Highlander 2: The Quickening (1991)

R | 92 mins | Science fiction | 1 November 1991

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HISTORY

Openings credits are preceded by the prologue: “The year is 2024. Industrial pollution has destroyed the ozone layer, leaving the planet at the mercy of the sun’s ultraviolet rays. An electromagnetic shield now protects the earth. A small group believes that the ozone layer has repaired itself and that the shield is no longer necessary. But no one knows for sure.”
       The 17 Jun 1987 DV announced a nine-picture deal between Davis/Panzer Productions and distributor New Century/Vista Films. Among the first titles to be released was a sequel to Highlander (1986, see entry), provisionally titled Highlander 2—Yellowknife, with a budget of $15-$20 million. Nearly two years later, the 27 May 1989 Screen International reported that sixteen to eighteen weeks of production was expected to begin in Nov 1989, on location in Argentina and Chile. Producers Peter S. Davis and William Panzer attributed delays to an unsatisfactory screenplay, and having no firm commitment from director Russell Mulcahy until Jun 1988. The project, retitled Highlander 2020, no longer had a domestic distributor, and was financed primarily by foreign presales. The 5 Dec 1989 HR estimated presales at $14 million, and identified France’s Deal Films as a major investor. The picture’s title was referenced by its official title, Highlander 2: The Quickening. On 26 Feb 1990, DV reported that the devaluation of the U.S. dollar and “rampant inflation in Argentina” increased the budget to $22 million, although Davis and Panzer were able to persuade the majority of their thirty-two foreign distributors to supply the necessary ... More Less

Openings credits are preceded by the prologue: “The year is 2024. Industrial pollution has destroyed the ozone layer, leaving the planet at the mercy of the sun’s ultraviolet rays. An electromagnetic shield now protects the earth. A small group believes that the ozone layer has repaired itself and that the shield is no longer necessary. But no one knows for sure.”
       The 17 Jun 1987 DV announced a nine-picture deal between Davis/Panzer Productions and distributor New Century/Vista Films. Among the first titles to be released was a sequel to Highlander (1986, see entry), provisionally titled Highlander 2—Yellowknife, with a budget of $15-$20 million. Nearly two years later, the 27 May 1989 Screen International reported that sixteen to eighteen weeks of production was expected to begin in Nov 1989, on location in Argentina and Chile. Producers Peter S. Davis and William Panzer attributed delays to an unsatisfactory screenplay, and having no firm commitment from director Russell Mulcahy until Jun 1988. The project, retitled Highlander 2020, no longer had a domestic distributor, and was financed primarily by foreign presales. The 5 Dec 1989 HR estimated presales at $14 million, and identified France’s Deal Films as a major investor. The picture’s title was referenced by its official title, Highlander 2: The Quickening. On 26 Feb 1990, DV reported that the devaluation of the U.S. dollar and “rampant inflation in Argentina” increased the budget to $22 million, although Davis and Panzer were able to persuade the majority of their thirty-two foreign distributors to supply the necessary funds. The producers also invested $4 million of their own money in the form of “equity and deferrals.” Only two weeks earlier, actor Sean Connery agreed to reprise his role from the 1986 film at a salary of $3 million for ten days’ work. Principal photography began 26 Feb 1990 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. A news item in the 24 Aug 1990 HR stated that the picture was $10 million over budget.
       According to production notes in AMPAS library files, the final cost of the production was $34 million. Actor Christopher Lambert, who appeared in the title role, was reportedly involved in casting and choosing location. Visual effects were planned four months prior to filming, and created over five months of photography and post-production by a fifty-member team. Much of the equipment was shipped from England, such as the swords used by characters “MacLeod” and “Katana,” played by Christopher Lambert and Michael Ironside, respectively. Ironside’s sword was seven feet long and weighed twenty-two pounds, while Lambert’s samurai sword was considerably smaller. The actors performed without stunt doubles, and ruined most of the ten swords supplied to them. A dummy was built to resemble Katana, equipped with locking joints that collapsed when it was decapitated, and a small air cannon that ejected the head. The train wreck scene was staged inside an upside-down subway car, with the passengers suspended by wire over air blowers, to create the illusion of being held against the walls by centrifugal force. Locations included a hangar at an air force base outside Buenos Aires, which served as a hospital ward, a nineteenth-century waterworks that became “Katana’s lair,” the Ullum Dam in San Juan, Argentina, made to resemble the exterior of a prison, and an air base in Moron, Argentina, where the climactic fight scene was filmed. The title character’s apartment was constructed over a three-month period, inspired by the “expressionist and art nouveau” architecture of Buenos Aires. A large street set was also built along the city’s waterfront.
       Despite safety precautions, Argentine set builder Hector Daniel Bazen fell from a twenty-foot scaffold and died of “severe head injuries,” as reported in the 30 Apr 1990 DV. Although Bazen was employed by a local subcontractor, the production company created a trust fund for his two children. A similar accident occurred two weeks earlier, leaving a special effects assistant with a broken leg, and producer William Panzer sustained a broken arm after falling on set.
       The 31 Jul 1991 HR announced Interstar Releasing as the film’s domestic distributor. According to the 7 Nov 1991 HR, Interstar focused much of its $4.4 million budget on radio advertising. The distributor partnered with stations in eighty markets, several of which sponsored preview screenings one week prior to opening. Interstar also challenged theater managers to create their own local promotional campaigns, offering a trip to Scotland, among other prizes, to the most successful. The company circulated 960 prints, explaining that a wider release would not have been profitable.
       Highlander 2: The Quickening opened 1 Nov 1991 to mixed reviews, earning more than $12 million in its first month, as noted in the 27 Nov 1991 DV. In honor of his achievements, William Panzer was awarded the “Golden Scroll” by the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films. The 8 Feb 1991 HR stated that the picture had already opened in Germany, with impending releases in France and Italy.
       The 17 May 1990 DV announced a second sequel, Highlander III—The Magician, planned for Aug 1991.
       End credits include the following statements: “Special thanks: Estudios Baires; Aerolineas Angentinas; Aero Jet-Mirta Betancourt, Juan Ramon Fernandez & Luis Bovio; General Martin Balza; Colombia Sequorios-Horacio Marcelini; Victor Bo; Hospital Britannico & Staff; Arturo Trombini; Carlos Flamini; Animodel; Glendale Studios; Alan Grodin; Mohammed Yusef; Hannah Leader; Richard Soames; Kurt Woolner; Steven Ransohoff”; “The look of the Colon Opera House appears due to the strict requirements of Highlander II and does not represent the normal look of the Opera House”; "Highlander II was shot on location in Argentina”; “Music special thanks: Rob Dickens; Ed Birdwell; Carla Johnson; Robin Godfrey-Cass; David Minns; Shopan Entesari; Debbie Brice; Linda Newmark; Jeffrey Light; Michel Rubini; Lauriann Green; Owen Bjerke; Patty Isaacson; David Sabee; Louisa Parks; Michael Eames.”
       The name of songwriter Jan Stevens is misspelled onscreen as "Stephens." More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
17 Jun 1987
p. 1, 14.
Daily Variety
26 Feb 1990
p. 22, 24.
Daily Variety
30 Apr 1990.
---
Daily Variety
17 May 1990.
---
Daily Variety
27 Nov 1991.
---
Hollywood Reporter
5 Dec 1989.
---
Hollywood Reporter
6 Mar 1990.
---
Hollywood Reporter
21 Mar 1990.
---
Hollywood Reporter
24 Jul 1990.
---
Hollywood Reporter
24 Aug 1990.
---
Hollywood Reporter
8 Feb 1991.
---
Hollywood Reporter
23 Apr 1991.
---
Hollywood Reporter
31 Jul 1991
p. 3, 17.
Hollywood Reporter
4 Nov 1991
p. 5, 17.
Hollywood Reporter
7 Nov 1991.
---
Los Angeles Times
1 Nov 1991
p. 6.
Screen International
27 May 1989.
---
Variety
14 Mar 1990.
---
Variety
2 May 1990.
---
Variety
25 Feb 1991
p. 50.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
A Davis/Panzer Production
A Film by Russell Mulcahy
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
1st asst dir
1st asst dir
Prod mgr
Prod mgr
Asst dir Argentina
2d asst dir
2d asst dir
2d unit dir
2d 2d asst dir
2d 2d asst dir
2d 2d asst dir
Unit prod mgr, 2d unit
Unit prod mgr, 2d unit
1st asst dir, 2d unit
1st asst dir, 2d unit
2d asst dir, 2d unit
2d asst dir, 2d unit
Key grip, 2d unit
Prod mgr, Addl photog unit
PRODUCERS
Line prod
Line prod
Co-prod
Co-prod
Assoc prod
Assoc prod
Exec prod
Exec prod
Line prod, Addl photog unit
WRITERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Photog by, 2d unit
Cam op
Focus puller
Focus puller
Cam loader
Clapper loader
Clapper loader
Steadicam op
Steadicam op
Steadicam asst
Tech consultant
Still photog
Lighting consultant
Gaffer
Best boy
Rigging gaffer
Key grip
Louma crane tech
Louma crane
Cam op, 2d unit
Focus puller, 2d unit
Focus/Loader, 2d unit
1st asst, 2d unit
Stills, 2d unit
Gaffer, 2d unit
Best boy, 2d unit
Key grip, 2d unit
Grip, 2d unit
Dir of photog, Addl photog unit
Cam op, Addl photog unit
Still photog, Addl photog unit
Gaffer, Addl photog unit
Key grip, Addl photog unit
Cam and anamorphic lenses
Loc and lighting equip supplied by
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Opera seq des by
Supv art dir
Art dir
Art dir
Asst art dir
Asst to John King
Storyboard artist London
Storyboard artist Argentina
Storyboard artist Argentina
Art dir, 2d unit
Art asst, 2d unit
Asst to Mr. Dourge, 2d unit
Art dir, Addl photog unit
FILM EDITORS
Post prod supv
1st asst ed
1st asst ed
1st asst ed
1st asst ed
2d asst ed
2d asst ed
Associate ed Argentina
Editorial runner
Editorial runner
Asst to post prod supv
Negative cutting
Negative cutting
SET DECORATORS
Set dresser
Set dresser's asst
Set dresser's asst
Chief draughtsman
Sr draughtsman
Sculptor
Scenic artist
Prop master
Stand-by supv propman
Prop storeman/Dressing supv
Propmaker
Const coord
Const buyer
Asst const coord
Asst const buyer
Supv painter
Supv rigger
Supv carpenter
Supv plasterer
Prop supv, 2d unit
Prop master, Addl photog unit
COSTUMES
Cost des
Opera cost
Assassins' cost
Asst cost des
Ward supv
Men`s cost
Women`s cost
Set supv
Workroom foreman
Head tailor (Men's)
Head tailor (Women's)
Ward asst
Ward workshop organizer
Ward set supv, 2d unit
MUSIC
Exec mus prod
Mus supv
Orch and cond
Music score co-prod & eng
Supv mus prod
Orch rec eng
Loc audio rec
Mus score performed by
Mus dir, Seattle Symphony and Symphony Chorale
SOUND
Sd eff
Supv sd ed
Supv sd ed
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Foley ed
Dubbing consultant
ADR voice casting
ADR voice casting
ADR voice casting
Foley artist
Foley artist
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Prod mixer
Boom man
Cable man
Post prod and re-rec facilities
Post prod and re-rec facilities
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff des
Vis eff des
Dir of photog, Vis eff
Prod for Stargate, Vis eff
Assoc prod, Vis eff
Tech adv, Vis eff
Prod admin, Vis eff
Prod coord, Vis eff
Asst to the prod, Vis eff
Motion control, Vis eff
Laser op, Vis eff
Laser programmer, Vis eff
Matte paintings, Vis eff
Matte paintings, Vis eff
Matte paintings, Vis eff
Cam op, Vis eff
Cam asst, Vis eff
Cam asst, Vis eff
Matte cam op, Vis eff
Const, Vis eff
Ed, Vis eff
Asst ed, Vis eff
Opt supv, Vis eff
Opt cam op, Vis eff
Opt cam op, Vis eff
Opt cam op, Vis eff
Opt cam op, Vis eff
Opt cam op, Vis eff
Rotoscope supv, Vis eff
Rotoscope artist, Vis eff
Rotoscope artist, Vis eff
Rotoscope artist, Vis eff
Rotoscope artist, Vis eff
Anim supv, Vis eff
Eff anim, Vis eff
Eff anim, Vis eff
Eff anim, Vis eff
Key grip, Vis eff
Grip, Vis eff
Grip, Vis eff
Miniature supv, Vis eff
Miniature foreman, Vis eff
Miniature foreman, Vis eff
Model maker, Vis eff
Model maker, Vis eff
Model maker, Vis eff
Model maker, Vis eff
Model maker, Vis eff
Model maker, Vis eff
Miniature pyro, Vis eff
Miniature pyro, Vis eff
Optical asst, Vis eff
Optical asst, Vis eff
Floor supv 1st unit
Floor supv 2d unit
1st unit sr SFX tech
1st unit sr SFX tech
2d unit sr SFX tech
2d unit sr SFX tech
Workshop supv
Sr spec SFX tech
Spec SFX wire specialist
Wire SFX tech
Wire SFX tech
Argentine SFX crew supv
Spec EFX eng
Spec EFX eng
2d unit SFX tech
2d unit SFX tech
Tech consultant
Hair des
Argentine tech
Argentine asst
EFX unit coord
EFX unit accountant
EFX unit buyer
Video supv
Video tech facilities
Video prod
Computer graphics & anim, Video
Computer graphics supv, Video
Des/Programmer, Video
Des/Programmer, Video
President, Image anim
Makeup eff des, Image anim
Makeup eff supv, Image anim
Senior tech, Image anim
Senior tech, Image anim
Tech, Image anim
Tech, Image anim
Tech, Image anim
Mould des, Image anim
Foam des, Image anim
Title des & addl opticals
MAKEUP
Spec aging makeup created by
Chief makeup artist
Makeup artist
Chief hairdresser
Hairdresser
Sean Connery's hairdresser
Makeup artist, 2d unit
Hairdresser, 2d unit
Makeup artist, Addl photog unit
Hairstylist, Addl photog unit
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Casting
Casting
Prod assoc
Asst to the prod
Prod accountant
Asst prod accountant
Post prod accountant
Prod supv
Prod coord
Asst prod coord
Travel & shipping coord
Casting Buenos Aires
Pub Argentina
Loc mgr
Loc mgr
Scr supv
Set coord
Caterer
Security coord
Prod liaison
Prod secy
Asst to Mr. Mulcahy
Asst to Mr. Lambert
Transportation mgr
Asst transportation mgr
Asst transportation mgr
Picture car mgr
Loc mgr, San Juan Argentina prod office
Loc mgr, San Juan Argentina prod office
Prod coord, San Juan Argentina prod office
Secy, San Juan Argentina prod office
Scr supv, 2d unit
Tech consultant, 2d unit
Transportation mgr, 2d unit
Prod accountant, Addl photog unit
Loc mgr, Addl photog unit
Prod coord, Addl photog unit
Transportation coord, Addl photog unit
"The Making of Highlander II" dir and photo
International marketing & sales
International legal services
U.S. legal services
International sales consultants
Insurance consultant
Completion guarantor
STAND INS
Stunt coord, sword master & stuntman
Stunt double for McLeod
Stunt double for Ramirez
Stunt double for Katana
Stunt double for Louise
Stunt double for Louise
Addl unit stunt coord & stuntman
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col timer
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the characters created by Gregory Widen.
SONGS
“Highlander Training Theme,” written by Michael Kamen, used by permission of Colgems-EMI Music, Inc., on behalf of Carisse W.V.
“One Dream,” written by Lou Gramm and Bruce Turgon, performed by Lou Gramm, produced by Bob Ezrin and James Guthrie
“Heaven,” written by Deborah Holland & Stewart Copeland
+
SONGS
“Highlander Training Theme,” written by Michael Kamen, used by permission of Colgems-EMI Music, Inc., on behalf of Carisse W.V.
“One Dream,” written by Lou Gramm and Bruce Turgon, performed by Lou Gramm, produced by Bob Ezrin and James Guthrie
“Heaven,” written by Deborah Holland & Stewart Copeland
“Judgement,” music by Stewart Copeland, words by William Panzer
“Who's That Man,” written and produced by Sean Harris, performed by The Magnetic A.K.A.
“Shoot ’Em Down,” written by Gerry Laffy & Tony Forsythe, performed and produced by Gerry Laffy
“It's A Perfect, Perfect World,” written by Norman Gimbel & Donald Markowitz, performed by Cash Hollywood featuring Ellis Hall, produced by Donald Markowitz & Tom Harriman
“Trust,” written and performed by Heeren/Stephens, produced by Adrian Lee, Paul Heeren & Jan Stephens
“As Time Goes By,” written by Herman Hupfeld, performed by Brenda Russell, produced by Steve Lindsay & Brenda Russell
“One Breath Away,” written and performed by Meredith Brooks & Greg de Belles, produced by Greg de Belles
“Haunted,” written by Robin George, Peter Green & Glenn Hughes, performed by Glenn Hughes, produced by Robin George
“Here We Go,” written by Robin George & Sean Harris, performed by Notorious, produced by Robin George, recorded and mixed by Benedict Tobias Fenner
Gotterdammerung, written by Richard Wagner, soloist, Birgit Nilson, conductor, Sir Georg Solti, and the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, courtesy of The Decca Record Company Limited, Catalogue No. 414-115-2
“Heaven” courtesy of Criterion Music
“One Breath Away” courtesy of Virgin Music Publishing, Ltd.
All other selections published or administered by Warner/Chappell Music, Ltd.
+
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Highlander 2
Highlander II: The Quickening
Highlander 2 - Yellowknife
Highlander 2020
Release Date:
1 November 1991
Premiere Information:
European opening: January 1991
Los Angeles opening: 1 November 1991
Production Date:
26 February--July 1990
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo ® in Selected Theatres
Color
Duration(in mins):
92
MPAA Rating:
R
Countries:
Argentina, United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
30676
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In the year 2024, Earth’s depleted ozone layer has been replaced by a sun-blocking electromagnetic “shield,” invented decades earlier by Connor MacLeod, known as the Highlander. However, the shield is now under the control of The Shield Corporation (TSC), a multinational conglomerate that has virtually taken over the U.S. At a New York City opera house, the elderly Connor recalls the rebellion he led in sixteenth-century Scotland against General Katana. Connor and his late comrade, Juan Sanchez Villalobos Ramirez, were taken prisoner by the general and exiled to the future, where they are immortal, yet susceptible to decapitation by Katana’s minions. At a neighborhood bar, Connor watches a television news report on the failed invasion of TSC headquarters by Louise Marcus and her alleged terrorist group, “Cobalt.” Louise approaches Connor in an alley, and shares her belief that the ozone layer has repaired itself, making the shield unnecessary. They are suddenly confronted by Katana minions Corda and Reno, and Louise takes refuge while Connor does battle. After Reno is decapitated by a freight train, Corda issues a bolt of electricity that engulfs Connor in flames. The Highlander is restored to his physical prime, and beheads the airborne Corda with a trip wire. Fearing more challenges from Katana, Connor summons Ramirez from the dead. Louise and the rejuvenated Highlander make love, and she recruits him to her cause. Meanwhile, in Glencoe, Scotland, Ramirez appears on a theater stage during a performance of Hamlet. ... +


In the year 2024, Earth’s depleted ozone layer has been replaced by a sun-blocking electromagnetic “shield,” invented decades earlier by Connor MacLeod, known as the Highlander. However, the shield is now under the control of The Shield Corporation (TSC), a multinational conglomerate that has virtually taken over the U.S. At a New York City opera house, the elderly Connor recalls the rebellion he led in sixteenth-century Scotland against General Katana. Connor and his late comrade, Juan Sanchez Villalobos Ramirez, were taken prisoner by the general and exiled to the future, where they are immortal, yet susceptible to decapitation by Katana’s minions. At a neighborhood bar, Connor watches a television news report on the failed invasion of TSC headquarters by Louise Marcus and her alleged terrorist group, “Cobalt.” Louise approaches Connor in an alley, and shares her belief that the ozone layer has repaired itself, making the shield unnecessary. They are suddenly confronted by Katana minions Corda and Reno, and Louise takes refuge while Connor does battle. After Reno is decapitated by a freight train, Corda issues a bolt of electricity that engulfs Connor in flames. The Highlander is restored to his physical prime, and beheads the airborne Corda with a trip wire. Fearing more challenges from Katana, Connor summons Ramirez from the dead. Louise and the rejuvenated Highlander make love, and she recruits him to her cause. Meanwhile, in Glencoe, Scotland, Ramirez appears on a theater stage during a performance of Hamlet. Using his gold earrings as barter, Ramirez acquires a new suit and an airline ticket to New York City. Katana is furious over Connor’s victory and transports himself to the twenty-first century, where he materializes on a subway train. The general takes the throttle and crashes the train through a wall at high speed, leaving behind hundreds of dead and injured. At the TSC control center, employee Allan Neyman informs Connor of a gap in the shield where the sky is visible. Company president David Blake interrupts, asserting that the highly profitable shield will stay in place forever, regardless of atmospheric changes. Later, Connor visits the grave of his late wife, Brenda, recalling his determination to save the world after she died from exposure to the sun nearly thirty years earlier. He took pride in creating the shield, until he began to witness its adverse effects. Following a skirmish with Katana, Connor is reunited with Ramirez. At the control center, David Blake reveals that he has been spying on Allan Neyman and has him imprisoned as a traitor. Katana intrudes on a board meeting and partners with Blake in their quest to eliminate the Highlander. Connor learns of Allan’s incarceration and breaks into the prison with help from Louise and Ramirez. With his dying breath, Allan divulges the global coordinates for the gap in the shield. Blake hinders the intruders’ escape by trapping them in a chamber equipped with spinning blades. Aware that his time is nearly over, Ramirez summons the last of his supernatural energy to free his comrades, before he vanishes in a shower of sparks. The following day, Connor and Louise arrive at a restricted mountain tunnel, labeled the “Shield Ceiling.” They emerge from the tunnel to discover a blue sky over snow-capped mountains, proving that the ozone layer has been restored. When Blake blames Katana for their adversaries’ escape from the prison, the general pushes his partner through a third-story window. Connor and Louise invade the control center, and Katana challenges his enemy to a swordfight. After beheading Katana, Connor places himself in the path of the shield’s power source and disables it. As stars appear in the sky, Connor and Louise kiss, with Ramirez’s voice echoing in their memories. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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