The ’80s Sci-Fi Fantasy Sequel So Awful Its Director Abandoned It

By Charlene Badasie | Updated

Highlander Sword

Russell Mulcahy, the filmmaker behind Highlander II: The Quickening, hated the movie so much that he walked out of its world premiere. However, the problems with Highlander 2 began long before the final product was released. It was a chaotic mess from the beginning, despite having the potential for greatness, considering it stemmed from one of the most extravagant fantasy movies of the ’80s.

12 Grueling Weeks Of Filming

According to Collider, the script for Highlander 2 underwent multiple revisions, forcing aside several subplots that confused the actors. Mulcahy openly expressed his disdain for the filming process, which lasted over 12 weeks with six-day shoots, all at night. The director wanted his name removed from the project by the time the film wrapped up.However, that didn’t happen. A few years later, Mulcahy released a re-edited version called “The Renegade Cut,” eliminating some controversial alien subplots. Sadly, it didn’t really help Highlander 2 recover from its issues, which still included too many complicated, nonsensical plotlines that made it difficult to understand who was doing what.

Highlander 2 And Aliens

Released in 1991 and billed as a science fiction film, Highlander 2 is the sequel to the 1986 film Highlander and is the second installment in the film series. The movie stars Christopher Lambert as Connor MacLeod and Sean Connery as Juan Sanchez Villa-Lobos Ramírez, reprising their roles from the first film.

Highlander 2 departs from the original film’s concept by revealing that the immortals, including Connor MacLeod, are aliens from the planet Zeist who were banished to Earth as punishment. The immortals are now facing the consequences of their actions on Zeist and must confront a new threat.

The Quickening

Highlander 2 also introduces the concept of the “Quickening,” a powerful energy that gives immortals their strength. The sequel showcases the Quickening as a mystical force that can be harnessed to give humanity unlimited energy. However, the corporation controlling this power becomes corrupt, ultimately leading to conflict.

Panned By Critics And Fans

Upon its release, Highlander 2 received mostly negative reviews from critics and fans. Many criticized the convoluted plot and the departure from the original film’s mythology. The film’s quality was considered inferior to the first Highlander movie, and it struggled at the box office. Despite its shortcomings, the film has achieved a certain cult status among franchise fans.

Highlander As A Cult Classic

highlander Christopher Lambert

The 1986 Highlander film was a comparative success due to its unique concept of immortal warriors battling throughout history. Russell Mulcahy’s direction brought a visually stylish flair with atmospheric lighting and well-choreographed fight scenes. The storytelling alternated between present-day New York and historical flashbacks.Despite initial mixed critical reviews, Highlander developed a dedicated fan base over the years, primarily through home video releases and television broadcasts. Christopher Lambert’s portrayal of Connor MacLeod and Sean Connery’s supporting role as Ramirez were often highlighted as solid points, unlike Highlander 2.

The Henry Cavill Reboot

Henry Cavill is set to star in a reboot of 1986’s Highlander. The movie will be directed by Chad Stahelski from a screenplay by Mike Finch. With a rumored budget of over $100 million, the movie is said to be and will be a high-octane action fantasy. Filming is scheduled to begin in 2024.