the Highlander The series is unique in both scope, story, and characters. It tells the story of a group of humans blessed – and cursed – with immortality who live through the ages in secret, fighting each other in a mysterious Game. These highly skilled cinematic sword fighters are governed by a code of conduct and rules that dictate how they engage each other in combat.
This includes victory, which is achieved by cutting off the heads of others and absorbing their accumulated power in a process known as “Acceleration”. the Highlander The movie franchise has a lot of these for everyone, but some are far more goofy and ridiculous than others.
10 Dumber: The Guardian vs. Zai (Highlander: The Source)
It was not only the fourth and last Highlander filming the worst of the bunch (by far), but their Quickenings were some of the dumbest. It doesn’t help when the main antagonist is an extremely boring and uninteresting super assassin, brought to life with ridiculous special effects and an expressionless personality. In essence, The Guardian is the fusion of the Highlander villains that came before, but much less interesting.
The proof is shown at the beginning of the movie when the Guardian attacks Zai in a corporate tower and beheads him after throwing him across a conference table. The resulting Quickening features some of the worst CGI cinematic effects and is so over the top it ruins the actual climax, destroying the entire tower and sweeping it to the ground.
9 Best: Connor vs. Fasil (Highlander)
This Quickening is not the best of the bunch, but it is still one of the most memorable. It was the first to be shown on screen in the original. Highlander movie, and that helped give the audience a little exposure on what happens when one immortal beheads another. Future Quickenings would be much more dramatic, but this one served its purpose.
It took place in an underground parking lot, where Connor MacLeod took on an old friend named Fasil (played by the iconic Star Wars stunt coordinator Peter Diamond). The creepiness of Quickening helped tell a story on its own and added to the mystique and charm of the everlasting and immortal Game.
8 Dumber: The Kurgan vs. Kastagir (Highlander)
This particular Quickening is one of the dumbest, for the best reasons. It begins with the feared Kurgan fighting Connor’s immortal friend Kastagir (played by Hugh Quarshie from Star Wars: The Phantom Menace) in an alley. Unbeknownst to them, the two are harassed by an exaggerated Vietnam veteran, who is not very happy that this fight is taking place on his turf.
After Kurgan beheads Kastagir, he kills the victor without realizing that he is immortal. When the Kurgan recovers, he stabs the former soldier in the chest with his massive sword before escaping in an old man’s car, with the veteran’s terrified wife still in the passenger seat. It just felt too random.
7 Best: Connor vs. Kane (Highlander III: The Sorcerer)
While the general premise of the third Highlander The movie was mostly a direct copy of the original (down to the deep-voiced villain), the element of magic and mysticism was fairly new to myths. Kane wasn’t the best villain Connor could have faced, but he did do a few things that set him apart from other baddies, including attacking another immortal on holy ground, which broke his iconic ivory dragon katana.
By the time the movie was nearing its end, audiences were happy to see Connor wrap up the game once more (or so he thought) by “killing” Kane. The resulting Quickening was reminiscent of Kurgan’s beheading in the first Highlander, even if it wasn’t so visually great.
6 Dumber: Kell vs. Carlos (Highlander: Endgame)
Jacob Kell was one of the most interesting Highlander villains in the franchise, primarily due to their penchant for breaking all the rules. Although repercussions were never shown on screen in the same way as in Highlander III, It was intriguing to see a completely disinterested villain in the Game itself.
To lure Connor in, Kell had his immortal minions attack a fellow clanmate, Duncan MacLeod, at Connor’s old home. He managed to defend himself before Kell arrived, however the renegade immortal Carlos shot Duncan and sent him flying out a window. The interruption enraged Kell so much that he beheaded Carlos on the spot. The severed head that blinked slowly was especially silly, given how terrible the CGI was.
5 Best: Duncan vs. Kell (Highlander: Endgame)
Duncan was forced to behead his own clan member, Connor MacLeod, to absorb the culmination of his Quickenings. This and this alone would give him something like a chance to fight the hugely overpowered Kell. Duncan faced his enemy, but it was a brutal fight, from start to finish.
Every time Duncan gained an advantage, Kell countered it. One last graceful move from Duncan managed to catch Kell off guard, chopping off his head and sparking one of the most impressive Quickenings in the franchise. One can only wonder how powerful Duncan became in that moment.
4 Dumber: Kane vs. Nakano (Highlander III: The Sorcerer)
The opening act of Highlander III tries to tell the story of what happened to Connor after his loving wife Heather died in Scotland. It shows him searching for the sorcerer and sword master known as Nakano, the same man who taught Ramirez to fight. There, he gained valuable knowledge that would help him hone his skills.
Unfortunately, both Connor and Nakano were attacked by the renegade immortal Kane and his minions. Connor fled while Nakano created two exact magical duplicates of himself, but Kane saw through the illusion. He beheaded Nakano and absorbed his power as the severed head continued to speak. It was one of the dumbest Quickenings in the franchise, by far.
3 Best: Connor vs. Duncan (Highlander: Endgame)
This particular Quickening wasn’t about pure emotion, the absorption of power, or the defeat of a deadly enemy. It was about a man who had to do the impossible to succeed and stop a madman. Connor started a fight between himself and Duncan in an attempt to get him to kill him so that he could absorb his power.
The resulting Quickening was heartbreaking. While Duncan absorbed all the shock of Connor’s combined Quickenings, he also shared his memories in a fitting flashback tribute to the original MacLeod (and Christopher Lambert, the actor who played him). It would be the last time Lambert would pick up the katana.
2 Dumber: Connor vs. Reno (Highlander II: The Quickening)
After killing the Kurgan and erecting a powerful shield to protect the planet from harmful ultraviolet radiation, Connor MacLeod became a weary old man who was ready to die alone and in peace. He was no longer particularly interested in saving the planet, nor did he feel that he had the strength to fight in a meaningful capacity.
That changed when General Katana sent Corda and Reno to kill him. He barely survived an encounter with Corda before the villain was accidentally beheaded, causing a Quickening that restored Connor’s youth and power. Revitalized, Connor fought Reno to the death. Death, like the Quickening, was incredibly silly, and the battle that preceded it downright ridiculous.
one Best: Connor vs. Kurgan (Highlander)
The final fight between Connor and Kurgan in the original Highlander film continues to stand the test of time as the best Quickening in the series. It came completely by accident when the filmmakers had trouble figuring out what such a fundamental Quickening would look like. In the end, they opted for a mix of practical effects and hand-drawn animation to give an idea of what Connor was going through.
Not only was it creepy, it was deeply symbolic, extremely powerful, and more than a little unnerving. When he finished, Connor seemed to have absorbed the power of the galaxy itself. It wasn’t the legendary Prize you thought it was, but it did go a long way in showing just how powerful the Kurgan was.
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