|Highlander III: The Final Dimension|
The third film in the saga of Connor MacLeod, The Final Dimension, also known as Highlander III: The Sorcerer, Highlander III: The Magician, or Highlander 3: The Final Conflict, pits the Highlander against three Immortals who were removed from the effects of The Gathering during the 1985 original film. This sequel ignores the events of Highlander II: The Quickening and take place in an other reality.
The Far East
In his wanderings after the death of Heather, Connor travels to Japan to request training from the Immortal Japanese sorcerer Nakano, an acquaintance and teacher of Ramírez. Nakano holds his residence in a cave of Mount Niri, and has gained a reputation as a master of illusion. The training is never completed, however, as evil Immortal Kane is also interested in mastering the power of Illusion. Nakano had denied him training two centuries ago, but Kane has gained in experience and ability since that time. He rampages his way across Asia in order to reach Nakano again. When Kane reaches the cave, he is quick to defeat and decapitate Nakano, despite the sorcerer and Connor's attempts to prevent this. However the energies released during Nakano's Quickening cause the cave to collapse, burying Kane and his two Immortal lieutenants under tons of rock. MacLeod manages to escape, and leaves Kane for dead.
In 1788/1789, Connor travels to France to visit a friend, the Marquis de Condorcet. While visiting, he makes the acquaintance of Sarah Barrington, an Englishwoman visiting relatives there. At Condorcet's suggestion, the two spend time together, and eventually become lovers. However, when the French Revolution begins, MacLeod becomes involved at the behest of his Immortal friend, Pierre Bouchet.
MacLeod is captured, and sentenced to death by guillotine for treason against King Louis XVI of France. However, Pierre Bouchet, tired of his Immortal life, tricks the guards into executing him in his place. Connor is falsely reported deceased. Believing her lover dead, Sarah is left grieving. After his escape, MacLeod returns to discover that she has moved on with her life, marrying another man, and bearing his children. Disheartened, Connor departs without a word.
In 1994, Connor is again a widower. Brenda, his last wife, has died in a car accident in 1987, after only two years of marriage. He is left alone to raise their adopted son, John MacLeod, in Marrakesh, Morocco. Despite his loss, Connor remains at peace for the first time in centuries. This peace proves short-lived, though. In Japan, archaeologist Dr. Alexandra "Alex" Johnson has started an archeological dig on Mount Niri, searching for clues on the history of the sorcerer's legend. When her team stumbles onto the remains of Nakano's cave, Kane and his lieutenants immediately revive and fight their way out, killing a guard. Kane also takes the head of one of his men himself, and sends the other out to find the Highlander. In Morocco, Connor immediately senses the presence of the Immortals and realizes the truth: The Game is still on, and MacLeod is still Immortal.
Connor packs and leaves immediately for New York, hoping to keep his family out of harm's way while Kane is drawn to him. A random encounter with a New York street gang, however, leaves the Highlander sedated in a Manhattan hospital, easy prey for his enemies. Breaking out, MacLeod is forced into combat when Kane's lieutenant arrives on the scene and attempts to take the Highlander's head for himself. Utilizing a trick learned from Nakano, however, MacLeod quickly disarms and decapitates the lieutenant. Unfortunately, this act quickly draws the attention of the NYPD, particularly Lt. John Stenn, who remembers "Russell Nash" and the Headhunter killings of 1985.
Meanwhile, Alex Johnson has discovered a scrap from MacLeod's old tartan in Nakano's cave, and has traced it to him in New York. When she arrives at MacLeod's door, hoping to interview "Russell Nash" about his ancestry to the MacLeods, Connor is stunned — Alex is the spitting image of his lost love Sarah. Despite this, the Highlander dismisses her, choosing to focus on his more immediate goal of drawing out Kane, who has also arrived in the city (via teleportation). Connor's goal is realized all too soon, as Kane ambushes him during an aikido practice at a Buddhist temple. Despite MacLeod's warnings about Holy Ground, Kane proceeds to attack, laying on a flurry of sword strikes that shatter the blade of Connor's prized Masamune katana. Before Kane can administer the killing stroke, however, a thunderclap of energy shakes the room. Realizing he cannot violate Holy Ground, Kane leaves the Highlander to contemplate his situation.
Desperate to restore his broken blade before Kane returns, Connor returns to his ancestral home inGlenfinnan, Scotland, and attempts to reforge the sword. His efforts prove futile, however, until Alex arrives with the answer: a block of steel specially forged by Nakano himself. Finally remembering the sword craft learned at the side of his old teacher, Connor quickly forges a new blade for his weapon. He also comes to terms with the fact that he has fallen in love with Alex, and the two consummate their relationship in a Glenfinnan hotel room.
Kane, however, has not been idle, and has discovered the whereabouts of John MacLeod. Unleashing a devastating illusion learned from his Quickening of Nakano, Kane transforms himself into a duplicate of Connor, and tricks the boy into traveling to New York. Quickly taking John captive, Kane sets him up as bait for MacLeod. The Highlander quickly comes to his foster son's rescue, and fights through a maze of Illusion magic within a New Jersey oil refinery. In a final confrontation, Connor's swordsmanship proves the better, and he takes his old adversary's head. With the Prize firmly back in his hands, MacLeod resumes his new life with Alex and John.
|Christopher Lambert||Connor MacLeod / Russell Nash|
|Mario Van Peebles||Kane|
|Deborah Kara Unger||Alex Johnson / Sarah|
|Raoul Trujillo||Warrior #1|
|Jean-Pierre Perusse||Warrior #2|
|Martin Neufeld||Lt. John Stenn|
|Frederick Y. Okimura||Old Japanese Man|
|Louis Bertignac||Pierre Bouchet|
|Michael Jayston||Jack Donovan|
|Akira Inoue||Innkeeper's Son|
|Darcy Laurie||Banger 1|
Stephen Holden of The New York Times remarked, "How could an action-adventure film that cost $34 million, most of which clearly went into pyrotechnics, computerized special effects and scenic locations, end up looking cheap, silly and lifeless? [The film is] an incoherent mess [and] has performances that are one-dimensional even by the undemanding standards of the genre."
The BBC's review gave the film a score of two stars out of five, saying: "This is a far superior film to Highlander II [but] it is really a copy of the first one. ... It really feels as if the Highlander story has no more to give us—but that would be very wrong. Perhaps the best thing this third movie did was promote the generally better TV series."
Christopher Null of FilmCritic.com also gave Highlander III two stars out of five, saying: "The third in a line of increasingly perplexing Highlander movies, Highlander: The Final Dimension steals wholesale the plot from the original, just throwing in some fresh faces. ... Ultra-fans will rejoice in the face of the third installment—and it's nowhere near as bad as Highlander II—but most of you can give it a pass."
- Some scenes for this film were shot in Morocco.
- The rock beat heard during the final fight is a reworking of Mötley Crüe's "Dr. Feelgood."
- Reportedly, Christopher Lambert considered this film to be the "real" sequel to the original film, since the actual Highlander II was such a radical departure from what the first film established.
- The U.S. theatrical release was rated PG-13, and a slightly-longer R-rated Special Director's Cut was later released on home video, with two sex-scenes trimmed from the theatrical release restored. Aside from this, additional violence was reinstated, mainly the shot of Kane's head rolling off. The PG-13 theatrical cut originally only showed Kane's head wobbling from side to side, then cutting immediately to the extreme close up on Connor saying, "There can be only one."
- At one point, Christopher Lambert walked off the production over a pay dispute.
- In the European version of the film, Kane says, "The Highlander is out there somewhere, and he owes me for all those years," after he escapes from the cave in 1994. In the US version, he says, "The Highlander is out there somewhere, and he owes me 400 years." It makes a little more sense in the European version because Kane would have no way of knowing how long he was in the cave.
Similarities to Highlander (1986)
In keeping with the idea of continuity between the first movie and the third (Christopher Lambert has commented that The Final Dimension is the "true sequel to Highlander"), the film has several similarities with the original movie, namely:
- Both films show Connor MacLeod in a Scottish kilt. The first three films also share an opening flashback with his original, longer hair.
- Both of Connor's mentors (Juan Sanchez Villa-Lobos Ramirez and Nakano) are beheaded by the main villains (The Kurgan and Kane, respectively). All three films have villains whose names begin with a "K".
- Both villains provoke Connor while standing on Holy Ground, with insults against his sexuality.
- After being decapitated by Connor, both Kane and The Kurgan's headless bodies move a bit longer, with the resulting Quickening levitating Connor.
- MacLeod is stabbed in the abdomen by the main villain, and is spared from beheading in his first encounter. In the present-day timeline, he is spared from beheading again in battle, with the villain screaming "There can be only one!" before the attempted coup de grace.
- During the Quickening sequences, the decapitated bodies levitate and emit a pale bluish light before the Quickening is absorbed by the victor (the exception being Ramirez's Quickening).
- The original script for Highlander 3 — which was written by René Manzor (here) or/and Brad Mirman — was a drastically different version, compared to the final version. The flashback sequences took place in Scotland and England, rather than Japan and France. In the flashbacks we see Connor using Ramirez’s samurai sword.
- Originally, the main villain was an Immortal named Kilvara, and, like Kane, he was a master of Illusion, which he learned from a mortal wizard condemned to death, and he was also trapped in a cave with two servants after killing an Immortal.
- Deborah Unger's character, Alex Johnson, was originally named "Jennifer Hillman."
- Connor MacLeod had a new mentor in the form of Thomas Cavanaugh ("Fear not, my friend -- we're all going to die. It's just going to take us longer, that's all."), whom he met in 17th century Scotland. Cavanaugh was a teacher like Ramirez. He was beheaded by guillotine, and the shock of the Quickening allowed Connor to escape.
- Rachel also appeared in the script, and played a relatively big part in the story, as did Detective Bedsoe, who followed Connor in the original film. Now a more cynical man, he was promoted to Lieutenant, seemed a bit apprehensive of MacLeod.
- The final battle took place in a museum, rather than an abandoned factory.
- "Ce He Mise le Ulaingt? The Two Trees" by Loreena McKennitt's CD entitled "The Mask and Mirror"
- "Bonny Portmore" by Loreena McKennitt
- "God Took A Picture" by Suze DeMarchi
- "Bluebeard by Cocteau Twins
- "Dr. Feelgood" by Mötley Crüe (instrumental riff)