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Franchise Flashback: Highlander

Introducing a shiny new feature for 2010, Franchise Flashback.  Our beloved action genre is notorious for having franchises with a large number of sequels, of varying degrees of quality.  Since most people probably won’t watch past number 2, we’re here to give you an analysis of the entire franchise, starting with one of the most convoluted, Highlander.

Highlander (1986)- Immortal Connor Macleod has lived for centuries and engages in his final battle against the deadly Kurgan in New York City.  Flashbacks reveal the Connor was born in Scotland and was “killed” in battle.  He miraculously recovered and was cast out of his village for being a witch.  He then met a man named Ramirez, who trained him for “The Gathering” of other Immortals, who will all battle for “The Prize”.  In NYC Connor meets and falls in love with police examiner Brenda Wyatt.  The Kurgan kidnaps Brenda and he and Connor have a final showdown on a rooftop.  Connor wins and gains unlimited knowledge and gets the ability to have children, which Immortals normally don’t have.

Highlander II: The Quickening (1991)- Connor MacLeod and Brenda are living Africa in 1994 when the ozone layer of the Earth starts fading.  Millions start dying, including Brenda.  Connor promises to help solve the problem and in 1999 he helps create an electromagnetic field that surrounds the earth and blocks the radiation.  However, it also causes a state of constant night to envelop the Earth.  By 2024, humanity has fallen into despair and Connor is an old man waiting to die.  A flashback reveals that Connor and Ramirez are both aliens from the planet Zeist who led a rebellion against the evil General Katana.  The rebellion is crushed and Connor and Ramirez are sentenced to be exiled to Earth and be reborn as Immortals.  If they can win “The Prize” they can either grow old and die on Earth or return to Zeist.  General Katana decides that Connor cannot be allowed back on Zeist and sends henchmen to kill him.  Connor manages to kill them both and grows young again due to the quickenings, or release of energy when an immortal is killed.  Connor revives Ramirez and the two join Connor’s current love interest, Louise Marcus, in trying to take down the Shield, since Louise recently found out that the ozone layer restored itself.  Katana arrives in NYC and Connor and Ramirez go to fight him.  Everyone but Connor and Louise are killed and Connor uses the Quickening he got from Katana to destroy the shield.  Connor then decides to stay on Earth with Louise instead of returning to Zeist.

Highlander: The Final Dimension or Highlander III: The Sorcerer (1994)-  Basically erasing the events of Highlander II, Highlander III finds Connor living with his adopted son John in Marakesh in 1994.  Brenda died in a car accident a few year earlier.  A flashback reveals that in the 16th century, Connor journeyed to Asia to train with an Immortal master named Nakano, who is a master of illusion and magic.  While Connor is there, another Immortal named Kane arrives with two henchmen to learn the art of illusion as well.  Nakano refuses and Kane decapitates them despite Connor’s attempts to stop it.  The quickening that results causes a landslide that seals Kane and his henchmen in the cave and Connor manages to escapes.  Back in 1994, archaeologist Alexandra Johnson is investigating Nakano’s cave and inadvertently releases Kane.  Connor learns of this and heads to NYC for the final battle for The Prize.  Kane challenges him on holy ground and in the battle, Connor’s sword is broken.  He flees to Scotland to try and make a new sword but fails until Alex arrives with a piece of steel she found in Nakano’s cave.  Connor builds a new sword and learns that his son is heading to NYC.  Kane gets to him before Connor and holds him hostage to lure Connor into a final battle.  The two battle and Connor wins, gaining the Prize.  Connor, John and Alex return to Scotland to live a normal life.

Highlander: Endgame (2000)-  In 1555, Connor returned to his home village to rescue his mother from the village priest Jacob Kell.  Kell executes her as a witch and Connor kills him and Kell’s adopted father, Father Rainey.  Kell is reborn as an immortal and proceeds on a centuries long revenge quest against Connor, killing his friends and gaining a number of followers.  Kell kills the most Immortals of any other Immortal and is the most powerful Immortal in the world.  After Kell kills Connor’s adopted daughter Rachel, Connor goes into hiding at a sanctuary run by The Watchers, a group who have made it their mission to record and observe the battles of the Immortals.  Kell attacks the sanctuary about 10 years later and kill everyone but Connor, leaving him alive so that he can suffer more.  Meanwhile, Connor’s fellow clansman, Duncan Macleod, arrives upon hearing about Connor’s supposed death and is almost killed by Kell and his minions.  Kell then decides to kill Duncan to further hurt Connor.  Kell kills all of his immortal henchmen to gain even more power and Connor decides that the only way Duncan can defeat Kell is to allow himself to be beheaded by Duncan.  Duncan reluctantly agrees and gains all of Connor’s power.  Duncan and Kell engage in a final battle, which at first Kell seems to be winning until Duncan executes a flip over Kell’s head and decapitates him in mid air.  Duncan then bring’s Connor’s body to his home in Scotland and buries him next to his first wife, Heather.

Highlander: The Source (2007)- Duncan Mcleod and a group of immortals set out to find the source of immortality.  The source is guarded by a supernatural Guardian.  Duncan, his wife Anna and others meet in a monastery and are told about the Source from a mysterious Elder.  He reveals that in the past, another group of immortals tried to find the source.  All but two of the them were killed and those two killed the Guardian.  However, this caused one of them to be the new Guardian and the other to become the Elder.  Duncan and his group set out but are attacked by the Guardian.  Two of the party are killed and Duncan’s sword is destroyed in the fight.  After burying their friends, they set out for an island in Eastern Europe that is supposed to be the source.  On the boat ride to the island, the captain warns the group that cannibals control the island and kill anyone who sets foot on it.  The group fights off a group of locals who were torturing a man and get a van and a pair of swords for Duncan.  They drive to an abandoned house close to the location of the source but as a consequence they start losing their immortal powers.  The Guardian arrives during the night and kills another member of their group.  The next day, they find the road blocked and are captured by the cannibals.  When the cannibals get drunk, The Guardian arrives and takes Anna.  Duncan manages to free himself and defeats the cannibals, and then gives chase after the Guardian.  Duncan finds Anna in a clearing and they look up to see a cosmic alignment taking place directly overhead.  The Guardian arrives and challenges Duncan to combat.  The two battle and Duncan finds himself with powers equal to the Guardian.  The Guardian eventually gets itself buried and trapped in the ground and demands that Duncan decapitate him.  Duncan refuses and the Guardian vanishes.  Duncan and Anna then enter the Source and Anna reveals that she is pregnant.

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