Highlander 2 : Renegade Version Laserdisc Liner Notes by Sean Murphy

Editor's note : Writing the Highlander 2 article for Video Watchdog Magazine led to me interviewing one of the producers of the Highlander franchise, Peter Davis, and I sent him a copy of the article. He was so impressed by what I had done that he asked if I'd like to do the liner notes for the Renegade version of Highlander II on laserdisc. I jumped at the chance. What ended up on the laserdisc was mostly all mine but some things were edited. I don't have a problem with this execpt in the process they mashed up two different sentences making one long sentence that didn't really make much sense. What is presented here is exactly what I wrote.

Laserdisc Features

Russell Mulcahy's Renegade Version of Highlander 2 : The Director's Cut

Republic Pictures is proud to present the Renegade version of Highlander 2, a newly revised Director's cut of the second film in the continuing saga of the Immortal Highlander Conner MacLeod and his Mentor Juan Villa-Lobos Ramirez.

This Director's Cut Special Edition Laserdisc Features :

* Transfer supervised under the auspices of the THX program for optimal picture and sound quality

* Dolby AC-3 Soundtrack

* Letterboxed at the correct 2.35 aspect ratio

* Digitally remastered and re-edited with an additional 16 minutes of footage

* Running audio commentary by Director Russell Mulcahy and Producers William Panzer & Peter Davis

* Original theatrical trailers

* Highlander 2 Electronic Press Kit (1989)

* Behind-the-scenes photos, production and publicity stills

* Highlander 2 : To be or not to be....a sequel? (1997) A new documentary created especially for this release with new interviews with actors and the producers about the need for a Renegade version of HIGHLANDER 2

* Original storyboards for all of the action sequences

* Original production sketches

Visit the official Highlander web site : http://www.highlander-official.com

This Director's Cut Special Edition Video Features :

* Letterboxed at the correct 2.35 aspect ratio

* Digitally remastered and re-edited with an additional 16 minutes of footage

* Dolby Surround Soundtrack

* Original theatrical trailer

* Highlander 2 Electronic Press Kit (1989)

Visit the official Highlander web site : http://www.highlander-official.com

Synopsis for Video and Laserdisc

Once again join the Immortals Conner MacLeod (Christopher Lambert) and Juan Villa-Lobos Ramirez (Sean Connery) in this futuristic second adventure of the continuing Highlander saga. The Renegade version of HIGHLANDER 2 pits MacLeod and Ramirez against a deadly enemy from their past, the power mad General Katana (Michael Ironside). New footage and editing of an additional 16 minutes of footage finally reveal the film intended by the Director Russell Mulcahy and Producers William Panzer and Peter Davis.

            Welcome to Russell Mulcahy's Renegade Version of HIGHLANDER II : THE DIRECTOR'S CUT. You hold in your hands a radically different version of the film than the one released to theaters in 1990. In order to understand why a restored version of HIGHLANDER II was desired by the creators, a brief history on the original film production is needed. When HIGHLANDER II : THE QUICKENING was being shot in 1989, the director, Russell Mulcahy, and the producers, Bill Panzer and Peter Davis, ran into problems with the film's distributor. The outcome of these problems resulted in neither the director nor the producers having the final cut on the American release of HIGHLANDER II. The British release, which occurred several months later, was personally funded by the producers and Nigel Green of Entertainment Productions to re-edited the film with additional footage. Unfortunately, neither of the HIGHLANDER sequels seen in theaters in 1990 was the film the director or producers really intended you to see.

Now, because of the popularity of the HIGHLANDER films and TV show, the Renegade version has been assembled to set the record straight. The desire to present HIGHLANDER II with its original vision intact is not, however, just about restoring footage and correcting the order of events. Fans of the original HIGHLANDER were dismayed to discover that in the sequel their beloved Immortal, Conner MacLeod, was really an alien from another planet called Zeist. This explanation of his origins was too farfetched for fans who desired more of the mysterious Immortal with an unknown past. These same fans will be happy to discover that all references to the planet Zeist have been removed from the Renegade version. Now Conner and Ramirez are from "A long time ago" where their Immortal origins are shrouded in mystery. The mythos surrounding the Immortals, which has grown along with the popular television series, is reinforced in this new revisionist version of HIGHLANDER II.

How was this accomplished? An extensive recutting and restructuring of the film was done for the Renegade version to straighten out the storyline. New visual transitions between the past and present, a staple of the first film, have been reinstated. Two flashback scenes have finally been restored to their correct positions in the film. All references to the Quickening have been removed since the meaning of this word has changed over time and is no longer central to the story. All in all, an additional eighteen minutes of footage has been restored, all of which enhance the narrative significantly and help to orient the viewer to this new world in the year 2024.

What's the best way to approach the Renegade Version? Think of the sequel as a totally new and different HIGHLANDER adventure starring the same characters found in the first film. The Renegade version of HIGHLANDER II : THE DIRECTOR'S CUT gives fans the opportunity to see the film in a new light, the way that Russell Mulcahy, Bill Panzer and Peter Davis originally wanted you to see it. Enjoy!

Director's Cut New Footage

Editor's Note : I determined where all of the chapter breaks should be and made up all of corresponding chapter titles.

In 1990, the theatrical version of HIGHLANDER II : THE QUICKENING was released in America with a running time of 89 minutes and 53 seconds. The Renegade Version of HIGHLANDER II : THE DIRECTOR'S CUT adds approximately 18 minutes of new footage to the film, bringing the running time to 109 minutes and 27 seconds. This new Director's Cut is significantly different from the previous American version. We recommended that you watch the Renegade Version before reading the synopsis of the new footage found on this page.

Please note : All references to planet Zeist and the Quickening have been removed from the Renegade version and this was accomplished by deleting footage or editing the dialogue track. All references to the "December Installation", which is the building that provides power for the Shield, have been changed to "Shield Control" as well.

1. Prologue Text

A new prologue has been added to the Renegade Version to ease the viewer into the new world that Conner MacLeod now inhabits. The text establishes the fact that the Earth is encased in an electromagnetic shield to protect the inhabitants of the planet from harmful radiation. The Shield was created in 1999 because the ozone layer was rapidly depleting. The prologue raises the question of whether or not the Shield is still needed, 25 years later, in the year 2024.

2. Conner at the opera house

The film now begins outside of the opera house which is the way it was originally scripted to open. Inside the opera house there is a new shot of a pail of water overflowing from the rain that drips from the roof. Additional footage shows Conner looking at the opera program where he reads that this evenings show is, "In the presence of Dr. Alan Neyman, President, TSC." Conner then finds his friend Alan with opera glasses and they wave to each other. Later, when Conner remembers the battle between his forces and Katana's through flashbacks, there is new footage and intercutting between the actors on the stage and the men dying in battle. Katana's dialogue about wanting all of the rebel's heads is not found in the Renegade version.

3. Katana and Conner in the cave with the eels

Katana has an additional line of dialogue, "My friends in here remind me of you and Ramirez." before he grabs an eel out of the water.

4. The sentencing of Conner and Ramirez by the Priests

A new shot of Conner in his opera box is followed by a shot of a huge set of double doors on the stage. These doors open into the past where Conner and Ramirez are shown standing before the Priests waiting for judgment. The entirely new dialogue for this scene explains that Conner and Ramirez, who are rebels possessing an unholy immortality like Katana, are to be sent to the future in exile. Once there, if one of them wins the Prize, he will have the choice to "Grow old and die in the future or return here with his freedom and faith restored." Conner does not pledge to Ramirez that he will return if he wins the Prize as he does in the American version.

5. Conner watches a Shield Corporation newsperson on his car television

Conner leaves the opera house in his car and watches a news broadcast by a Shield Corporation announcer on his television. New dialogue by the announcer reveals there are rumors of a management shake-up and the fact that Conner's friend Alan, the president of TSC, has become increasingly isolated and was unavailable for comment. Conner is obviously concerned about his friend. This same footage was found in the American version before Conner goes to the Opera. There is an extended scene of Conner driving and thinking about how the world has fallen apart under the Shield, much like the prologue now found in the Renegade version. The dialogue spoken by the TSC Newsperson is different, focusing on the eternal sameness of the weather under the Shield.

6. Conner tries to call Alan on a video phone

New footage shows that Conner is worried about his old friend. He stops at a pay videophone to get through to Alan and fails to get past the Shield Corporation's secretary. Conner decides to leave no message for Alan. Several punks then harass him for money to use the oxygen machine until they realize he is Conner MacLeod. The punks run off as Conner wearily returns to his car.

7. Two guards at the Shield Corporation discuss fish in the lake

New footage shows a long shot of the Shield generator as a car pulls away and a title reads "Shield Control". Two guards stand on pillar above a manmade lake when they hear a noise (the sound of Louise's truck pulling up) and they report in to security. When the guard at security sees nothing on his monitors, he claims the sound was just fish making noise. The guards argue about whether or not fish could live in the lake.

8. Louise discovers the radiation above the Shield is normal

This footage here is the same as in the American version although it has been reordered so that the scene flows more naturally. Now when Louise discovers the radiation above the Shield is normal, it seems as if 30 seconds have passed while they waited to get an accurate reading. There is also additional dialogue when one of her cohorts has to convince her to get moving before they all get caught.

9. Katana and the Priests watch Conner on a video screen

When Conner arrives at his favorite bar, a new transition into the past is achieved by showing Conner on a video screen with the date "New York City - July 16, 2024." Katana and the Priests watch this floating video screen and discuss the fact that Conner hasn't made his choice to return to the past or remain in the present. Katana is enlightened by this revelation and leaves to find his assassins.

10. Katana sends Corda and Reno to the future

New footage has Corda and Reno arguing against going to the future since Conner is old and will die soon. Katana doesn't care and sends them to the future anyway.

11. Conner's wounded hand magically heals in the bar

Conner has extra lines of dialogue when he asks the woman harassing him if she is the type of person who knows when to stop. After she attacks him with a bottle and cuts his hand, new footage shows the wound magically healing itself. Conner is shown very distressed and says "Oh no, not again!" Conner's immortality and healing occur here as a direct result of Corda and Reno arriving in the present.

12. Conner and Louise meet for first time

Conner meets Louise for the first time outside of the bar and additional dialogue reveals that Conner knows he is Immortal again. This dialogue was cut from the American version since Corda and Reno do not arrive there until after this conversation and, therefore, Conner was not Immortal yet.

13. Conner and Louise have more sex

New footage shows Conner and Louise having an extended sex scene up against a wall after their first kiss.

14. Extended fight scene between Conner and Corda

There is extra fight footage found between Conner and Corda right before Conner falls onto the top of the train. There is also an additional shot of the train coming out of a tunnel thereby setting up its arrival below them.

15. Ramirez's first flight in an airplane

The footage of Ramirez's flight over the Atlantic has been split into two parts, with the first part occurring here where Ramirez is shown in the plane looking worried with the title "Somewhere over the Atlantic."

16. Conner and Louise talk about the blue sky

New footage has Louise asking Conner if he has ever seen the blue sky since she is too young to remember it herself. He describes what it was like and she expresses her desire to see the sky at least once before she dies.

17. Katana watches Reno die

New footage shows Katana watching a floating video screen of Conner defeating Reno.

18. The Psychic Cook TV commercial

New footage shows a television monitor with a commercial for a cooking show called The Psychic Cook, which shows the state of television in 2024. This footage has been inserted before Katana crashes into the subway car when arriving from the future.

19. A Mother and baby on the subway car

There is now extra footage of a mother and her baby, in a baby carriage, on the subway car that Katana drives into a wall. There is also extra footage of several passengers being thrown against the back of the subway car with more blood and gore.

20. Conner arrives at The Shield Corporation

Extra footage shows Conner driving up to the entrance of TSC in his Porsche. He is allowed to enter the building after a hand scanner at the security desk validates his identity.

21. Alan and Conner discuss the Shield launch (Restored Flashback #1)

The first flashbacks restored to its correct place in the film occurs when Conner and Alan talk about the day the shield was launched. New footage shows them looking at a miniature model of Shield Control (although the plaque still reads "December Installation") and the time transition into the past occurs when Conner puts on a pair of goggles he finds next to the model. The camera slowly spins around him and then we are back in the year 1999 when the Shield is launched by Conner and Alan. This footage of the Shield launch was found at the beginning of the American version and was put there to have the narrative flow in chronological order.

22. Alan and Conner discuss the ozone layer

A new transition from the Shield launch flashback (see above) occurs when the camera pans down from the ceiling to reveal Conner and Alan in Alan's office. Extra footage shows Alan telling Conner, on the computer screen, that the ozone layer may be back to normal. He gives Conner half of the coordinates, before being interrupted, that show where the Shield has had a systems failure. The second half of the coordinates are needed to know where to go above the Shield to see if the ozone layer has repaired itself.

23. Katana takes a cab

Additional footage and dialogue extends the scene where Katana is driven to the empty warehouse by a cabbie named Jerry Pritchet. Jerry's extra dialogue deals with the decayed state of the world and the fact that he could introduce Katana to his sister. In the American version, this scene was immediately followed by Katana arriving in Blake's board meeting as if the empty warehouse and the Shield Corporation were the same place.

24. Ramirez's new two sided conversation with a female airplane passenger

This is the second part of Ramirez's trip over the Atlantic which begins with the title, "Still somewhere over the Atlantic." Ramirez's conversation with a female airplane passenger is no longer one sided as an extra line of dialogue is given to the woman. He asks, "Forgive me for asking yet again, but, ah, how do we remain so high above the earth with safety?" and she replies, "By drinking!"

25. Katana calls to Conner from the top of an empty warehouse

Katana stands on top of the empty warehouse and new dialogue is found when he says, "My kind of town. I'm waiting Macleod. Come to me. I'm waiting!" This footage of Katana was found in the American version at the end after Blake was killed.

26. Ramirez's joke with a female airplane passenger

There is an extra line of dialogue that finishes Ramirez's sentence when he talks with the female plane passenger. He says, "But on the contrary Virginia, all of the most beautiful women had dark hair : Helen of Troy, Cleopatra, Iphertiki, Joan of Arc. To name but a few. In fact, it's well known that the dark haired ladies...(like to sit on men's faces)"

27. Brenda's death in New York, 1998. (Restored Flashback #2)

Conner visit's the grave of his dead wife, Brenda, and in a new voiceover we hear her voice telling him that she is sorry for leaving so soon. There is a dissolve into a shot of the rising sun (which was used to open the American version) and the subtitle reads, "New York, 1998." Totally new footage follows of Brenda in a hospital bed with bandages over her eyes and burns, the victim of radiation poisoning. She makes Conner promise to help save the others from the same radiation that is killing her. This promise becomes Conner's motivation for building the Shield after she dies while he is holding her hand. As he walks away the camera pulls back to show a huge building full of radiation victims. This long shot was also found in the American version, at the beginning of the film, with voiceovers by people talking about the deadly radiation.

28. Conner enters an empty warehouse

New set-up footage has Conner pulling up in his car and opening the doorway of the empty warehouse. A long shot from inside the warehouse shows Conner walking in through the open doorway.

29. Alan is sent to MAX and Blake holds a board meeting

The Renegade version correctly reorders two scenes so that Blake first has Alan sent to MAX and then has a board meeting where he talks about a "reshuffling of the deck" at TSC. The American version had these two scenes reversed. At the end of the board meeting scene, Blake has an additional line when he says, "Ah, Wilson, could we get on the Highlander thing as soon as possible?"

30. Conner and Ramirez discuss the Shield coordinates

Additional footage and new dialogue has Conner telling Ramirez about the system failure and Shield coordinates given to him by Alan. Ramirez points out the fact that they need the second half of the coordinates before they can go above the Shield.

31. Conner and Ramirez acquire MAX security uniforms

After the doctor faints, there is an additional shot of Conner and Ramirez catching him and then another shot of them taking the guard's uniforms.

32. Alan reveals the Shield coordinates and dies

When Conner and Louise finally find Alan in MAX, there is extra footage and new dialogue. Alan gives them the rest of the Shield coordinates and tells Conner to go above the Shield to make sure everything is all right. Conner assures him that they were correct to build the Shield in the first place and then Alan dies.

33. Katana and Blake discuss Louise

Katana and Blake, watching Alan's death on a video screen, talk about Louise. Blake reveals that she is the leader of Cobalt and Katana makes fun of her. Blake claims they are already dead.

34. Conner and Louise steal a truck from MAX

New footage has Conner and Louise escaping from MAX by knocking out a guard and stealing a truck. They confront Katana on the way out of the parking lot when he blocks their path. Conner runs Katana over with the truck.

35. Conner fights Katana on the truck

New footage finds Conner and Louise driving in a deserted area and following Alan's coordinates. Katana, who has hung onto the bottom of the truck, eventually gets onto the roof where there is an extended fight scene with Conner. The fight eventually moves from the roof to the hood and ends when Katana is thrown from the truck.

36. Conner and Louise at the Shield access tower

New footage shows Conner and Louise arriving at a Shield access tower which they were lead to by Alan's coordinates. They pass a sign that reads, "Danger Shield Ceiling - Authorized Personnel Only." There are several shots of Conner and Louise as they climb up a long ladder with sparks and explosions surrounding them.

37. Katana and Blake discuss Conner

New footage shows Katana telling Blake that life will be very predictable after Conner is dead. Blake expresses concern that Katana is being over confident. Katana asks if Blake is betting on him and Blake states that he always plays the favorite.

38. Conner and Louise climb above the shield

New footage reveals Conner and Louise climbing out onto a mountainside where they discover that the sky is blue again. There are several shots of the mountains and clouds. They have discovered that ozone layer has, indeed, repaired itself. Conner decides that the Shield has to come down and states that there is only one way to do it.

39. Blake and Katana discuss Conner's next move

New footage shows Blake worried that Conner, who has been missing for 24 hours, has gotten above the Shield. He fears that TSC will end up in Chapter 11 if the truth about the ozone layer is revealed. Katana is convinced that all roads for Conner lead back to him. Blake very smugly points out that Katana is wrong as Conner and Louise are seen speeding in a truck for the Shield generator. Katana kills Blake for suggesting he has made a mistake. The American version is much shorter and has Blake pointing out that Katana is wrong when Conner and Louise escape from the exhaust fan room in MAX. Katana's reaction is the same.

40. Guards patrolling outside of The Shield Corporation

New footage of the outside of TSC and the floodgates is followed by a shot of two guards on a platform. A final shot of the bridge over the floodgates is shown with guards walking on it.

41. The world without the Shield

When the satellite above the Earth explodes, there are two new shots of the Earth and the city covered by the Shield. This is followed by an extremely long shot of the Shield disappearing from the Earth, as found in the American version. We are then treated to two more new shots; one of the bar that Conner went to earlier and then the city, both with a sky full of stars serving as the background.

42. Conner and Louise kiss as the Shield Corporation burns

Conner and Louise kiss on the edge of a lake as the Shield generator burns in the distance. A voiceover by Ramirez reiterates what he said earlier in the film, "Most people have a full measure of life and most people just watch it slowly drip away. But if you can summon it all up at one time, in one place, you can accomplish something glorious." The film ends with a shot of the Earth that is no longer covered by the Shield.

Article Index

Legend | Dune | Highlander II | Highlander II Liner Notes | Brazil | Buckaroo Banzai

New Nightmare | Phantasm

Last updated by Sean (figment@figmentfly.com) on January 1st, 2006