Highlander: The Search For Vengeance lands somewhere between spin-off and remake of the very famous 1986 Christopher Lambert film Highlander, a movie Queen fans may also remember due to its OST.
Highlander: The Search For Vengeance (2007)
I’m not really planning to do a comparative review so I’ll just say that I agree with what seems to be the general consensus out there, that among all the Highlander texts following the original, this is among the better ones.
In terms of genre, Highlander: The Search for Vengeance is a post-apocalyptic, science-fantasy action film from top to bottom, with top notch animation (Madhouse and Imagi Animation) that follows Colin MacLeod through the centuries on his quest for revenge.
And it is a classic (or ‘basic’ if you’re not a fan) revenge story with Colin hacking his way through various obstacles on a path toward his ages-old enemy Marcus Octavius, at times taking a break for war or love or perhaps just gratification – and as this is an anime take on the franchise, get ready for plenty of fan-service.
The non-linear structure to Colin’s search adds an extra layer to the narrative, weaving in and out of the past and future as we see him fight and struggle and even repeat some costly mistakes in different historical eras.
I’d have loved to see a little more from Colin’s memories of the 20th Century for one, but what existed served the overall picture of a battle throughout history.
It seems that when Yoshiaki Kawajiri is working with US production companies there’s a toning down of onscreen sex and violence compared to his other work, yet not a removal.
So you’ll still get explosions, decapitations, nudity and even (in this film) a presumably romantic sex scene, much like what could be seen in an 1980s/1990s action or thriller film. (Thus, in terms of audience it’s obviously not aimed at kids).
A few quick dot points before I finish:
- I’m a fan of Yoshiaki Kawajiri’s character designs and this anime is no exception
- I do love imaginings of the future and cities in various states of decay (in fiction, at least) and so the New York setting was a highlight for me
- Colin probably isn’t perhaps as multi-faceted as some other leads in the film, so you might find a fav side-character instead
- If you’re exhausted from and furious about COVID and can’t stomach another virus subplot, then I’ll note this does feature one
Overall, I enjoyed the structure, the action and the scaling up of problems for our hero to face, all of it interwoven with backstory and some memorable leads too (not only Moya, who probably doesn’t have enough screen time to be called ‘lead’, I guess).
If you like the genre in general, or you’re a fan of the original movie, you’ll find this both a little different and very familiar, which could be a mark for or against, I suppose.