I love the original Highlander.
It is a bad film.
I know there are a ton of you out there right now saying “What are you talking about?” “Fuck you!” and “Highlander is awesome” and I don’t disagree. It’s an awesome film. Bust it’s not very good and that’s kind of what makes it awesome.
A friend of mine once summed this up by saying it was a movie that had a French man playing a Scot, A Scot playing an Egyptian (by way of Spain) and an American playing a Russian. This complete miscasting is part of the charm of Highlander. None of these elements should work. A movie about a group of immortals that cut each others’ heads off for the prize, a prize they have no idea what it is, and they’ve stayed hidden so long.
On a whole, the movie has a lot of questions and plot holes you can drive a truck through.
Later sequels and tv shows tried to answer these questions with answers with even more plot holes in them but I digress.
And now they want to remake it.
To be fair, they’ve been wanting to remake this film for a long time and I can see it almost being warranted. No, I’m not going back on what I said, I still think Hollywood should work on getting some original properties going but as far as reboots go, I can see this property having some legs and merit.
But not the way Hollywood wants to do it.
Well, assuming on past reboot instances, not how they want to do it. I could be wrong here.
So how would I reboot Highlander?
Funny you should ask. Here is my step by step guide on how I would do it.
I’d keep the general idea the same. Immortals, head severing, etc. What I’d mostly change is characters and story development. I’d keep Connor MacLeod and tweak his origin a little. I’d still have him killed on the field of battle but not by The Kurgan. Even in a hokey movie like Highlander, that never made any sense to me. How they hell did he know MacLeod was going to be an immortal (first person that brings up Highlander 2‘s retarded explanation gets punched in the face). I wouldn’t keep him in Scotland either. After his banishment from his town, I’d have MacLeod on the move. If you really think the idea has legs, make the first one an origin story as opposed to the contest itself. Sure, set up the rules and the head chopping etc, but don’t actually make it the final days of the immortals. This gives you a lot of room to play with and really makes the story something new and fresh.
Change up the weapons a little as well. Have a villain wield a battle axe for instance. Don’t just stick to different kinds of swords.
Speaking of which, maybe it’s time to change the characters up a little.
MacLeod should be Scottish but who says anything about Ramirez? Make him a little bit more ethnic and world weary.
Which brings us to the Kurgan.
Keep the core, but reinvent.
The Kurgan is supposed to be this bad ass who has killed more immortals then the rest of them (hence why he’s powerful). I’d keep that but I’d make him a little more monstrous. Have him be around for a long time, just a few steps shy of a caveman. There is nothing fancy about this guy. He is just rage and power, hence MacLeod would actually be able to beat him with skill and smarts.
I’m going to go with the presumption that I don’t have much choice in director but of the rumors, I like Justin Lin. Best known for his Fast and Furious work, I really like what he did with the last sequel and I think he might be able to pull of something here that at least looks a little different.
Plus I’m trying to get my Highlander in at a good budget.
Conner MacLeod should be someone new or relatively new. Sorry, Ryan Reynolds, I wouldn’t cast you in this part even though the real world is looking to prove me wrong. Seriously though, I’d try to go with some relatively unknown.
For Ramirez, Idris Elba. Great actor, can bring something different to the part and he won’t try and do a Sean Connery impression. If you want to make your Highlander stand out from past incarnations, here’s a way to do it and do it well. It also adds a touch of respectability to the movie… or maybe I’m overestimating that due to my slight man-crush on Elba.
The Kurgan is a tough one. The original film got lucky and snagged Clancy Brown who did a great job with his part. If we go with my pitch where he’s almost a throwback to caveman days, you need a guy in a suit or CGI. Normally, Ron Pearlman (at least for a voice) would be my go-to guy but I’m thinking… now bear with me… Viggo Mortensen. Viggo is good at changing his voice and has a solid command of both acting and accents. It’d also be interesting to see Viggo take on the part of a villain again.
Resist the urge to do a Queen cover album. One song is okay but not a whole album.
Now going through it, these aren’t bad ideas. But it’s really just a way for me to deal with the fact that someone is remaking a favorite film of mine. There’s no real reason to do this. Take all the talent you have working on this remake and put it into a new idea. Something we haven’t already seen. Hell, with a bit of tweaking, my idea could become a completely original film…
on second thought… forget I said any of this… um… er… if you’re gonna geek out, GEEK HARD!