Thursday, May 26, 2011

Highlander 2 "Renegade Version"

The follow-up to Russell Mulcahy's Highlander explores the origin of immortals as an ancient yet advanced alien civilization capable of travelling through time.  At the start of the film, Connor MacLeod is an old man, having won his mortality by defeating Kurgan in the previous film.  He becomes young and immortal again, however, when General Katana (a dangerous tyrant from his own realm) seeks him out to destroy the hope for resistance that MacLeod represents.

This film was aesthetically worthless, but it did elaborate upon the conflicted relationship between technology and sorcery in Sword & Sorcery cinema.  In the future world that the film depicts, the ozone layer has been depleted and (inexplicably) it is MacLeod (along with scientist Allan Neyman) who has been instrumental in building an enormous shield to block out the sun and protect the earth from harmful radiation.  Since the construction of the shield, though, a secretive corporation has taken control and is using it to exploit humanity in an economy in which sunlight is inaccessible.  MacLeod must take on both General Katana and the corporation if there is to be any hope or the future.

Perhaps the most interesting thing about this film is its negative portrayal of corporate power and the extremely close relationship it bears to the use of advanced technology for human oppression.  This is dramatized primarily by the antagonism between MacLeod (a lone swordsman) versus an abstruse corporate organization hiding behind layers of complex technology.  At least for this Sword & Sorcery film, it might be said that corporate power, technology, and sorcery all fall on the same (dark) side of the equation.

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