Highlander: The Source

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Highlander: The Source
How do you truly kill a franchise that's all about immortals? By making this movie!
Genre: Science Fiction
Directed By: Brett Leonard
Produced By: William N. Panzer
Peter Davis
Written By: Mark Bradley
Stephen Kelvin Watkins
Starring: Adrian Paul
Thekla Reuten
Peter Wingfield
Jim Byrnes
Cristian Solimeno
Photography: Color
Cinematography: Steve Arnold
Distributed By: Lionsgate
Release Date: September 15, 2007
Runtime: 86 minutes (US Cut)
99 minutes (Russian Cut)
Country: United States
Prequel: Highlander: Endgame

Highlander: The Source is a 2007 American science-fiction TV movie directed by Brett Leonard (of Lawnmower Man and Virtuosity), and the fifth live-action movie in the Highlander series. It was officially released on September 15, 2007, though an earlier bootleg workprint (nicknamed the "Russian Cut") was released in Eastern Europe earlier in 2007.


In a post-apocalyptic future, Duncan MacLeod is working as a vigilante, when he is confronted by an incredibly powerful and truly unkillable Immortal known as the Guardian. After being saved by his old friend Joe Dawson, Duncan is invited to join a team including one-time ally Methos and Duncan's former (and non-Immortal) wife Anna in searching for a mysterious power known as the Source. As they get nearer to the Source, however, the Guardian begins picking off the Immortals one by one.

Why It Sucks

  1. As with Highlander II: The Quickening, the setting is changed to a post-apocalyptic one for no good reason. However, even Highlander II made clear the cause and effects of the dystopian future that we saw. In this movie, it's not clear what caused the apocalypse, or even how bad it actually was. At first it doesn't seem to be much worse than some kind of economic disaster like the Great Depression, but later we find out that it somehow destroyed the centuries-old Watcher organization, and caused parts of the world to be taken over by gangs of insane cannibals.
  2. It isn't made clear until the very last scene what the Source actually is, or even if the main characters actually know what it is. All that we find out prior to the ending is that Immortals who get close to it will be turned into normal humans, leaving viewers to wonder why they would want to find such a thing. The actual revelation of what the Source is also turns out pretty underwhelming - it just grants one Immortal the ability to have a child, which they can't normally do.
  3. As with the previous movie, Highlander: Endgame, Duncan's backstory is retconned to have him having been formerly married. The new love interest, Anna, is a completely generic and uninteresting character as well. They might as well have just brought back his first ex-wife, Faith, from Endgame, seeing how the home video release of that movie had them reconcile.
    • The other new protagonists aren't very interesting either. Reggie is just a generic Hollywood nerd, and Cardinal Giovanni is a stock religious zealot whose only defining characteristic is his ridiculous haircut.
  4. The action scenes, with the exception of the fight at the docks, are all pretty bad. Most of them make excessive use of fast-motion photography and bullet time.
  5. The Guardian is a completely ridiculous villain, not only because of how overpowered he is, but because he spends his entire screentime cracking terrible jokes, and doing stupid things like mocking Duncan in a Scottish accent, and also singing part of "Who Wants to Live Forever?" while stalking a victim.
  6. The soundtrack features some awful cover versions of Queen songs previously featured in the series.
  7. Awful cinematography, with all the scenes being washed out and tinted some shade of either blue or orange.
  8. Bad special effects, even for a TV movie of this era.
  9. There are two different cuts of the movie, both with their own problems. The first one, known as the Russian Cut, has even worse special effects than the final US Cut, has the Guardian behaving even more stupidly, and has a bunch of extra scenes that don't add anything to the plot. However, the US Cut adds in a narration that tries to clear up the plot but instead makes it even more confusing, and changes the ending in such a way that it screws up the plot of every previous Highlander entry.
  10. The entire first half of the plot, with the Immortals trying to work out where the Source will next appear, only happens because one of the characters was too stupid to think about copying the co-ordinates on the one-of-a-kind map he found onto something else, or even just memorizing them.
  11. Part of the storyline involves the planets Jupiter and Saturn moving out of position and into close orbit around Earth, which if it happened in real life would tear Earth apart. On top of that, Methos tries to explain it away with the infamous line "But that could just be orbital wobble" - strangely, the Russian Cut had Reggie calling Methos an idiot for suggesting this, but the US Cut deletes this line.
  12. Joe Dawson, one of the most popular characters from Highlander: The Series, only appears for a few scenes before being suddenly killed by the Guardian; an incredibly underwhelming and unsatisfying death for someone who had become a franchise mainstay by this point.
    • The climax also implies that Methos sacrifices his life to buy Duncan time to reach the Source. We at least don't see him actually die, but if he did, it's a similarly underwhelming end for a key character.
  13. The Guardian's defeat is stupid even compared to the rest of the movie; he and Duncan fight at super-speed, and Duncan eventually tricks the Guardian into spinning around so fast that he drills himself into the ground, and then chooses to spare the Guardian, causing the latter to scream that he's "cursed forever" and explode.
  14. The US Cut has an incredibly insulting ending where a narration by Anna reveals that the Game of the Immortals - that all of them must battle and behead one another until only one remains and claims The Prize, hence their saying "There Can be Only One" - was based on a misunderstanding, and that what "There Can be Only One" actually means is that only the most pure-hearted of all Immortals can claim the Source and therefore the ability to have a child. Not only does this throw away the unique and interesting premise of the Highlander franchise in favor of a generic "Power of Love" message, it means that the thousands of Immortals who died in the first four movies, The Series, and their respective backstories, died for no reason whatsoever.

Redeeming Qualities

  1. The returning actors from Highlander: The Series all do decent jobs with their roles.
  2. Decent soundtrack, especially in the Russian Cut.


Highlander: The Source was not reviewed by enough critics to get a Rotten Tomatoes score (as of writing it has four reviews, all negative, thus giving it an effective 0%). It currently holds a 3.1/10 user rating on IMDb, making it the worst-reviewed Highlander movie.


  • A planned sequel focusing around Duncan's and Anna's child was scrapped after the extremely negative reception of this movie.
  • Highlander: The Series actors Adrian Paul, Peter Wingfield, and Jim Byrnes all disowned the movie after its release, with Paul suggesting that its story was just a bad dream that Duncan had. Wingfield and Byrnes would later team up with fellow The Series actress Elizabeth Gracen to make a fan film that gave closure to the storyline, while ignoring this movie.
  • To date, this is the final official entry in the Highlander franchise, and the last in the continuity begun by the original 1986 movie.

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