Highlander: The Search for Vengeance (2007)
Featurette-East Meets West
Trailer-Teaser Trailer and US Trailer
|Year Of Production||2007|
|Running Time||82:19 (Case: 85)|
|RSDL / Flipper||Dual Layered||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||Yoshiaki Kawajiri|
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.85:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
For my money the original Highlander is one of the greatest action movies to have ever been committed to film. No correspondence shall be entered into. It managed to meld a timeless brooding story line, b-movie sensibilities, heart-thumping action and Queen into a big ball of movie awesomeness. Highlander was far from flawless, but its faults only seem to add to its charm.
If you had told me then that 21 years later the only worthwhile follow up to this masterpiece would be an anime re-imagining of the story, I probably would have threatened to cut off your head. After several rubbish film sequels and a handful of mediocre TV spin-offs, Highlander: The Search For Vengeance has come out of nowhere and is unexpectedly excellent.
This redo of the franchise tells the story of Colin MacLeod, who first died in 125 AD battling the Romans for the pride of his clan and his woman. When his wife Moya is raped and killed by a megalomaniacal Roman General, Marcus Octavius, who is also an immortal, Colin swears vengeance and tracks down Marcus Octavius repeatedly throughout history as he attempts to best him. Finally in 2187 (after a deadly virus has left the world a post-apocalyptic wasteland, save for one final citadel), with the aid of a hooker with a heart of gold, Colin and Marcus Octavius meet for a final showdown. As he prepares for this final showdown, Colin remembers many of the past encounters he has had with his nemesis and the guidance he has been given by a druid spirit.
The premise is quite straightforward and borrows a lot of narrative style, and shaky accents, from the original film. The use of anime allows the story to go places that would have been prohibitively expensive in any live-action version. While the story itself is a little corny it is done extremely well, much like the original Highlander. There is barely room to breathe in between the brooding dialogue and fast paced action.
The movie is directed by Yoshiaki Kawajiri, who is probably best known for Wicked City and Ninja Scroll. Unsurprisingly, the film borrows much of the visual flair of Kawajiri's past work and it really suits the movie.
Highlander: The Search For Vengeance will probably be dismissed by many anime fans (as too Western) and many fans of the original Highlander (as manga pap), but it shouldn't be. Like the original live-action film this is a mix of countless barmy elements that somehow reach critical mass and make for a real action treasure.
The film is presented in its original 1.85:1 aspect ratio and is 16x9 enhanced.
The video looks very good. It is both clear and sharp, with no sign of grain or low-level noise.
The colours are a little muted in order to give a traditional manga look to the film. This effect works incredibly well and provides a distinct look to the film, albeit a very similar look to the original Ninja Scroll.
No obvious MPEG compression-related artefacts, or film artefacts are visible in the transfer.
There are no subtitles on this disc.
The film is entirely on one layer of this dual layer disc, so there is no layer change disruption during the feature.
A single English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kbps) audio track is present. Although the film itself was produced by a Japanese animation house, English is the original language for the production.
The dialogue sits at a good level in the mix. The audio/video sync is close enough, given that this is a cartoon.
The film score is fairly standard orchestral affair that occasionally mixes in a cheesy guitar, making it quite reminiscent of the original Highlander.
The surround channels are put to good use, particularly during the many action scenes, and the subwoofer gets a fair work out during the same sequences.
|Surround Channel Use|
A featurette outlining how the US producers collaborated with Japanese filmmakers to throw this left-field masterpiece together.
A dubbed interview in which the director pretty much tells us what a great job he made of the film.
The teaser trailer and US DVD trailer.
A 5 minute slideshow of art work related to the film.
A handful of trailers for other Madman releases.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
The Region 1 and Region 4 versions of this film are identical save for PAL/NTSC differences.
A modern classic anime, and the first worthy sequel to the legendary Highlander.
The video quality is very good and the audio good enough. A relatively small, reasonably worthwhile package of extras is included.
|DVD||Sony Playstation 3, using HDMI output|
|Display||Samsung 116cm LA46M81BD. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL).|
|Audio Decoder||Pioneer VSX-D512. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||150W DTX front speakers, and a 100W centre and 2 surrounds, 12 inch PSB Image 6i powered sub|