Highlander – Blu-ray Review

“I’ve got one thing to say! It’s better to burn out than fade away!” Words to remember from the Kurgan. Words that the studio should have heeded to when they thought to make a bunch of crappy sequels to this fantastic ’80s action film.

You should know the story of Highlander by now. Conner McCleod (Christopher Lambert) is an immortal. As such he has to fight other immortals to the death cause there can be only one. Juan Sanches Villa-Lobos Ramirez (Sean Connery) shows up and teaches McCleod everything he’ll need to know in order to defeat The Kurgan (Clancy Brown) the most powerful and vicious of all immortals. Thrown in a bunch of sweet sword fights and a rockin’ Queen soundtrack and you’ve got yourself a classic ’80s film.

Sure, it’s Christopher Lambert and Sean Connery that really make this film, but I honestly think my favorite performance in the film is Clancy Brown. He goes completely over the top as The Kurgan and you can tell he’s enjoying every bloody second of it. From tormenting church patrons and running over pedestrians to getting to kill a bunch of people with a sword and getting his throat slit he east up every scene he’s in. I can’t help but smile every time he’s on screen.

I watched this film at least a dozen times when I was a kid, but watching on a large TV on Blu-ray almost made it as if I was seeing the film again for the first time. At the very least I saw crew hiding behind falling rocks and the strings holding Lambert in the air in the end for the first time.

For the most part this is a really solid hi-def transfer, although there are a few moments throughout the film that still look very gritty and by no means Blu-ray quality. I’m not sure why this is, but the moments stand out really bad when you come across them in the film.

That aside, this is still a fantastic film and a fantastic blu-ray and a great upgrade for any fan of the film.

Highlander is presented in anamorphic widescreen 1.85:1 and Dolby Digital DTS-HD Master Audio. Again, for the most part this looks great, there are just a few moments that didn’t get as much remastering attention as others. However, the sound is fantastic! Freddy Mercury’s voice and the sword strikes never sounded crisper!

Commentary: Director Russell Mulcahy isn’t the most exciting commentator to listen to, but he does have lots of interesting tidbits about the making of this film. An interesting commentary for avid fans of the film.

Deleted Scenes: (6 min.) Apparently, “whilst” remastering the film, they powers that be came across a chunk of footage that was cut from the film. None of it had audio so they cut it all together into this short little montage and set it to music. Kind of interesting, I guess. Nothing really special here.

Highlander might look a little dated to anyone watching it today for the first time, but anyone who grew up with this film, knows how bad ass it is and enjoys watching it over and over again. Sadly, this disc is a little light on special features so I only recommend upgrading to the most hardcore of fans. I’m predicting that in 2016 there will be a 30th Anniversary Edition that will have all the bells and whistles.

Studio Canal and Lionsgate present Highlander. Directed by Russell Mulcahy. Written by Gregory Widen and Peter Bellwood & Parry Ferguson. Starring: Christopher Lambert, Sean Connery, Clancy Brown and Roxanne Hart. Running time: 116 minutes. Rated R for strong action violence, a scene of sexuality and some language. Originally released in 1986. Released on Blu-ray: November 2, 2010.

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