. The film’s ending did not leave room for an easy sequel, but the concepts at play all but demanded some form of franchised world expansion.
In 1991 Mulcahy gifted fans with Highlander II: The Quickening, which promptly became one of the most reviled and mocked sequels of all time. But so powerful was the Highlander mythology that several more films followed, as did both a live-action and an animated television series, an anime, and of course some novels. So in our current Dust Bowl of Reboots, it is frankly only logical that people are trying to bring back Connor MacLeod.
A few years back, Summit Entertainment announced that they had acquired the Highlander rights and were working on a new film. Now Variety is reporting that things are again moving forward. Neal Moritz will be taking on producing duties, with Justin Lin directing. Lin is an interesting choice. He first came to attention with the promising Better Luck Tomorrow before getting swallowed by the Fast & Furious franchise – though I find it fairly easy to forgive those films as mere paydays, considering he also honored the world with the too-amazing-for-words paintball episode of Community. Less acceptable is the news that Summit is in talks with Melissa Rosenberg (who wrote all five Twilight films) about penning the script. No thanks.
Summit plans to expand on the original “Highlander” premise of immortals hunting each other through the ages. The new pic will center on the immortal Scottish swordsman Connor MacLeod, who must confront a murderous barbarian — the last of his kind — who lusts for a fabled prize.
I see. Sounds kinda like the plot of the original Highlander to me. Anyway, while not particularly excited, I can at least get behind Lin directing. Can’t we get a screenwriter to give the script some human edge instead of fantasy blah? I don’t know, Tony Gilroy or someone? I don’t need any more Bourne movies. Let’s get the man on a new series of cool action flicks.