The Search For Vengeance

Starring (voice): Alistair Abell, Eid Lakis and Zachary Samuels
Manga Entertainment
RRP: 16.99
Certificate: 15
Available 09 July 2007

Warrior, Colin MacLeod has travelled through the ages, endlessly searching for a fellow immortal, Marcus Octavius, the man responsible for killing his lover on the Celtic plains tens of centuries ago. His journey has taken him to a post-apocalyptic New York in the year 2187. The city, now a partly submerged ruin, is ruled by Octavius, whose despotic plans for the future include the mass murder of the city's populace. MacLeod has the power to save the survivors, but driven by a blinding bloodlust, he has only one goal - to avenge the murder of his lover. After countless encounters with each other on the bloody battlefields of history, neither MacLeod nor Octavius has managed to emerge victorious. Will the remnants of New York prove to be the final battleground as these two immortals once again come face to face?...

Highlander: The Search for Vengeance could have been a fantastic addition to the Highlander franchise. But, sadly, a weak script and two dimensional characters mean that this isn't half the story that it should have been.

The end result is a rather lame revenge tale that sees Colin MacLeod spending centuries trying, unsuccessfully, to avenge the death of his one and only true love. Bitterness has eaten him up to the point where he only has one reason left to live - he lives for vengeance against his lover's killer - another immortal.

The script is incredibly paper thin, which is surprising when you consider that the back story has already been written for then. Colin, it would appear, is actually Connor from the Highlander movie - albeit with a few slight alterations to that tale. However, he does belong to the MacLeod clan and is killed in battle, only to be resurrected and banished from his clan. The rest of the tale follows MacLeod (in flashback) as he travels through the ages trying to kill his lover's murderer. And... er... that's about it.

Seems a bit of a wasted life to me. Bitterness and torment has, over all those centuries, turned MacLeod into a bit of a shallow and pathetic man - and certainly not a hero the audience can warm to. The end result is that you don't really care what happens to him. The villain, Octavius, on the other hand, is a charismatic man who has spent his time using the earth, and it's inhabitants, as his plaything. He manipulates those around him in order to build an army that can help him in his quest - to defend him from the other immortals who are out to kill each other.

Throughout the ages MacLeod and Octavius meet on numerous battlefields. The result is always predictably the same. MacLeod gets beaten and Octavius is distracted from beheading his prey. So, what we get is the same scenarios that just becomes ludicrous after a while. MacLeod finds Octavius and confronts him. Octavius is stronger, faster and generally slices MacLeod up badly (without even getting cut by MacLeod's sword), at the height of the battle Octavius's sword cuts through MacLeod's - leaving it in two pieces - and just as he is about to kill MacLeod he is distracted or interrupted in some way. By the end, I was rooting for Octavius - at least he was living his life and was by far the better swordsman.

Extras include East Meets West: Filmmaker's Crossing Borders (13 min behind the scenes featurette); Interview with director Yoshiaki Kawajiri (9 min look at his take on the movie); Stills, Drawings and Stories (6 min photo montage of stills from the movie, as well as production drawings, set to music); the original teaser by Madhouse Studios; and trailers for other anime releases.

The most annoying thing about these DVD features was the fact that someone seems to have hit the zoom function whilst transferring them to DVD. On all of them there seems to be quite a lot of the image missing from the top, bottom, left and right of the screen. This is most obvious when two people are on screen at the same time. What you get is one interviewee on the left of the screen with half his head missing, and another half-headed man on the right of the screen. And the titles that appear to explain who is being interviewed are also chopped off. Oh, and then there's the fact that it's almost impossible to read what the features are on the features menu, because a poor font is used and the text size is a little too small.

All in all, this is a pretty mediocre offering which is made worse by a very poor presentation.

Pete Boomer

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