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What's Wrong With Endgame?

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  • David McMurdo
    started a topic What's Wrong With Endgame?

    What's Wrong With Endgame?

    I started my topic for stating the positives of Endgame, so now I'm starting one in which people can say what they didn't like about the film. Even though it's my favourite Highlander film, I can think of more than a few things that bother me.


    1: Connor's curse. I really love the back story between Kell and Connor as far as the Highlands of Scotland go, but I really hate the idea that Kell has been killing all of Connor's friends and lovers down through the ages for the simple fact that it colours all of Connor's life and changes not only what we've already seen of his past, but what we imagined of it. It didn't need to be written this way.

    2: The Sanctuary. This makes no sense to me. If you're an immortal who is sick and tired of the game, why wouldn't you just kill yourself? Remember that imprisonment in the Sanctuary is forever. Why would you ever choose this state of undeath over plain old death? And of course the Sanctuary only makes sense if it's built on Holy Ground, but then Endgame's plot wouldn't work, and I'm sure you all know that in the theatrical cut it was on Holy Ground but that they changed it for the Producer's Cut. The one thing that I do like about the Sanctuary concept is the idea that some rogue Watchers want to imprison immortals to keep the Prize from being won. That's a cool idea. But I think that the Sanctuary only makes sense if you have it that the immortals are abducted and kept there against their will, though that would have nothing to do with anything in Endgame's plot, aside from that minor bit where Duncan is captured.

    3: Christopher Lambert looks old, and there's no real reason for it. I've seen even fairly recent interviews in which he looks much better than in Endgame. Bad hair and makeup is responsible here.

    4: Jin Ke's death. Originally Jin Ke was meant to decapitate himself instead of dying at the hands of Kell. They claimed that they just couldn't get the shot to look right and so went with what we have. I actually don't believe this, because you could very easily have just cut away from the decapitation itself or otherwise have it off screen. They only did it hundreds of times in the TV series. What I actually think happened was that they realised that even if Jin Ke did decapitate himself, his quickening would just go to the nearest immortal anyway, and so it wouldn't make sense. But Jin Ke just letting Kell kill him doesn't sit right either. I think that this, like a lot of the film's plot issues (especially the one about the Sanctuary) is just the result of a poorly thought out script that didn't pay much heed to Highlander lore.

    5: That repeated shot. This film has so much going on and so many interesting characters that it really needs to be considerably longer to do it all justice, and the existing edits are weird in their own ways. I've been thinking about this particular oddity for nearly twenty years and I'm still no closer to figuring out why the Producer's Cut repeats a shot in the final battle between Kell and Duncan. Based on what I've seen of the unused footage, that entire last battle is a complete mess in terms of showing where Kell and Duncan are meant to be at any given time. One minute they're in one place and then the next they're in another that doesn't seem related. But that repeated shot gets me every time. I once showed the film to a bunch of people who weren't Highlander fans, hoping they wouldn't notice. But they did. And one of them said, "wow. I've never seen that in a film before." Pretty embarrassing.

    6: The face morphing. I know a lot of fans hated the face morphing shots during the final fight, but regardless of how you feel about them I really think that you have to take an all or nothing approach with experimental elements like this—either you keep all of the face morphing shots or you cut all of them out. In the Producer's Cut they leave the first one in, but then cut the second one out (though in a way that's clumsy so you still see a bit of it). I really liked that second face morph. I used to play through the quiz on my Region 1 DVD set on hard difficulty just to see it, since it was basically the reward for winning. That Region 1 Endgame DVD was a real treat. The Region 2 one sucked. It had nearly no extra features at all. Unfortunately, I later gave that Region 1 DVD set to a Canadian girl I met. Wish I hadn't now. It was a hassle importing the Region 1 versions of the films and TV series and it wasn't cheap either. I bet she never even watched it. What greater token of love could there be than a copy of Highlander Endgame?

    7: Is it Christmas? I know about the cut Christmas Tree plot, but they still leave in Joe saying "Merry Christmas" after he shoots Matthew, and you're like, "oh wait... it's Christmas?! Or is that just a terrible one-liner?" There's a Christmas tree in the background, but still it's confusing. It's almost as if it's only Christmas in that particular room. Probably should have cut that line out. And what's with the dubbing of Duncan and Kate towards the end? Could they really not get Adrian Paul back to record some lines? I can only assume that the final scene in the Producer's Cut is meant to be a New Year's celebration.

    8: The JVC sign. In the theatrical cut there's a massive, distracting JVC sign in the background of the fight between Connor and Duncan. In the Producer's Cut they tried to digitally erase it, but only partially succeeded. On the DVD commentary the producers' claimed that no-one noticed it during filming, which may well be the most obvious lie ever uttered by a human. So you spent hours, possibly days setting up and filming this scene that involved complex choreography, but not one person on the crew noticed a giant, glowing, red sign overshadowing it all? Okay.

    I think that's about it. I've restricted myself to being critical of what's actually in the film. If I were to talk about what I thought should have been done, I'd never finish this post.


    So what do you dislike about Endgame?
    Last edited by David McMurdo; 05-24-2017, 06:35 PM.

  • Coolwater
    commented on 's reply
    It's not that Duncan doesn't kill. He kills in self-protection and he kills when he thinks it is a moral or practical necessity. Even then, he always talks first ("We don't have to do this."). If the film were better written, Duncan would have explained Kate/Faith's situation to her and demonstrated his own immortality to her. He might have forced the first death on her (women had NO rights and even a mortal husband could usually get away with killing his wife), but he'd have explained it to her first.
    And once she had been killed and reborn, Duncan would have had a legal right and expectation that she couldn't just run off. he'd have gone after her.

  • LizzyB
    replied
    Originally posted by Andrew NDB View Post

    But why? Just curious. So many "friends" of Duncan and so on have come by Duncan's own hand in the series itself.
    Katie's death just feels like selfishness on Duncan's part and arrogance and while he's almost certainly displayed these traits previously (I say almost because it's been a long time since I had a rewatch and my memory is hazy, especially on the latter seasons), this just feels like more than someone being a bit self-centred, he shows little or no understanding of how Kate might process the news of her potential immortality, he doesn't even seem to consider telling her, he just makes a decision that has far reaching consequences.
    Last edited by LizzyB; 08-09-2017, 12:34 PM.

    Leave a comment:


  • dubiousbystander
    replied
    The Kate thing seems just written for the sake of drama. Also, "Oh noes, if they don't suffer a violent death they won't become Immortal!" being long known by most folks was just too out of the blue.

    Leave a comment:


  • Andrew NDB
    replied
    Originally posted by LizzyB View Post

    Yeah, Duncan killing Kate is a problem for me too, it just seems so out of character. It's one of the two big faults I see with Endgame (the other is the death of Connor. I felt like that was done purely for shock value - "Ooh I know, let's kill off the main character of the series! No one will see it coming!" I once attempted to rewrite Endgame so Connor didn't die, but I didn't get very far. Might go back to it one day if I can get the file back). The other things are smaller issues - I'd have incapacitated Rachel, rather than killing her outright and Methos could have had a bigger part, stuff like that - but the two big ones for me are Connor and Kate's deaths at Duncan's hands.
    But why? Just curious. So many "friends" of Duncan and so on have come by Duncan's own hand in the series itself.

    Leave a comment:


  • LizzyB
    replied
    Originally posted by Aleander View Post
    Well, Culloden makes sense enough, as he's left Scotland, but visits Ireland because of how it reminds him of his home... I'd argue killing Kate is the breaking point for him, the point where he abandons even his Scots accent after this, and truly becomes a man of the world like his mentor.

    But yeah, Duncan killing Kate out of the blue is still very uncharacteristic of him. At any age.
    Yeah, Duncan killing Kate is a problem for me too, it just seems so out of character. It's one of the two big faults I see with Endgame (the other is the death of Connor. I felt like that was done purely for shock value - "Ooh I know, let's kill off the main character of the series! No one will see it coming!" I once attempted to rewrite Endgame so Connor didn't die, but I didn't get very far. Might go back to it one day if I can get the file back). The other things are smaller issues - I'd have incapacitated Rachel, rather than killing her outright and Methos could have had a bigger part, stuff like that - but the two big ones for me are Connor and Kate's deaths at Duncan's hands.

    Leave a comment:


  • Coolwater
    commented on 's reply
    Connor would have to tattoo "fun!" on his arm!

  • dubiousbystander
    replied
    Giggling. Andrew's Connor & Duncan show addresses that. Connor introduces himself, and the women fall all over him. Duncan introduces himself, and the women are iffy. Methos introduces himself and can't get a word out before the women adore him. Or am I remembering that that quite correctly? Probably not...

    Leave a comment:


  • Tootsie Bee
    replied
    Another continuity error introduced by this film: when the elder Highlander introduces himself to Duncan in the flashback by saying, "I'm Connor MacLeod of the clan MacLeod," we don't immediately cut to a passionate blue-lit love scene. That's a basic failure to stick to the franchise formula up to that point. The Power of Seduction is an essential part of Connor's character in the first three films.

    Leave a comment:


  • Aleander
    replied
    Not really. He was more shocked Duncan jumped with the precision he did.

    God, I hate that moment.

    Leave a comment:


  • Andrew NDB
    replied
    Originally posted by Aleander View Post
    Yeah, Kane's the best in the entire franchise, although Katana's in 2 is a close second.

    But I was refering more to the finish move. Duncan just jumps over Kell, who's stunned for some reason? Come on!
    He was shocked by Duncan harnessing the Power Illusion to spook him with Connor.

    Leave a comment:


  • dubiousbystander
    commented on 's reply
    Hahahah I almost said that, but you beat me to it days ago.

  • Nicholas Ward
    replied
    Highlander and Endgame have the better final Quickenings though.

    Leave a comment:


  • Leto II
    replied
    ^ Absolutely love those beheadings in H3 -- very brutal and "juicy" (if that makes sense).

    Leave a comment:


  • Aleander
    replied
    Yeah, Kane's the best in the entire franchise, although Katana's in 2 is a close second.

    But I was refering more to the finish move. Duncan just jumps over Kell, who's stunned for some reason? Come on!

    Leave a comment:


  • Andrew NDB
    replied
    Originally posted by Aleander View Post
    Speaking of which, Duncan's decap of Kell... man, that is AWFUL. The whole jump was just ineptly done.
    I'm not the hugest fan of the way the dummy body looks when it goes over the rails, but it's still better than Kurgan's not-quite-a-visible-beheading. Kane's was visually the best.

    Leave a comment:


  • Tootsie Bee
    commented on 's reply
    ...which is why he should have tried it on Bull from Night Court.

  • Aleander
    replied
    Speaking of which, Duncan's decap of Kell... man, that is AWFUL. The whole jump was just ineptly done.

    Leave a comment:


  • Coolwater
    replied
    Works with capes on bulls.

    Leave a comment:


  • Tootsie Bee
    replied
    No, the "dupe your opponent into charging at you like an idiot, then turn around and cut off his head as he passes by" technique.


    Properly executed, that move is surprisingly effective.

    Leave a comment:


  • Andrew NDB
    replied
    Originally posted by Tootsie Bee View Post
    Connor should've taught him the move he used to kill Kurgan
    The "look for a woman to wait in the shadows and smack my adversary with a pipe at a key moment so I can take the advantage" move? That one?

    Leave a comment:


  • Tootsie Bee
    commented on 's reply
    Shh! I can rewrite Endgame however I want!

  • Aleander
    replied
    That finishing move in 1 and 3? Yeah, that'd have been real useful. After all, he won the Prize with that move.

    Leave a comment:


  • Aleander
    commented on 's reply
    You meant Kane, there?

  • Tootsie Bee
    replied
    Connor should've taught him the move he used to kill Kurgan and Kell instead, methinks.

    Leave a comment:

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