Highlander: Endgame (2000)

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Released 18-Sep-2001

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Fantasy Main Menu Audio & Animation
Dolby Digital Trailer-Train
Audio Commentary-Editors & Producers
Featurette-Visual Effects-A Historical Progression
Deleted Scenes
Featurette-Behind The Scenes
Menu Audio
Theatrical Trailer
Biographies-Cast & Crew
Notes-Highlander Timeline - A History
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2000
Running Time 96:23
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Douglas Aarniokoski
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Adrian Paul
Christopher Lambert
Bruce Payne
Lisa Barbuscia
Donnie Yen
Damon Dash
Sheila Gish
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $34.95 Music Nick Glennie-Smith


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (320Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement Yes, Not in the main feature, thankfully..
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Highlander is often thought of as one of the best action movies of the 80s. It had a blend of swashbuckling and modern day adventure that was new at the time. Unfortunately, such a great beginning lead to a disappointing series of franchise movies - isn't that always the case? Fortunately, Highlander Endgame is the best of the lot, excepting the original of course. There is obviously an attempt to recapture the magic of the original movie, both with the style of the movie and with a number of the original characters returning for a second showing.

    Highlander Endgame is the first movie in the Highlander franchise to feature Connor MacLeod's cousin from the Highlander TV series, Duncan MacLeod (Adrian Paul). Paul made a name for himself in the TV series and really does shine in this movie. In fact, the swordsmanship displayed by Paul is far more impressive than Lambert, although this may have something to do with the fact that Lambert is mostly blind.

    The plot is nothing special, but has enough twists to keep you interested throughout the movie. Connor and Duncan are up against the frighteningly powerful Jacob Kell, an enemy of Connor's for centuries. Unfortunately, Connor is not aware that Kell exists at all - enter twist one. The movie exposes a lot of the human side of immortals; how it is impossible to live normally and grow old with the person they love. The final sequences also have a number of twists, none of which are not predictable. The acting is passable although Bruce Payne, from Dungeons and Dragons fame, goes over the top in his portrayal of Kell. A criticism that I have to make of this story is in the sheer number of immortals that exist. Here I was thinking that immortals were an unusual, and rare, mob - this does not seem to be the case while watching Highlander Endgame. Although I make criticisms, the movie really is quite enjoyable, if you are a fan of the Highlander franchise then I do not hesitate in recommending this movie.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    Highlander Endgame has excellent video quality, one of the best that I have seen. There are only a few minor problems that prevent this video transfer from receiving a reference quality rating.

    This transfer is presented in the theatrical ratio of 2.35:1 with 16x9 enhancement, and a good thing that it is as some of the aerial shots of the "Scottish" highlands are very impressive and lend themselves well to this aspect ratio.

    Sharpness is excellent throughout without the slightest touch of grain hindering the detail. Shadow detail is generally very good - this is fortunate due to the large number of night-time or poorly lit scenes.

    Colour is perfectly rendered throughout without any colour bleed or oversaturation. The movie does not rely on bright colours so there are no amazing examples of colour use, it merely does everything that it needs to do.

    The only problems with this transfer are the occasional spattering of film artefacts and some rather obvious telecine wobble at 79:50. These are the only problems that prevent this video transfer from receiving a reference quality rating.

    The only subtitles on this disc are English for the Hearing Impaired and they are accurate throughout. It is nice to see that the subtitles are rendered underneath the person who is speaking to provide easy identification.

    This disc is a Dual Layered disc. I did not spot a layer change. In the absence of definitive information to the contrary, it would appear that the entire main feature has been squeezed onto one layer of the disc.

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

Audio

    The audio transfer on this disc is very, very impressive. Unfortunately there is some rather obvious hiss and an audio pop that mar the transfer. It is very disappointing to be really hammered by the soundtrack during action sequences then when the cut is made to a quiet moment, you can hear annoying hiss creep in.

    There is only one audio track available on this disc as well as the audio commentary track. The main feature has and English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack encoded at the higher bitrate of 448kbps, while the commentary is Dolby Digital 2.0 at 320kbps. Nice to see another high bitrate Dolby Digital track.

    Dialogue is easy to understand throughout, although it is often accompanied by the annoying hiss that I mentioned above. The hiss is not there all the time but it is most noticeable during dialogue-driven scenes, and very frustrating. Some examples can be found at 7:03, 30:30, and 68:40. Audio sync is fine throughout.

    The musical score by Nick Glennie-Smith is very supportive of the on-screen action and provides the necessary ambience for a Highlander film. Some of the more scenic sequences are accompanied by soaring and uplifting music. Nice.

    Surround presence throughout this movie is excellent. There is always activity from the rear speakers, and even during the opening sequence, the surrounds receive an excellent workout. The action sequences are truly exemplary and this is most definitely a disc that you can use to show off to your friends and (more importantly) neighbours...

    The subwoofer receives a true workout throughout this feature. In fact the subwoofer and center speakers pump out so much bass that the displaced wind from the ports managed to blow an empty packet of chips off my coffee table. A very dynamic and enveloping use of bass.

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

Extras

    There is quite a selection of extras on this disc, most of good quality.

Dolby Digital Train trailer

    If you have seen enough of these you can at least skip it.

Audio Commentary

    This commentary is with the film editor and the producers of the movie. It is a relatively informative effort that does not grow too heavy in the listening. You learn numerous things about the movie, including that the majority of the movie was shot on location in Romania and that the fly-over scenes of the Scottish highlands were advertising pieces purchased off a Scottish advertising company. The things you learn...

Visual Effects - A Historical Progression (36:12)

    Not the most exciting extra to grace a DVD. Merely a walk through the majority of visual effects used in the movie. Some interesting stuff here, but just be aware that there is no narrative or sound of any kind, just a series of effects sequences at varying levels of completion. There is a really obvious JVC sign throughout some of the scenes that was removed from the final cut of the movie. It looks like the sign was airbrushed from the film - there is a big blank patch in the background where the sign used to be. I did not pick this up while watching the main feature. Presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 with poor video quality and heaps of telecine wobble.

Deleted Scenes (5:40)

    Four deleted scenes. A good thing that they were deleted, really, as they do not add anything to the movie. They are presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1. The audio and video quality is quite poor.

Behind The Scenes Documentary (57:01)

    An interesting and informative documentary presented in 1.33:1 full frame. The video and audio quality are very good throughout.

Biographies

    Extensive biographies of the main characters from Highlander Endgame. The usual stuff here.

Highlander Timeline

    A history of the Highlander universe, noting the most important dates as the franchise progresses.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 4 version of this DVD misses out on;

    The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on;

    It is obvious that the R1 version is the disc of choice. It would appear that the R4 transfer is marginally better than the R1 transfer, but unfortunately the extras that we miss out on are too numerous to recommend the R4 version.

Summary

    Highlander Endgame was an enjoyable movie that didn't require a lot of thought. Recommended for fans of the Highlander franchise as a better sequel than all the sequels preceding it.

    The video quality is just short of reference quality.

    The audio quality is superb, let down by a couple of annoying problems

    The selection of extras is very good but disappointing when compared to the R1 release.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Nick Jardine (My bio, it's short - read it anyway)
Tuesday, September 25, 2001
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-535, using S-Video output
DisplayRCA 80cm. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-DS787, THX Select
SpeakersAll matching Vifa Drivers: centre 2x6.5" + 1" tweeter (d'appolito); fronts and rears 6.5" + 1" tweeter; centre rear 5" + 1" tweeter; sub 10" (150WRMS)

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