Saturday, November 3, 2012

ANI-MOVIES, *Highlander: Search For Vengeance


For at least the third time, the Highlander franchise got picked up again, and unlike its last animated incarnation(that crappy TV series from USA Network), this was a hardcore original adaptation directed by Yoshiaki Kawakiri. Most U.S. otaku would know him as the creator of Ninja Scroll, Wicked City, Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust, and he also worked on Neo-Tokyo, Lensman, X, and The Animatrix. Highlander: The Search For Vengeance is an anime remake of the whole storyline, and taking it into the Road Warrior future.

This story deals with Colin MacCleod, a completely unrelated McCleod from either Connor or Duncan. He was an British warrior who was first killed when the Romans took over their country, lead by Marcus Octavius who is really an immortal. Colin rises from the grave a long time later as an immortal himself(which seems to contradict one of the fundamental laws of Highlander)and meets the ghost of an old Druid priest who lets him know all about his new mutant superpowers. Colin then spends the next few thousand years trying to hunt down Marcus and kill him. This path finally leads to the 22nd Century where the world has been decimated by some kind of plague, and New York City is one of the last remaining cities which is ruled by Marcus and his Robo-Nazi forces. Colin teams up with a local resistance movement, mainly because the luscious prostitute Dahlia is really the living reincarnation of his dead wife. Marcus and Colin clash once, and then again for a final fight, but not before Marcus can unleash his own virus to kill off all the humans in the city. Fortunately, when Colin finally beheads Marcus, the resulting Quickening disperses the virus saving everyone.

This movie tacks some familiar action/sci-fi movie tropes, but as an anime film it gets to take them to some serious extremes. From android troopers with spider-legs, to chainsaw-swords, to some of the most killer dueling ever in an anime movie. Kawajiri's direction help make this something that even people who've never seen any of the other Highlander titles would wanna check out. The main animation was marvelously handled by Madhouse, but was distributed in America through Imagi Studios who also did the Astro Boy movie. The movie is on DVD in the States by Manga Entertainment, but so far only in an edited version in English. There's supposed to be a director's cut coming out sometime with an added Japanese track coming out soon, so keep on the lookout for it.

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