Highlander 2 Blu-ray Review
- Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
- Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
- Resolution: 1080p/24
- Audio Codec: English DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1, Spanish Monaural DTS-HD Msster Audio
- Subtitles: English SDH, English, French, Spanish
- Region: A
- Rating: R
- Discs: 1
- Studio: Lionsgate
- Blu-ray Release Date: November 2, 2010
- List Price: $19.99
Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures
(Screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG thus are meant as a general representation of the content and do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)
If the original Highlander film was a slice of 80′s cheese that has become a cult classic for its goofy but endearing one-liners and bad special effects, the sequel Highlander 2: The Quickening was just a misguided attempt to cash in on the film’s, mostly European success and rework a plot that was tidily wrapped up in the first film.
The Highlander, Connor MacLeod (Christopher Lambert) is back and so is Ramirez (Sean Connery) in this futuristic science fiction action thriller that brings the two immortal characters into a dystopian future of 2024 where they must help save the planet, threatened by a depleted ozone layer and covered by an electronic shield. Think Blade Runner meets Escape from New York and you get the gist of how the world has devolved in this not-too-distant future.
The story weaves corporate greed, time travel, and Highlander’s original medieval swordplay together in a nearly farcical tale that hits on all the sci-fi clichés. There’s even an obligatory romance between MacLeod and a character played by Virginia Madsen. Of course, MacLeod must once again prepare for “the quickening” when the immortals will all be drawn together for one final defining battle.
It’s convoluted, even more poorly scripted than the original, and a terrible stopover in this perplexingly popular franchise.
I don’t know if “icky” is a technical term or not, but it seems to be the only one coming to mind when I try to describe this 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 encoding of Highlander 2. The image is awash in video noise, suffers from aliasing in the form of stair stepping and haloing at various points throughout the film, and shows lots of scratches and dirt. It seems like Lionsgate just re-encoded an old DVD master and threw it on this disc.
The DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 mix is vast step up in quality over the miserable video quality. The mix surrounds the listener ins special effects, has deep low frequencies and good highs that don’t fatigue the ears. Dialogue is intelligible and never lost in the mix.
The supplements here are decent, but they are all in standard definition, ported over from the DVD release and nothing completely compelling or worthy of multiple viewing.
The supplements provided with this release are:
- Highlander 2: Seduced by Argentina (1.33:1; 480i/60; 0:50.05)
- The Redemption of Highlander 2 (1.33:1; 480i/60; 0:13.46) — The digital visual effects of Highlander 2
- The Music of Highlander 2 (1.33:1; 480i/60; 0:09.05) — Stewart Copland talks about scoring the music for the film.
- The Fabric of Highlander 2 (1.33:1; 480i/60; 010.07) — The costume designs of Highlander 2.
- Shadows & Darkness: The Cinematography of Highlander 2 (1.33:1; 480i/60; 0:05.51)
- Deleted Scenes (2.35:1; 480i/60; 0:05.48)
- Original Cannes Film Festival Promotional Reel (2.35:1; 480i/60; 0:09.29)
- Original Theatrical Trailer (2.35:1; 480i/60)
The Definitive Word
Unless you are a hardcore fan of this franchise and must possess this release, my advice is to skip this entirely. The movie itself is awful and the transfer is even worse. The one redeeming factor is the awesome 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio remix that is a nice upgrade to the film’s original soundtrack.
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