Let’s get one thing straight: Highlander (1986) does not need to be remade, reimagined or rebooted. It shouldn’t be remade, reimagined or rebooted. There can be only one.
But if it must be done, it has to be done right. With respect.
Director Cedric Nicolas-Troyan is off to a good start by making an excellent casting decision for the Big Bad. Dave Bautista, better known as Drax the Destroyer from last summer’s epic Guardians of the Galaxy, has signed on to play the Kurgan, the menacing barbarian baddie who challenges hero Connor MacLeod.
Clancy Brown made an indelible impression in the original with his imposing size and gravelly, groaning voice, so Bautista has his work cut out for him.
After last week’s pilot did the heavy lifting of establishing the show’s premise and setting up the loopy (and complicated) mythology, the second episode of SLEEPY HOLLOW had the equally tough job of setting up and status quo of the ongoing series and, luckily, it did an excellent job.
It does look like SH will follow a “monster of the week” formula, with each creature filling in some of the mythology and giving us an excuse to learn Ichabod’s and Abbie’s backstory. I do like the winking hubris of the script, suggesting that our two leads are fated to endure seven years of biblical tribulations — that stretch would get them well into syndication territory.
It was with a skeptical eye that I sat down to watch Fox’s new supernatural-tinged series, SLEEPY HOLLOW, and I was also wary about liking it because the last Monday Fox show I liked in that time slot was ALCATRAZ, and we all know what happened there.
I ended up liking SLEEPY HOLLOW quite a bit, which surprised me, because I wasn’t expecting all that much: Even if the pilot is good, I thought, where can a weekly series go? How much comedy material can the producers squeeze from Ichabod Crane as a fish out of time? Will they meet How does the Headless Horseman find his targets?
Turns out, there’s quite a lot of potential, thanks to some clever reimagining of the premise. Making the Headless Horseman into the personification of Death and tying him to something bigger, mainly the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, was a smart move and opens up the possible storylines for the series by expanding it from a parochial story into something that could, as Crane himself says, affect every man, woman and child in the world.
The director of the completely superfluous Highlander reboot, Juan Carlos Fresnadillo, has abandoned the project, citing that old favorite, creative differences. I assume he wanted to be creative, which must have horrified the producers of the remake. (Hello? A remake is creatively bankrupt from the word go, so don’t try to excuse them.)
Fresnadillo helmed the workmanlike 28 Weeks Later, and tried to bring a little something different to the sequel to Danny Boyle’s masterful 28 Days Later, so Fresnadillo was probably one of the better choices for the new project-that-no-one-asked-for.
Sadly, the remake idea is not dead; Summit Entertainment – which inflicted the Twilight franchise on movie theaters everywhere – is now looking to start over after almost a year in preproduction under Fresnadillo. One shudders to think about Summit execs demanding a teen love story for the immortal hero. However, it is possible that this major shakeup will prompt lead actor Ryan Reynolds to search for another franchise to
ruin latch onto.
If you’re dying to see a Highlander film, go rent the real thing, THE ONLY ONE: the 1986 original, starring Christopher Lambert, Sean Connery and Clancy Brown in his greatest villain role, all directed by Russell Mulcahy. And no one is going to improve on the soundtrack by Queen!
But what do you think? Is there room for a modern reimagining of a 1980s classic?
Just chop off my head now…
I somehow managed to miss this information when it was announced, and remained blissfully unaware for almost two weeks, but it has finally ruined my day: Ryan Reynolds will star in the (completely unnecessary) reboot of Highlander. Reynolds will play Connor McLeod, a 16th-century Scotsman who discovers that he one of a dwindling race of immortals fated to fight amongst themselves until only one of their number is left.
The 1986 original film was directed by Russell Mulcahy (who never again did anything worthwhile, in my book) and starred Frenchman Christopher Lambert as the Scottish Connor, and Scotsman Sean Connery as an Egyptian masquerading as a Spaniard, Juan Sanchez Villa-Lobos Ramirez. The Immortals can only be killed by decapitation, and they were compelled to battle each other through history until only one remained. The winner obtained “The Prize” — mortality and the ability to sense the thoughts of everyone in the world.