Highlander: The Search for Vengeance (2007)

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Released 8-Nov-2007

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Anime Featurette-East Meets West
Interviews-Crew-Director
Gallery-Artwork slideshow
Trailer-Teaser Trailer and US Trailer
Trailer-Madman Trailers
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2007
Running Time 82:19 (Case: 85)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Yoshiaki Kawajiri
Studio
Distributor
Imagi
Madman Entertainment
Starring Dave Mitchell
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI ? Music Jussi Tegelman
Nathan Wang
Patrick Giraudi


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures Yes
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

    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.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    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.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    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.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

East Meets West: Filmmakers Crossing Borders Featurette (12:49)

    A featurette outlining how the US producers collaborated with Japanese filmmakers to throw this left-field masterpiece together.

Director Interview (8:48)

    A dubbed interview in which the director pretty much tells us what a great job he made of the film.

Trailers

    The teaser trailer and US DVD trailer.

Stills Gallery (5:55)

    A 5 minute slideshow of art work related to the film.

Madman Trailers

    A handful of trailers for other Madman releases.

R4 vs R1

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.

Summary

    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.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Adam Gould (Totally Biolicious!)
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
Review Equipment
DVDSony 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 DecoderPioneer VSX-D512. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer VSX2016AVS
Speakers150W DTX front speakers, and a 100W centre and 2 surrounds, 12 inch PSB Image 6i powered sub

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
Best of the Highlander series. -
Highlander III wasn't completely abysmal. -
Don't forget the reversible cover! -