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Highlander: The Search for Vengeance
Directed by Yoshiaki Kawajiri
Produced by Peter Davis
Bill Panzer
Thomas K. Gray
H. Galen Walker
Masao Maruyama
Written by David Abramowitz
Starring Alistair Abell
Scott McNeil
Janyse Jaud
Jim Byrnes
Kathleen Barr
Music by Jussi Tegelman
Nathan Wang
Distributed by Imagi Animation Studios (U.S.)
Madhouse (Japan) released = June 5, 2007
Language English
Japanese

Highlander: The Search for Vengeance is an animated film and an installment of the cult Highlander franchise. It was directed by Yoshiaki Kawajiri (Ninja Scroll, Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust) and was written by David Abramowitz, also the writer for Highlander: The Series, Highlander: The Raven and Highlander: The Source. The film was a joint venture between Imagi Animation Studios and Madhouse Studio, with Imagi providing the script and the soundtrack, while Madhouse produced the animation. It was produced in association with Davis-Panzer Productions, and was distributed by Manga Entertainment on June 5, 2007. It aired July 30, 2007 on the Sci Fi Channel's Ani-Monday block.

Contents

Synopsis

Colin MacLeod became Immortal after his first death in 125 AD in Roman Britain, when his village was attacked by the conquering Romans. Immortal Marcus Octavius was leading the Roman Empire's military forces in hopes of creating his long-dreamt-of utopian society. Octavius killed Colin's wife, but was not able to kill Colin himself, as his body had landed within Stonehenge on holy ground.

Waking days later within Stonehenge, Colin is left confused about who and what he is, and how he is not dead. It is at this moment that the spirit of a former druid of this holy site, Amergan, begins communicating with MacLeod, and explains to him what he is. Colin learns of The Game from Amergan, and the druid becomes his life-long teacher and conscience.

The movie interlaces flashback scenes of this and Colin's following plight for vengeance throughout time, as Marcus attempts to re-enact his utopian society through force and fear. Colin finds Octavius in a post-apocalyptic future New York City, where he is busy making plans to release a deadly virus. After a final duel, Colin defeats Octavius, and his Quickening destroys the virus in question.

Cast

Role Seiyu English Actor
Colin MacLeod Shun Oguri Alistair Abell
Marcus Octavius Koichi Yamadera Zachary Samuels
Amergan Kosei Tomita Scott McNeil
Dahlia Romi Park Debi Mae West
Kyala Megumi Hayashibara Janyse Jaud
Doc Unsho Ishizuka Jim Byrnes
Rudy Yusaku Yara Jim Byrnes
Moya Yurika Hino Kathleen Barr
Gregor
Lab Director
Takaya Hashi Scott McNeil

MacLeod heritage

Colin was born in Roman Britain, but his true surname, which is never given, was not MacLeod at birth. One of the flashback scenes shows him achieving this honor after he fought alongside Clan MacLeod in an unknown battle, presumably because Octavius was fighting for the opposition. The Clansmen honor Colin, and name him a MacLeod for giving his life for their cause. Once he regains life, as all Immortals do, Colin adopts the name, and keeps it for the rest of his life, as it was with the MacLeods that Colin learnt values that would one day assist him in overcoming his unyielding lust for vengeance.

Director's cut

Producer H. Galen Walker said in an interview: "There's about seven or eight additional scenes in the Japanese version that we cut out in the U.S.—one, just for timing, and just for pace of story. That was the big issue. I'm sure Mr. Kawajiri was really unhappy about the cut, but this was what the other producers thought was best for everybody." An opening exposition text-sequence, which is traditional for Highlander films, was also added for the American version. Walker said that Kawajiri's original cut "will probably be out later this year," in an interview conducted in June 2007.[1] However, after more than a year's delay, the director's cut was finally released on December 5, 2008 with the running time of 96 minutes (10 minutes longer than the U.S. version).[2]

Reception

Critical reaction to Highlander: The Search for Vengeance has been generally favorable, and more favorable in general than the live-action Highlander sequels. Chris Wyatt of IGN awarded the film a score of 9 out of 10, saying: "Highlander: The Search for Vengeance is the best thing to happen to Highlander fans since the original film. [It's] violent, dramatic, sexy, and actually smart. ... Combat sequences, including the obligatory sword fights, are nothing less than stellar."[3]

Rob Lineberger of DVD Verdict gave The Search for Vengeance a score of 96 out of 100, saying: "Not only does Highlander: The Search for Vengeance live up to the glory days of the franchise, it exceeds them in many ways. ... Kawajiri's movie is crammed full of breathtaking compositions and sophisticated effects, [and] the character depictions are also impressive. ... Great animation, superb music, and engaging voice acting complement the story. Not only is it a must-see for Highlander fans, but for fans of edgy anime with a mature bent."[4]

Todd Douglass of DVD Talk said: "The story stands up quite well and frankly it reinvigorates a franchise that has otherwise turned stagnant. ... As a lover of Highlander and anime, The Search for Vengeance was more or less what I wanted it to be. ... [The film] is worth a look if you're even slightly interested in it."[5] Jason Cook of The Spinning Image said that "The Search for Vengeance is a thoroughly enjoyable animated feature coupling classy visual flourishes with a lean plot. ... Anime fans will want to seek this out due to its director's pedigree, but those unfamiliar with the genre are still advised to give this a go."[6]

Giving the film a "B" rating, Jim Harper of Flipside Movie Emporium said: "[Kawajiri's] association with the project is probably the best thing to happen to the Highlander franchise in a long, long time. ... Highlander: The Search for Vengeance covers much the same territory as the 1986 original, but it does so unapologetically, and with a genuine passion, too. ... Harper added that "in terms of pure entertainment, it's a hell of a lot more satisfying than any of the other sequels."[7]

References

  1. ^ Scott Green (2007-06-05). "AICN Anime-Interview of Highlander: Search for Vengeance Producer Galen Walker". Aintitcool.com. http://www.aintitcool.com/node/32882. Retrieved 2007-06-06.  
  2. ^ "Highlander: The Search For Vengeance Director's Cut Edition [Limited Release"]. cdjapan.co.jp. 2008-12-05. http://www.cdjapan.co.jp/detailview.html?KEY=GNBA-7563. Retrieved 2008-11-10.  
  3. ^ Highlander: The Search for Vengeance Review, Chris Wyatt, IGN, July 10, 2007
  4. ^ Highlander: The Search for Vengeance Review, Rob Lineberger, DVD Verdict, June 5th, 2007
  5. ^ Highlander: The Search for Vengeance Review, Todd Douglass, DVD Talk, June 5, 2007
  6. ^ The Search For Vengeance Review, Jason Cook, The Spinning Image
  7. ^ Highlander: The Search for Vengeance Review, Jim Harper, Flipside Movie Emporium, 10.09.2007

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