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R: ARCHIVE, S: MOVIES, D: 09/07/2000,

Highlander: Endgame

This prequel has none of the elements that made Highlander, the cult hit of the late '80s, such an indie success. No soundtrack by Queen, no Sean Connery, and no plot cohesion. It does retain the basic premise: Scottish Highlander immortal Connor MacLeod (Christopher Lambert) must defend himself from other immortals by cutting off their heads and consequently absorbing their life force. The game is like Survivor but with less intrigue -- two hours of vicious swordplay set to a soundtrack featuring Champions of the Universe. Director Douglas Aarniokoski pieces together several confusing flashbacks and sprinkles in clumsy long-winded exposition for the novice Highlander fan. The point, lost beneath mounds of unintentionally comedic special effects, is that Connor and his TV-series counterpart, Duncan MacLeod (Adrian Paul), must team up to stop the most powerful immortal -- Kell (Bruce Payne) -- from winning the game. Well, we've all done things we're not proud of -- in Aarniokoski's case, it's padding a cult classic story into a 90-minute music video.

-- Jonathan Stern