While one can question the reasoning behind a 5th "Highlander" movie, there is that fact that the main characters are immortal. Certainly convenient, as the franchise (which started over twenty years ago!) can potentially go on for just as long. However, as many other direct-to-video sequels for other franchises have proved, just because a series of films can potentially go on and on doesn't mean they should. The "Highlander" series probably should have taken the advice of the tagline of the first film - "There can be only one."
The film focuses on Duncan MacLeod (Adrian Paul), one of the Immortals who is informed about the Source, a mystical place where his kind began. The Source is, well...a source of power and in the wrong hands, things can be...well, bad. So, with other immortals, as well as Joe (Jim Byrnes) and ex-wife Anna (Thekla Reuten), he sets out to find the Source before it's too late. They are up against the Guardian (Cristian Solimeno), a mutated and very powerful immortal. So, the bunch races against time and tries to find a point below where planets are going to align, as that apparently is where the Source will be revealed, or where the Source Awards will take place, or something. All I know is - and I'm not kidding - that the movie ends with a power ballad about the Source.
"Highlander: The Source" is cheese of the highest order - while I've said many films are deserving of "Mystery Science Theatre 3000" treatment, this picture moves to the front of the line. I'm occasionally a sucker for a film so awful it's good, but this was so clearly terrible I had a big smile on my face throughout much of the picture - it's just that amusing in a B-movie sense.
I mean, this picture has it all: z-grade effects, a villain who looks like a "Power Rangers" character, lines like the hero telling the villain to "have a nice day", said with a straight face; awful narration, clumsy fight choreography, cheap locations and a score so corny they could use it to make enough ethanol (an ethanol reference in a review is not something I ever expected, either) to power the cars of a few countries. It has everything a B-movie fan might want, but "Highlander" fans may understandably be displeased.
One has to give credit to actor Adrian Paul though, who has to utter some of the most splendidly bad dialogue I've heard in ages, and does so in a way that still somehow remains kind of dignified. Solimeno is just plain awful as the wisecracking baddie, but Reuten has good chemistry with Paul. All that aside though, "Highlander: The Source" is, once again, a good argument that, despite the immortality of the characters, the franchise should end right here, right now.
VIDEO: "Highlander: The Source" is presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen. Picture quality is merely okay, and some of the flaws - such as the murky, somewhat soft images - may have been an intentional (or, well - unintentional) element of the film. Some minor artifacting is also seen at times, but no print flaws or edge enhancement were seen. Colors appeared smeary and subdued, but - again - I guess that was the look (at least the subdued part) the picture may have been going for.
SOUND: The film's Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack is underwhelming, with not as much as one might expect in the way of surround use. The score is just horrific, but it certainly gets a good deal of the focus in the sound design, unfortunately. Audio quality is just decent.
EXTRAS: After watching a movie like this, what better way to follow it up than with a "making of" that runs nearly as long as the movie itself? The "making of" documentary is quite detailed, but I wonder how educational a "making of" this feature is. We also get a tribute to producer Bill Panzer, as well as storyboard comparisons and a look at the upcoming video game.
Final Thoughts: "Highlander: The Source" is quite a bad entry in the series, although it's rotten to the point where it's oddly entertaining (in other words, it's really bad, but fun bad) - if "MST3K" ever comes back, this is certainly a contender for the first show. The DVD provides fair audio/video quality and a few decent extras. "Highlander" fans who must see this latest entry are advised to rent first.
The Film D