Highlander: The Source
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.
Duncan MacLeod is a vigilante in a post-apocalyptic future when confronted by an incredibly powerful and genuinely 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, 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 There's A Source to Suck
- 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 was. At first, it doesn't seem to be much worse than some economic disaster like the Great Depression. Still, 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.
- Until the very last scene, it isn't clear what the Source is, or even if the main characters know what it is. We find out before the ending 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 turning out pretty underwhelming - it just grants one Immortal the ability to have a child, which they can't normally do.
- As with the previous movie, Highlander: Endgame, Duncan's backstory is retconned to have him formerly married, the new love interest, Anna, is an entirely generic and uninteresting character. 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 fascinating either. Reggie is just a generic Hollywood nerd, and Cardinal Giovanni is a stock religious zealot whose only defining characteristic is his ridiculous haircut.
- The action scenes, aside from the fight at the docks, are all pretty bad. Most of them make excessive use of fast-motion photography and bullet time.
- The Guardian is an utterly 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.
- The soundtrack features some awful cover versions of Queen songs previously featured in the series.
- Awful cinematography, with all the scenes being washed out and tinted some shade of either blue or orange.
- Terrible special effects, even for a TV movie of this era.
- There are two different cuts of the movie, both with their 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 many extra scenes that don't add anything to the plot. However, the US Cut adds in a narration that tries to clear up the story but instead makes it even more confusing and changes the ending so that it screws up the plot of every previous Highlander entry.
- 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 coordinates on the one-of-a-kind map he found onto something else, or even just memorizing them.
- Part of the storyline involves the planets Jupiter and Saturn moving out of position and into close orbit around Earth, which would tear Earth apart if it happened in real life. 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.
- As it killed the Highlander franchise, it ruined the careers of it's cast and crew.
- Director Brett Leonard (the director of Lawnmower Man and Virtuosity) hurt his career so badly that he essentially quit filmmaking, except for Truth?, The Other Country - Starring Burlap to Cashmere and Triumph.
- Writers Mark Bradley and Stephen Kelvin Walkers haven't written another film since this one.
- Adrian Paul has been mostly acting in low budget films and television series due to the failure of this movie.
- 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 die, but it's a similarly underwhelming end for a critical character if he did.
- 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.
- 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 exciting 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, were killed for no reason whatsoever.
- The returning actors from Highlander: The Series all do decent jobs with their roles.
- 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 on Duncan's and Anna's child was scrapped after the 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.