Viking Night: Highlander
By Bruce Hall
September 27, 2011
The last time anybody saw Christopher Lambert, it was probably on the side of a milk carton. But he’s one of the fortunate few who despite being of nominal talent, cemented his legacy with one unlikely role. Not every actor can be superstar. Not every actor can win an Oscar. Not every actor can even pay his bills. I’m assuming Christopher Lambert can at least handle the latter, and looking at his recent filmography I’m relieved to see that he is in fact still alive. Although whether you could say the same of his career is a matter of opinion. But had he never made another movie again he’d always be remembered, always be loved, always be Immortal - as The Highlander.
More specifically, as Connor McLeod of the clan McLeod, born in 1518 in the village of Glenfinnan in the highlands of Scotland, on the shores of Loch Shiel. Here, Connor lives in a beautiful one room grass and mud hut with his beautiful wife. The McLeods are a proud warrior tribe who have inhabited the Scottish Highlands since time immemorial and like most Highland tribes, they have more than a few enemies. Indeed, the primary drawback with the whole warrior lifestyle is that whole “war” thing - and it’s to this that Connor succumbs in 1536. If getting split in two with a broadsword wasn’t bad enough, he soon finds himself revived, somehow ageless and Immortal. This makes Connor a pariah, unable to return to his village and thus forced to roam the earth as an outcast.
Fast forward to 1986, where we find McLeod in the parking garage beneath Madison Square Garden. He’s locked in combat with another Immortal and they’re both swinging around a sword as long as a 12-year-old. McLeod prevails, decapitating his unfortunate adversary and then undergoing some kind of supernatural transformation which destroys most of the garage. This really is the thing I love best about movies. It’s hard to imagine now, but at some point I watched Highlander without having a clue what it was about, and at this point I have no doubt I was as confused as the first time I tried trigonometry. I still suck at math, but I’m absolutely down with fantasy. It’s the journey that makes it fun, and it’s what keeps me coming back.
But enough about me. The police apprehend McLeod as he flees the scene and somehow fail to connect him with the headless corpse inside. This, despite the fact that they caught him running, he styles himself an antique dealer and one of the weapons recovered was a five hundred year old sword worth one million dollars. What are the odds McLeod was involved? It’s more than enough to hold a guy for 24 hours even if you don’t charge him with anything, but they don’t. Seriously, if real cops were as stupid as movie cops, I’d have gotten out of the traffic ticket I was handed a few months ago by pretending to be invisible. It’s not logical but as Harrison Ford supposedly once said of Star Wars, “This ain’t that kind of movie.”