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[Fan edit] H2R - Highlander II Rebuild.
#1
Happy 2024!

   

[Image: Highlander2-Rebuild-V1-1-mkv-thumbs-2024...-11-01.jpg]

Background
As I'm sure many of you know I am for some reason obsessed with the 1991 disasterpiece Highlander 2: The Quickening. Part of why I enjoy the film is the crazy story and car crash of a production that lead to an almost unintelligible US Theatrical release, but another reason I love it is becasue there are so many different cuts of the film. From the 1991 International Cut to the 2004 Special Edition the filmmakers have continuously revisted this film, adding something here, removing something there; always trying to force it into something that the fans would accept. Over the years the film got five main versions, and watching them almost feels like getting a glimpse into the editing room.

The International Cut is my favourite of the official cuts; maintaining the infamous Zeist subplot and much of the footage that wouldn't be seen in the US until the Renegade Cut...but it also loses vital characterisation scenes and the story is still told out of sequence.

So as I sat at my computer, slowly restoring the 35mm print, my mind wandered and I started dreaming up how I would have edited the film...

[Image: H2R.png]

H2R - Highlander II Rebuild
Early 2023 I found myself pretty much isolated on a remote Scottish island for several months...it's a long story. I didn't have any access to my editing PC or my usual projects but I still had a strong urge to tinker with something...so I finally started to put together my own personal cut of Highlander 2.

This isn't an attempt to "fix" the film to make sense with the original, nor a kitchen sink edit where I try to include every possible shred of material available, nor just the Renegade Cut with Zeist put back in. This is an attempt to rebuild Highlander 2 from scratch to make the best film I can out all the material available. I went through each scene and rebuilt it shot by shot, cutting or adding lines/shots/frames where I thought they were needed. Using the shooting script as reference (but not gospel) I restructured the film and brought back a few abandoned subplots.

In my opinion the end result is a standalone, enjoyable, and internally consistent early 90s sci-fi action flick. Think Freejack, Fortress, or Total Recall; this isn't meant to be art or part of something bigger...it's just dumb fun.

The core edit of the film was completed in two weeks...but I ended up spending the next year polishing and tweaking it until I felt it was ready.

It would be impossible to list every change in this edit but here's a taste of what to expect:
  • Zeist!
  • Red Shield.
  • I've tried to structure and pace the opening of the film to better introduce the viewer to the settings and crazy world of Highlander 2, without relying on a lazy opening text crawl. It's still a bit of wild ride as the film has to set up two worlds completely alien to the audience, but hopefully the viewer shouldn't feel lost for long.
  • I've done what I can to restore the character of Louise. In all released versions of the film she has little purpous beyond the bland love story, but now she hopefully comes across as the independent terrorist leader she is!
  • I've removed many instances of un-needed attempts at humour. This helps to concentrate most of the film's humour on Ramirez who is the comedic core of the film.
  • I've done what I can to add a bit of depth and tension to the film's flimsy love plot. Part of this came naturally through repairing the character of Louise, but removing what the director calls the "banging against the wall" scene helped too. Now their relationship forms at a slower, more natural place, with their first kiss coming at a much more satisfying moment.
  • I wanted to make Katana feel like more of a threat so I cut out all the pop-culture references I could and toned down his zaniness.
  • I restored some missing subplots that were scripted, filmed, and dropped; mostly relating to the "sky writing" subplot, Zeist, and the power of the Quickening.
  • I attempted to complete unfinished effects shots in a manner consistent with the 1991 look of the film.

While some of the new effects shots are better than others, I'm particularly proud of the "set extension" I managed to pull off for the MAX prison facility. The original shot in theatrical cuts was blatantly unfinished, while the CGI version in the Special Edition just felt out of place. I hope you agree that my attempt gives the prison scale, while aslo maintaining the visual style of the rest of the film.

Improved vs. Original vs. Special Edition
           

To make my dream edit I sadly had to rely on sources of greatly varying quality; ranging from better than HD all the way down to worse than Standard Definition. I've tried to colour match and hide transitions to make it as consistent as possible, but just be warned; things will get rough. Many of the deleted scenes are only available as old bit-starved SD transfers of unrestored battered film. There are similar fluctuations in the audio quality. I hope that my edit is enjoyable despite these unavoidable problems.

The Future
This fanedit is currently in the best shape I can make it, however as my 35mm restoration project continues I will be able to upgrade more and more of the Standard Defintion portions to full HD. I will try to keep this fanedit updated with incremental releases every time I complete a 35mm reel (i.e. version 1.2, 1.3....) with the aim of making the eventual Version 2.0 as full HD as possible.

Throughout the fanedit I've had to rely on audio from the less than perfect Hong Kong laserdisc. It is currently the best source for the English language soundtrack for the International Cut of the film but I am always searching for something better. If I ever find a better source I will update the fanedit and related projects as soon as I can. I'm currently chasing a lead...so fingers crossed!

Video and Audio Sources
Restored portions of my own 35mm scan of the International Cut (1080p)
Unrestored shot from my own scan of a 35mm dailies reel (1080p)
2010 US Lionsgate Blu Ray (1080p)
2012 German DVD of International Cut (576i)
2003 French DVD (576i)
Cannes Trailer (480i) 
DVD/Blu Ray Deleted Scenes (<480i)
2005 Spanish Highlander 3 DVD Trailer (<480i)
1991 Hong Kong Laserdisc (audio only)
1993 Japanese Laserdisc (audio only)

Stay tuned until the end of the credits for a fun treat.

UPDATE: I threw together this rather tongue in cheek trailer for the fanedit
https://youtu.be/_gEphyA5j8s

Update 2: A very talented friend has generously contributed this frankly epic artwork to serve as a poster for this fanedit. I just hope H2R can live up to it!

PM me for links. I hope you enjoy and please let me know if you have any feedback! 
Program material is recorded on the other side of this disc...
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#2
Awesome, can't wait to see it HD.
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Thanks given by: HippieDalek
#3
We are both obsessed
Reply
Thanks given by: HippieDalek
#4
(2024-01-30, 05:41 PM)HippieDalek Wrote: Early 2023 I found myself pretty much isolated on a remote Scottish island for several months...

Perfect place for doing this. Big Grin
Reply
Thanks given by: HippieDalek
#5
(2024-01-30, 08:10 PM)Hitcher Wrote: Perfect place for doing this. Big Grin

The plentiful whisky helped too!
Program material is recorded on the other side of this disc...
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Thanks given by: JugheadStilinski1st
#6
Im also obsessed, still didnt finished my fanedit. But now im super curios. I always liked the red shields
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Thanks given by: HippieDalek
#7
(2024-02-08, 07:16 PM)devomk Wrote: I always liked the red shields

I can see why they wanted to change the shield to blue in the Special Edition, it does match the lighting much better...but it rather mucks up Louise's line "have you ever seen a blue sky?"
Program material is recorded on the other side of this disc...
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Thanks given by:
#8
I got bored so I threw together this rather tongue in cheek trailer for the fanedit. Enjoy!

https://youtu.be/_gEphyA5j8s
Program material is recorded on the other side of this disc...
Reply
Thanks given by: dvdmike
#9
Is this downloadable?
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Thanks given by:
#10
Love the lighting and cinematography on this one, can't wait to rewatch it.
Reply
Thanks given by: HippieDalek


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