|Thoughts on Endgame
So it's not much of a secret that I've been waiting for this movie since the last notes of Bonny Portmore faded away at the end of Not to Be, and I'm sure there are a great many people who don't feel I'm an unbiased audience. Guess what? You're right, I'm not. Which means that I wouldn't have been satisfied with anything calling itself Highlander that didn't manage to deliver the goods. And Endgame most certainly does deliver the goods -- in spades.
The really good stuff:
Adrian Paul as Duncan MacLeod looks incredible, way, way beyond incredible. He slips back into Duncan as though he'd never left, and all of those months he spent honing his fighting skills before shooting started paid off. The fight sequences are faster than fast -- and no, none of Duncan's fights are sped up; he's simply gotten that good. Duncan's fight with Jin Ke (Donny Yen) is worth the price of admission alone. And sue me, Duncan running halfway up the wall of Connor's ruined loft while fighting off three armed immies at once really works for me.
The student/teacher relationship between Duncan and Connor that gradually evolves into friends, then close friends, then brothers of the heart was something we'd never seen enough of in the series, simply because they didn't have enough money to afford Christophe Lambert. Well, they had the time and the money here. From the moment Connor finds Duncan a few years after Duncan's first death sitting in a bloody bog in Scotland, to six years later in a fencing salon in Ravenna, Italy, to an encounter with a band of highwaymen in Ireland in 1712, to the day of Duncan's ill-fated marriage to Kate three years later, into the present, they fleshed their relationship out and made it come alive for me.
The flashback sequences between the two were my favorites; I thought the snarkiness of the dialogue in the fencing salon in Italy was worthy of a few Duncan/Methos sequences. -- Connor, after showing Duncan a complex attack and its counter: "Properly executed, this move is unstoppable." Duncan: "Properly executed, we'll nay have this talk again." And the sheer fun they had while fighting the highwaymen makes me grin like a fool every time I've seen it.
Speaking of the fights...I've mentioned that Duncan's are out of this world, right?
Christophe does an amazing job of portraying a very world weary, beaten down, present day Connor MacLeod. Connor was always more sober than Duncan, less carefree when we see him in the past, but he and Duncan still had lots of fun together, and you knew that although Connor found the pressures of Immortality more wearing than Duncan did that Connor had never lost his hope, or his will to live. In the present, it seems to be more than Connor can or wants to do to recover from the latest indignity life has dealt him -- Rachael's death in an explosion in 1992. After that Connor hides himself from life in the Sanctuary,and stays there until Jacob Kell forcibly removes him and threatens the last thing Connor gives a damn about in this world. Duncan. "His true brother."
Duncan, Joe and Methos all together again. The boys are back in town, the boys are back in town, the boys are back in town... need I say more? Okay, one more thing: They look good together -- and the relationships we loved from the show are still going strong, better than ever.
Endgame is a movie about redemption, about how to find forgiveness for the mistakes you've made in the past, if indeed you ever can. And because this is Highlander at its very best, there are no easy answers, no happy, warm-fuzzy endings. There are only two men of honor doing what they can to cope with an impossible situation, and dealing with the consequences of their actions, past and present. They've both made horrible mistakes in the past, and they both mishandle things in the present. Duncan is still in denial about his reasons for making Kate an Immortal, and Connor is too frightened of living to see Duncan's death to consider all but the most extreme measures to prevent Kell from accomplishing that goal. Which is good; it means they're both still human, neither one a cardboard cut-out of a hero, but real men, who bleed, and hurt, and laugh, and love, and at the end of the day try and live with themselves and the choices they've made.
And their scene on the rooftop...I've been trying to sum up my feeling about this for quite some time now, in fact, I've finished the rest of this, and kinda sorta edited it and I still can't put into words just how powerful and painful and poignant it is. So I'm not even going to try. This is one that you have to see for yourself.
There are a few things that people might find annoying, Yes, there are those pesky questions about Immortals killing on Holy Ground, and yes, Duncan was married, and has lied about it, more than once, so now we have actual proof that Duncan's capable of telling lies. Oh, the sheer horror of it all!! My God, he's just a man -- why hasn't someone told me before now? But if I hear one more person announce that he could never have been married because a gypsy fortune teller once told him so I may be forced to scream. Loudly. Since when did gypsy fortune tellers become infallible, and why hasn't anyone told me before now? I could've made a fortune in the stock market if only I'd've known.
Methos and Joe don't have a lot of screen time, but what they have is important, and necessary, and moves the plot along. So that's good. Any more would have taken time away from developing from the Duncan and Connor relationship, and that would have been unforgivable. And in case anyone's wondering, slash is alive and well in Highlander. Oh, yeah. Duncan and Methos are obviously at ease again, and they've certainly been spending time together since the end of Not to Be -- like that comes a surprise. So that's another very good thing; I just wish it could've lasted longer. But you know what? At the end of the day, I don't care a whit about any the problems. At all.
Endgame is a movie about Duncan and Connor, about betrayal and redemption, shades of grey and impossible choices, and it delivers everything I'd dared to dream about or hope for, and so very much more.
Long live Highlander!
Joe: "You watch your ass, MacLeod."