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Highlander 2: Renegade Version(1991)
The year is 2024, and the population of Earth are under the impression that the ozone layer has been totally depleted. Former Immortal Connor MacLeod is now an old man, reviled by the media for his part in the construction of a protective shield, which is now in the hands of a corrupt corporation. However, when a batch of evil new Immortals arrive on the planet, McCleod's powers are magically restored, and - with the help of his resurrected mentor Ramirez - he sets out to see if the ozone layer really has been destroyed...
For more about Highlander 2: Renegade Version and the Highlander 2: Renegade Version Blu-ray release, see Highlander 2: Renegade Version Blu-ray Review published by Jeffrey Kauffman on February 18, 2013 where this Blu-ray release scored 1.5 out of 5.
Starring: Christopher Lambert, Sean Connery, Virginia Madsen, Michael Ironside, John C. McGinley, Rusty Schwimmer
Director: Russell Mulcahy
» See full cast & crew
Highlander 2: Renegade Version Blu-ray Review
Back to the future.
Reviewed by Jeffrey Kauffman, February 18, 2013
Olive Films has been expanding its practice of featuring never before released catalog product to now offering new versions of some films that have indeed been previously issued either on DVD or even Blu-ray. The label's latest glut of offerings features several titles that were once licensed to Lionsgate. Of those titles, certainly one of the oddest entries in this new Olive Films canon is the so-called Highlander 2: Renegade Version which is in fact for all intents and purposes the very same release as Highlander 2 SE, a film which first appeared on Blu-ray late in 2010 and then was reissued as part of a two-fer with the first Highlander film in the Highlander 2 Film Set. The first Highlander was hardly a masterpiece and yet it developed a certain cachet over the years, but Highlander 2? This is a film so bad that both its director and star disavowed the original theatrical version and, as I stated in my review of the Lionsgate release holds the rare "distinction" of having a 0% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Is "more" necessarily "better"? Director Russell Mulcahy went back to the special effects drawing board and also added some footage to his supposed "director's cut" of Highlander 2, but it's all largely for naught, as the film remains a pretty turgid mess one way or the other.
For an overview of what might be charitably called the "plot" and other content of Highlander 2 in this (or any) version, I refer you to the Highlander 2 SE Blu-ray review. The rest of this review will focus on the technical aspects of this release.
Note: This release clocks in at around a few seconds longer than the Lionsgate release, due to the Olive Films bumpers that begin and end this version. I frankly didn't have the patience to sit through this film twice in a row, but having watched this version and spot checking (and fast forwarding through all of) the Lionsgate release, I didn't notice any differences that immediately jumped out at me.
Highlander 2: Renegade Version Blu-ray, Video Quality
Highlander 2: Renegade Version is presented on Blu-ray courtesy of Olive Films with an AVC encoded 1080p transfer in 2.42:1. This is another case where I kind of wish I had the ability to score things in quarter points, because I might be tempted to up this release to 3.75 if only to indicate that it is marginally brighter and at times better detailed than the Lionsgate release. There is still a rather schizoid quality to some of this high definition presentation, much as with the Lionsgate version, which I assume must be inherent in the elements themselves. This version was after all cobbled together "after the fact" and then had its special effects upgraded, and that crazy quilt aspect to this version's assembly simply can't be hidden, and is in fact exacerbated, by the high definition presentation. This version sports an overall brighter look, with even the darker scenes (of which there are many) showing incrementally more shadow detail as well as a somewhat clearer and better defined image. Fine detail is noticeably better in this version in the more brightly lit elements. Some of the CGI elements are still surprisingly soft at times, as is the whole closing sequence which appears to have perhaps been sourced from elements which were not as carefully curated as some other elements
Highlander 2: Renegade Version Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Highlander 2: Renegade Version features a lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 track which frankly pales in comparison to the Lionsgate release's much more aggressive and involving DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 mix. Fidelity here is certainly fine as far it goes, but the sound effects are noticeably less expansive sounding on this mix, and there's also a tendency for the middle of the soundfield to sound a bit crowded some of the time. Dialogue is well presented and is also prioritized smartly in the mix, but there's not even overly splayed stereo separation here.
Highlander 2: Renegade Version Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Unlike the Lionsgate release, which had some fantastic supplementary material which I personally felt far outshone the actual film, this new Olive Films version has no supplementary material of any kind.
Highlander 2: Renegade Version Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Is there a more adventurous, eclectic distributor of so-called "deep catalog" releases than Olive Films. When one looks over the incredible gamut of films this relatively tiny label has brought out on Blu-ray over the past couple of years, it's truly an amazing variety of films. Most of these offerings have never before been released on Blu-ray, but over the past month or so, Olive has started delving into releases which have in fact had previous releases, either on DVD or on Blu-ray as well. Why Highlander 2: Renegade Version would have caught Olive's fancy is anyone's guess, especially considering the fact that there are actually two Lionsgate releases of this film (as detailed above) which may be technically out of print but which are still widely available. The biggest head scratcher here is that Highlander 2 (in any version) is just one long hot mess. When there are so many fantastic films, but well known and little known, still begging for release on Blu-ray, it boggles the imagination that Highlander 2 is now on its third go round. All of this said, this version offers marginally better video but much less effective audio as well as a complete lack of supplements, the one element of the Lionsgate version that I personally found to be the best reason to have that release.
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Highlander 2: Renegade Version Blu-ray, News and Updates
• More Catalog Titles Coming Up From Olive Films - December 3, 2012
Olive Films have revealed that they are planning to release six more catalog titles in February: Night of the Demons 2 (1994), The Monster Squad (1987), Live Nude Girls (1995), Highlander 2: Renegade Version (1991), Julius Caesar (1970), and Innocent Bystanders ...
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