Film Review: Highlander: The Source (2007)

Also known as: Highlander 5 (working title)
Release Date: February 6th, 2007 (Russian DVD premiere)
Directed by: Brett Leonard
Written by: Mark Bradley, Steven Kelvin Watkins
Music by: George Kallis
Cast: Adrian Paul, Peter Wingfield, Jim Byrnes, Thekla Reuten, Cristian Solimeno

Davis-Panzer Productions, HandMade Films, IAC Films, Lionsgate Films, Sci-Fi Channel, 86 Minutes, 99 Minutes (DVD cut), 94 Minutes (alternative DVD cut)

Review:

“I’ll be 314 three weeks from next Tuesday, I’m only a wee lad compared to Giovanni and Methos.” – Reggie Weller

Out of five Highlander films, four of them are shit. This one is the shittiest of them all. Maybe that’s why it was the last and why even though this was the first part of a planned trilogy, all those plans were cancelled.

I had never seen this movie and actually, I didn’t even know it existed until recently when I was reading up on the first film for my review of it. I wasn’t looking forward to rewatching any of the sequels but the thought of sitting through this fifth, mysterious film wasn’t doing my anxiety any favors.

I genuinely feel bad for Adrian Paul for being in this. It is a continuation of his story from the Highlander TV series, as well as following up Paul’s first film as the character, Highlander: Endgame.

Paul is definitely enjoyable as the Duncan MacCleod character and he’s clocked in more hours in the franchise than anyone. So it truly does suck that he had this total fucking turd as his swansong.

This is horrendously acted, atrociously directed and none of it makes sense. The dialogue is beyond despicable and listening to every scene play out is a feat of endurance that no human is capable of surviving. It’s monotone word salad where it feels as if the writers were just picking words out of a thesaurus at random. Since this was filmed in Lithuania, was it also written in English by Lithuanians that didn’t really know English outside of a few common phrases?

The special effects are also terrible and the worst in the franchise, which is impressive, as the first film predates this one by over twenty years.

All this time, I thought that the fourth film put the nail in the Highlander coffin. Nope. They were able to force one more in there.

Rating: 1/10
Pairs well with: staring into the asshole of a large buffalo with bovine viral diarrhea.

TV Review: The Anti-Gravity Room (1995-1997)

Original Run: 1995 – 1997
Created by: Chris Greaves, Ian Murray
Directed by: various
Written by: various
Music by: Angelo Oddi, Ben Johannesen
Cast: Nick Amadeus, Phil Guerrero, Shashi Bhatia, Jaimy Mahlon

YTV, 54 Episodes, 22 Minutes (per episode)

Review:

Man, I dug the hell out of this show back in the day.

The main reason is because there was nothing like it and once upon a time, the Sci-Fi Channel (now Syfy) was pretty cool.

This was the only show, as far as I knew in the mid-’90s, that focused specifically on comic books and video games. It really was the best of both of those worlds, as the presenters interviewed a slew of highly important people in both of those creative mediums.

Also, the show would delve into movies and TV and often times had guest hosts like Kevin Smith and Janeane Garofalo when I still thought they were cool.

The show has almost a public access, no budget feel to it but that’s pretty much what it was. It was actually a Canadian television show that Sci-Fi just decided to air in the United States.

In the end, it kind of came and went pretty quickly but I had fond memories of taping episodes and then binging them late nights on weekends with friends.

Luckily, for those interested, there are several episodes on YouTube thanks to the great people who didn’t throw their VHS tapes away and were then able to upload them for modern audiences to check out.

Rating: 7.5/10

TV Review: The Expanse (2015- )

Original Run: December 14th, 2015 – current
Created by: Mark Fergus, Hawk Ostby
Directed by: various
Written by: various
Based on: The Expanse series of novel by James S. A. Corey
Music by: Clinton Shorter
Cast: Thomas Jane, Steven Strait, Cas Anvar, Dominique Tipper, Wes Chatham, Paulo Costanzo, Florence Faivre, Shawn Doyle, Shohreh Aghdashloo, Frankie Adams, Chad L. Coleman, Jared Harris, Francois Chau, Cara Gee, Elizabeth Mitchell

Penguin in a Parka, SeanDanielCo, Alcon Entertainment, Legendary Television Distribution, Syfy, Amazon, 36 Episodes (so far), 42-44 Minutes (per episode)

Review:

Man, this show really leaves you with a lot to unpack and process. And I mean that in the best way possible.

I had heard a lot of good things about The Expanse and it has been in my queue for a long time. But I figured the time to watch it was now, as it is getting ready to be resurrected by Amazon after it was recently cancelled by Syfy.

Having now seen this, I can’t imagine how it was cancelled other than the ratings just not being there. A show like this is expensive to produce but at the same time, it’s also one of those shows that’s special and you can see that it will find its audience. But maybe that just didn’t happen fast enough for Syfy, just as Halt and Catch Fire had its plug pulled by AMC after four seasons before it started to catch on through word of mouth and streaming services. Now I hear people talk about that show more than when it was on and that seems to be the same with The Expanse now that people feared its axing would be permanent.

I was immediately captivating by the opening sequence of the first episode of this show. It lured you in, was bizarre and it kicked off a big mystery. Little did I know that the mystery itself was just a tiny thread on a large tapestry that once pulled, would keep unraveling in surprising and shocking ways.

This show throws a lot of curveballs while hitting you in the feels and as turbulent as the narrative can be, it works and it keeps you hooked. In fact, this show starts out quite slow but it keeps adding new layers. This is meticulously crafted and I’m not sure if they knew what the long term plan was when they started writing this show or how closely it follows its source material but just after three seasons, this show has a mythos with a lot of depth and a richness that is missing in most television shows and films.

The show does an absolutely stellar job of developing its characters. Almost everyone is likable, even if everyone has very apparent flaws. Somehow, everyone is pretty relatable. Well, except for the human monsters that are doing terrible things behind the scenes.

Additionally, the show is superbly acted. Thomas Jane was a big factor in getting me to watch this in the first place but he’s just one of many talented people. The one person that just shines incredibly brightly is Shohreh Aghdashloo. I’ve always enjoyed her in other things but man, she was born to play the role of Chrisjen Avasarala. She is front and center of every scene she’s in and she makes every talented actor around her, just a bit better.

The world that this takes place in his a future where Earth has colonized Mars, the Moon, the asteroid belt and some of Jupiter’s moons. Things start with tensions at an all-time high and war could break out at any second. And while this features spaceships and space travel, I love that the weapons aren’t lasers and photon torpedoes but that the ships are decked out with Gatling guns, rail guns and nuclear warheads. It makes this world seem more plausible and closer to reality than stuff like Star TrekBattlestar Galactica or The Orville.

The Expanse may not grab your attention right away but it is worth sticking with into the second season where this show’s universe really starts to open up and expand in unforeseen ways.

Rating: 9.25/10
Pairs well with: it’s hard to say, really. There’s nothing like this show but the closest would probably be the modern reimagining of Battlestar Galactica.