Cobbled together from two unrelated episodes of the syndicated "Highlander" TV series ("The Gathering" and "Revenge Is Sweet"), HIGHLANDER: THE GATHERING is a disjointed pastiche intended as a segue from the feature films starring Christopher Lambert as an immortal warrior to the TV series
starring Adrian Paul.
Immortal Duncan "Mac" MacLeod (Adrian Paul) owns an antique shop, where he is visited and challenged to a swordfight by evil Immortal Slan (Richard Moll). Mac's kinsman Connor MacLeod (Christopher Lambert) appears and fights off Slan. Connor, Mac, and his girlfriend Tessa (Alexandra Vandernoot)
discuss how Connor trained Mac in The Rules: As centuries-old Immortals, they can only be killed if their heads are cut off. Immortals are fated to battle each other in The Game until only one is left alive. The last living Immortal will gain ultimate power that, in the hands of an evil Immortal,
would be sufficient to enslave mankind. When Slan challenges Mac to meet him in battle, Connor knocks Mac out and takes his place. Connor battles Slan, but is knocked off a bridge just as Mac arrives. Finishing the job, Mac beheads Slan.
Six months later: Mac battles immortal Reinhardt (Christopher Ohrt) atop a restaurant. Mac disarms Reinhardt, hurls him off the roof into the bay and takes his sword. Some time later, Rebecca (Vanity) visits Mac's shop. She appears to recognize Reinhardt's sword, and considers buying it, but
insists Mac fence with her. Seeing his enemy's sword sparks Mac's memory of first meeting Reinhardt as an 18th-century highwayman. Mac recognizes Rebecca's fencing technique and wonders if Reinhardt was her teacher. Mac knows Reinhardt apparently died sometime earlier, but is suspicious that the
Immortal was killed by someone else. Meanwhile, Mac's friend Richie (Stan Kirsch) learns that Reinhardt was engaged to a "mystery woman" before he "died."
Rebecca vows to kill Mac because she believes Mac could only have gotten the sword away from Reinhardt (her fiance) by killing him. Meanwhile, Reinhardt kidnaps Richie and makes him tell Mac that he, Richie, was kidnapped by Rebecca; this in an effort to have Mac fight Rebecca. Mac goes to
Rebecca's house and tries to explain that Reinhardt is really still alive. When Reinhardt arrives, he sees Mac strike down Rebecca. Reinhardt boasts that as a superior being, he manipulated both the mortal Rebecca and the immortal Mac. Enraged to hear that she was being manipulated by Reinhardt,
Rebecca reveals that she was not harmed by Mac; she had just been pretending to see if Reinhardt would show up to save her. Reinhardt knocks her out. Mac and Reinhardt battle, with the villain losing his head. Rebecca apologizes to Mac for her earlier suspicions.
The origins of HIGHLANDER: THE GATHERING are evident from the limited special effects and preponderance of talking heads, as well as the obvious breaks for commercials. Nonetheless, it effectively establishes the premise, filling in necessary Highlander lore while spinning the story in a new
direction. Fans will find this irresistible, and non-fans will not feel completely lost amid a solid adventure yarn. The sword fighting is very realistic and exciting, with sharp stuntwork.
Having starred in the three HIGHLANDER theatrical films--HIGHLANDER (1986), HIGHLANDER 2: THE QUICKENING (1991), and HIGHLANDER: THE FINAL CONFLICT (1994)--Christopher Lambert has his character down cold, moving with self-assurance through the fantastical landscape wielding his trademark Japanese
sword. Newcomer Adrian Paul brings an easy-going charm to a role he hasn't quite settled into. In villainous roles, Richard Moll and Vanity bring little more than imposing bulk and disarming beauty, respectively. (Violence, adult situations, sexual situations, nudity.)
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