DVD Movie Guide @ dvdmg.com Awards & Recommendations at Amazon.com.
Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main

Russell Mulcahy
Christopher Lambert, Sean Connery, Clancy Brown
Peter Bellwood, Larry Ferguson

An immortal Scottish swordsman must confront the last of his immortal opponent, a murderously brutal barbarian who lusts for the fabled "Prize".

Rated R.

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Dolby Vision
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
English DTS-HD MA 2.0
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 117 min.
Price: $22.99
Release Date: 12/13/2022

• Audio Commentary with Director Russell Mulcahy
• Audio Commentary with Director Russell Mulcahy and Producers Peter Davis and William Panzer
• Audio Commentary with Film Historian Jon Melville
• “The Immortal Attraction of Highlander” Documentary
• “A Kind of Magic” Featurette
• “Capturing Immortality” Featurette
• “There Can Only Be One Kurgan” Featurette
• Interview with Director Russell Mulcahy
• Interview with Actor Christopher Lambert
• “The Making of Highlander” Featurette
• Deleted Scenes
• Archival Interview with Actor Christopher Lambert
• Trailer
• Blu-ray Copy


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver
-Sony UBP-X800 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


Highlander [4K UHD] (1986)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (March 26, 2023)

Because this becomes my fifth review of 1986’s Highlander, I’ll skip the usual movie discussion. For extended thoughts on the film, please click here.

To summarize: Highlander isn't one of the best action films I've ever seen. However, it's a stimulating and enjoyable effort that holds up pretty well after 37 years.

The Disc Grades: Picture B/ Audio B-/ Bonus A

Highlander appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this 4K UHD Disc. Though not a showpiece, the Dolby Vision image held up well.

Always a challenging film, Highlander suffered from a mix of issues that no transfer can ever overcome. Nonetheless, this 30th Anniversary version managed to do the best it could with the source.

Overall, sharpness seemed positive. Occasional soft spots materialized – usually due to effects or photographic choices – but the majority of the flick seemed fairly well-defined.

No issues with jagged edges or moiré effects emerged, and I saw no signs of edge haloes. Grain felt natural, so I suspected no overuse of noise reduction, and print flaws remained absent.

Colors depended on location. The hues leaned toward blues and reds in “modern-day” New York but they felt gentler and more pastel in the Scotland flashbacks.

The tones largely came across with appealing reproduction. The disc’s HDR added some zing and impact to the colors.

Blacks were fairly dark and dense, while shadows offered pretty good clarity. HDR gave whites and contrast extra range. Again, nothing will ever make Highlander look great, but this Blu-ray fared pretty nicely.

As for the movie’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack, it came with its own ups and downs. However, the soundfield didn’t become one of these, as it broadened horizons pretty well.

Most of the soundscape emphasized the forward channels, where the mix offered fairly solid stereo spread for music. Effects also came across as generally well-localized and they blended in a decent manner.

Surround usage tended toward support, though the back speakers kicked into higher gear at times. This side of the mix managed to add some zing to the proceedings.

Highlander lost points due to the lackluster quality of the audio, and that started with reedy speech. While the lines always remained intelligible, they rarely came across as natural, and the track suffered from a lot of iffy looping.

Some of those factors impacted effects too, as those elements didn’t always seem especially organic. For instance, crowd scenes used murmuring that tended not to match the settings well.

Effects also came with some distortion. Still, these components didn’t fare poorly, and they came with reasonable low-end.

Music worked best, as the score and songs boasted largely positive range and warmth. The mix’s drawbacks made this a “B-“ track.

Highlander received two prior Blu-ray releases: one in 2010 and a “30th Anniversary” disc in 2016. How did the Dolby Vision 4K compare to those?

The 4K and the 2016 disc shared apparently identical soundtracks, and I believe they came from the same transfer. Obviously the 4K came with superior potential, and to some degree this allowed it to better the 2016 Blu-ray.

However, the restrictions of the source limited improvements. While delineation, colors and blacks felt a bit stronger on the 4K, I didn’t think they delivered the proverbial knockout punch. Although the 4K became the superior presentation, don’t expect a big upgrade over the 2016 Blu-ray.

As for the 2010 Blu-ray, the 2016 release bettered it in terms of picture and audio. Given that the 4K topped the 2016 Blu-ray, obviously that meant the 4K became a massive upgrade over the problematic 2010 version.

On the 4K disc, we find three separate audio commentaries. Recorded for laserdisc in the 1990s, the first presents director Russell Mulcahy and producers Peter Davis and William Panzer, all three of whom sit together for a running, screen-specific look at story/characters, cast and performances, sets and locations, music, editing and different cuts of the film, effects, photography, stunts and action, and related domains.

This becomes an unusually interesting and entertaining track. The participants feel much more frank and critical of the project than we normally hear, so they aren't at all afraid to knock parts of the film and offer some good insights.

Mulcahy dominates the track and displays an unfortunate tendency to speak over the others, but all three contribute compelling tidbits. Chalk this one up as a solid and honest commentary that's definitely worth a listen.

Taped for the first Blu-ray, the second commentary presents director Russell Mulcahy all on his own. He brings a running, screen-specific discussion of topics similar to those in the 1990s commentary.

That doesn’t mean a rerun of the old track, but inevitably, it leads to more than a little repetition. Mulcahy reveals enough new material to make the chat worth a listen, but it fares less well than its predecessor.

New to the 4K, a third commentary features film author Jonathan Melville. He provides a running, occasionally screen-specific take on the film’s origins and development, different iterations of the screenplay, cut/unshot scenes, cast and crew, production domains and the movie’s release/legacy.

Melville delivers a solid history of the project. He traces the different topics in a concise manner and makes this a very good chat.

Four more new pieces appear on the 4K, and The Immortal Attraction of Highlander lasts 56 minutes, 21 seconds. It brings notes from Mulcahy, story writer Gregory Widen, music supervisor Derek Power, stills photographer David James, makeup supervisor Lois Burwell, art director Tim Hutchinson, 2nd unit director Andy Armstrong, and actors Clancy Brown, Christopher Lambert, Roxanne Hart, and Beatie Edney.

“Immortal” investigates the project’s origins and development, influences/inspirations, how Mulcahy came to the movie, cast, characters and performances, costumes and makeup effects, sets and locations, stunts, action and props, music, and the flick’s legacy.

Unsurprisingly, we get more than a little repetition from the commentaries – indeed, some of the content here appeared in all three tracks, so forgive yourself if you tire of those notes. Nonetheless, “Immortal” brings some new participants and comes with enough unique material to merit a look.

A Kind of Magic spans 14 minutes, 25 seconds and offers notes from Power and dramatist/composer/author Neil Brand.

“Magic” offers thoughts about the film’s soundtrack. It offers a reasonably focused view of the subject matter.

Next comes Capturing Immortality, a 12-minute, 59-second interview with photographer David James. He chats about his work during the production and gives us a good take on the challenges of on-set photography.

The 4K ends with There Can Only Be One Kurgan. It provides a 14-minute, 20-second reel with Clancy Brown.

The actor looks at his character and performance as well as costumes, makeup effects, stunts, and general thoughts. Brown delivers some good insights.

Addition materials appear on the included Blu-ray copy, and for more from the filmmaker, we get an Interview with Director Russell Mulcahy. It spans 23 minutes, two seconds.

Mulcahy discusses aspects of his career and parts of the Highlander production. Inevitable repetition from the commentaries occurs but Mulcahy nonetheless adds new insights.

A circa 2016 Interview with Actor Christopher Lambert goes for 20 minutes, 35 seconds. He talks about what led him to the project and his experiences on the shoot in this reasonably informative reel.

The Making of Highlander lasts a whopping two hours, 37 seconds and provides info from story writer Gregory Widen, co-writer Peter Bellamy, director of photography Gerry Fisher, set decorator Allan Cameron, producer William N. Panzer, and actor Roxanne Hart

The documentary looks at influences and the movie’s roots/development, script, story and characters, cast and performances, sets and locations, photography, cast and performances, and overall production domains.

Designed as a handful of separate pieces, the documentary doesn’t flow in an A-to-Z manner. Nonetheless, we get a lot of good content across the chapters so this turns into an informative compilation.

We get an Archival Interview with Actor Christopher Lambert. It fills eight minutes, 54 seconds with his thoughts about his role and performance as well as other experiences during the shoot. Expect another moderately useful segment.

In addition to the film’s trailer, the disc finishes with five Deleted Scenes. These occupy a total of six minutes, 13 seconds.

As a title card at the start notes, these clips lack audio so the disc’s producers simply added music for their inclusion here.

That limits the usefulness of the scenes. The first simply displays more of the New York wrestling match, so it would feel superfluous anyway.

Two others offer more from the climactic battle. These fare better without audio but nonetheless don’t bring much to the table.

The two remaining scenes rely heavily on dialogue, so they become borderline useless here. Couldn’t the disc’s producers have added subtitles to transcribe the missing lines?

Highlander offers a fairly entertaining film. While not a classic, it certainly shows a lot of flair and creativity, and it works well as a whole. The 4K UHD brings generally good picture and audio along with a solid roster of bonus materials. Given its wealth of supplements, the 4K becomes the best release of the film.

To rate this film, visit the prior review of HIGHLANDER

Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main