Men With Guns

Plus swords, arrows, and armies, packing heat on dvd

HIGHLANDER: THE IMMORTAL EDITION

Anchor Bay ($39.98)

Connor McLeod (Christopher Lambert) has been kicking around since 1536 and has seen quite a bit over his years. He's been shot, stabbed, impaled, machine-gunned, drowned, and horsewhipped, and still just keeps coming back. Eventually he finds himself in 1986 New York; since "there can only be one" to claim immortality, he's pursued by 7-foot-tall goober Kurgan (Clancy Brown), another immortal bent on lopping off McLeod's head. Highlander wasn't well received by the critics at the time of its release, but it's maintained a dogged cult following ever since. It's easy to understand both sides of that equation; the plot is murky, overbaked Celtic mumbo-jumbo, with inadvertently silly dialogue and a contrived love affair. Sean Connery is bewildering as McLeod's 16th-century mentor Juan Sanchez Villalobos Ramirez (with a Scots accent, no less). On the other hand, the movie has some spectacular pre-Braveheart battle scenes and wonderful sword fights; director and MTV veteran Russell Mulcahy reaches into his bag of tracks for some great (if dated) FX and flamboyant camera work and editing. The scene where Kurgan shiskabobs a neighborhood vigilante after absorbing about a hundred rounds of machine gun ammo is especially memorable. Anchor Bay's special "immortal" edition of Highlander bundles it up with a commentary track by Mulcahy, theatrical trailers and Mulcahy-helmed videos for the Queen songs in the soundtrack. Also included is an audio CD of the Queen numbers, a window-rattling Dolby 5.1 soundtrack, and some nifty packaging. After spawning an entire franchise of sequels and a TV show, the first Highlander is still the best - all clanging broadswords, detailed flashbacks and unkillable Scotsmen.

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