Highlander III: The Sorcerer

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Highlander: The Final Dimension
Highlander 3 poster.jpg
Directed by Andrew Morahan
Produced by Claude Léger
Screenplay by
  • Paul Ohl
  • René Manzor
  • Brad Mirman
Story by
  • Brad Mirman
  • William N. Panzer
Based on Characters 
by Gregory Widen
Music by J. Peter Robinson
Distributed by Miramax Films
Release dates
  • November 30, 1994 (1994-11-30) (Philippines)
  • December 9, 1994 (1994-12-09) (United Kingdom)
  • January 27, 1995 (1995-01-27) (United States)
Running time
99 minutes
  • United Kingdom
  • Canada
  • France
Language English
Budget $26 million[1]
Box office $12.3–$13.7 million[1][2]

Highlander III: The Sorcerer, also known as Highlander III, Highlander III: The Magician, Highlander III: The Final Dimension, Highlander: The Final Dimension and Highlander 3: The Final Conflict, is the third installment in the Highlander film series. It was first released on November 30, 1994. A stand-alone alternate sequel to the original film, it is the final Highlander film that focuses on Connor MacLeod as the protagonist. It is a Canadian, French, and British co-production.


From the dawn of time we came, moving silently among you, down through the centuries...Immortals. I'm Connor MacLeod of the clan MacLeod, the Highlander. After the death of my friend Ramírez and my beloved wife Heather, I left my home in the Highlands of Scotland and began to wander the world, searching for answers. Finally I came to Japan, to the mountains of Niri, and the cave of the sorcerer Nakano.

— Connor MacLeod

16th century

Some time after the death of his wife Heather, Connor travels to Japan to request training from the Immortal Japanese sorcerer Nakano. Nakano holds his residence in a cave of Mount Niri, and has gained a reputation as a master of Illusion. However, another Immortal named Kane is also interested in mastering the power of Illusion. He is making his way across Asia in order to reach Nakano, with two henchmen in tow (Khabul Khan and Senghi Khan). Entering a nearby village seeking information, they proceed to burn it to the ground, and massacre its population. Eventually, they reach the cave. Kane soon defeats and decapitates Nakano, despite Connor's attempts to prevent this. However, the energies released during the Quickening cause the cave to collapse. The Highlander manages to escape in time, but Kane and his men are left trapped inside the depths of the mountain. Their situation prevents them from participating in "The Gathering" of 1985.

18th century

In 1788/1789, Connor was in France, where he makes the acquaintance of Sarah Barrington, an Englishwoman visiting relatives there, and who happens to resemble the future Alex Johnson. The two eventually become lovers. However, when the French Revolution begins, MacLeod becomes involved.

MacLeod is captured, and sentenced to death by guillotine for treason against King Louis XVI of France. His Immortal friend Pierre Bouchet explains that he was tired of his immortal life, and dupes the guards into executing him in his place. Connor is falsely reported deceased. Believing her lover dead, Sarah is left grieving. After his escape, MacLeod returns to discover that she has moved on with her life by marrying another man, and having children.

Modern day

In 1994, Connor is living with his adopted son John in Marrakesh. It is revealed that in 1987, Brenda Wyatt, the woman he married after the Gathering, was killed in a car accident. Although he survived the accident himself, he still believes that "The Game" is over. Meanwhile, in Japan, two archaeologists have started excavating a cave in order to discover whether the legend of the sorcerer Nakano was based on fact. One of these archaeologists is Dr. Alexandra Johnson, whose interests in the legend eventually will lead her to Connor MacLeod. Connor is intrigued by Alex due to her resemblance to Sarah.

The excavations free Kane, who immediately sets out in pursuit of Connor, sending Khabul ahead and beheading Senghi to get his power. MacLeod leaves John in the care of his friend Jack Donovan, and then departs to New York City to engage in the final showdown for the Prize. When he arrives in New York, he is found by Khabul: the two fight, and Connor wins. However, when Khabul's decapitated body is found in a hospital washroom, Lt. John Stenn goes on the trail of the main suspect of the 1985 "headhunter" case, Russell Nash. Russell Nash was the alias used by MacLeod during the time of the Gathering. As Alex investigates a piece of cloth found on the site, she discovers that it is a shred of a kilt, with a design that designates a branch of the MacLeod family. This leads her to Nash Antiques, where Connor has returned in preparation for the battle against Kane. The Highlander is confronted on Holy Ground at a former Buddhist shrine by Kane, who proceeds to challenge him. The resulting fight is a violation of the Immortal Golden Rule; the battle ends when MacLeod's katana blade is shattered. Kane flees, and Connor decides to return to the Scottish Highlands to build another sword though his initial attempts are unsuccessful.

Alex tracks him down to give him a bar of finely refined steel that she found in Nakano's cave with which he is able to forge a new sword, and the two then become lovers. However, the trip is cut short, as MacLeod learns from Jack Donovan that his son John is on a plane bound for New York. MacLeod returns as quickly as possible, but he's too late. Kane abducts John, and holds him hostage to lure MacLeod to him. MacLeod meets Kane in an old church mission in Jersey City, NJ, and then follows him into an abandoned power plant for their final battle. The Highlander defeats Kane, wins the Prize by receiving the final Quickening, and returns to Scotland with Alex and John to live out the rest of his natural life.


Actor Role
Christopher Lambert Connor MacLeod / Russell Nash
Mario Van Peebles Kane
Deborah Kara Unger Dr. Alexandra Johnson / Sarah Barrington
Martin Neufeld Lt. John Stenn
Mako Iwamatsu Nakano
Raoul Trujillo Senghi Khan
Jean-Pierre Perusse Khabul Khan
Daniel Do Dr. Fuji Takamura
Gabriel Kakon John MacLeod
Louis Bertignac Pierre Bouchet
Michael Jayston Jack Donovan


Critical reaction to Highlander III has been negative. It holds a 5% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 20 reviews.[3]

Stephen Holden of The New York Times remarked, "How could an action-adventure film that cost $34 million, most of which clearly went into pyrotechnics, computerized special effects and scenic locations, end up looking cheap, silly and lifeless? [The film is] an incoherent mess [and] has performances that are one-dimensional even by the undemanding standards of the genre."[4]

The BBC's review gave the film a score of two stars out of five, saying: "This is a far superior film to Highlander II [but] it is really a copy of the first one. ... It really feels as if the Highlander story has no more to give us—but that would be very wrong. Perhaps the best thing this third movie did was promote the generally better TV series."[5]

Christopher Null of FilmCritic.com also gave Highlander III two stars out of five, saying: "The third in a line of increasingly perplexing Highlander movies, Highlander: The Final Dimension steals wholesale the plot from the original, just throwing in some fresh faces. ... Ultra-fans will rejoice in the face of the third installment—and it's nowhere near as bad as Highlander II—but most of you can give it a pass."[6]

Box office[edit]

The film debuted at No.2.[7] The following week it dropped to No.7.[8]

Behind the scenes[edit]

Reportedly, Christopher Lambert considered this film to be the "real" sequel to the original film,[citation needed] since the actual Highlander II: The Quickening was such a radical departure from what the first film established. The movie completely ignores the events of Highlander II and makes no mention of them. Also, in a 1996 Cinefantastique interview, Highlander producer William Panzer mentioned that several references to the TV series' continuity were inserted into this film as a means of linking it to the TV universe.

Many of the locations in Scotland from the original film were revisited for this sequel. Several scenes were shot in province of Quebec in Canada: the medieval Japanese village and the building in which Nakano's cave is found were shot near Montreal. Plus, many sequences in New York were actually shot in Montreal, as well. Other scenes for this film were shot in Morocco.

The U.S. theatrical release was rated PG-13 (the rating is slightly noticeable in the poster featured on this page), and a slightly-longer R-rated Special Director's Cut was later released on home video with two sex scenes trimmed from the theatrical release restored. On top of this, additional violence was reinstated, mainly the shot of Kane's head rolling off. The PG-13 theatrical cut originally only showed Kane's head wobbling from side to side, then cutting immediately to the extreme close-up on Connor saying, "There can be only one."

Furthermore, several enhanced visual effects shots are present in the American version, including Kane's arrival in New York City (via a teleportation portal, instead of stepping off of a freighter in the international version), as well as during the final Quickening sequence (where several additional shots of Connor levitating are seen, complete with new VFX work). Also, the American Final Dimension cut includes alternate musical tracks and cues (including the song "God Took a Picture" during the ending credits instead of Loreena McKennitt's "Bonny Portmore," and a rock-instrumental version of Motley Crue's "Dr. Feelgood" during the final battle between MacLeod and Kane).



External links[edit]