Film and TV

Cinema Slap Fight: Sex And The City 2 Vs. Highlander II

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In This Corner: 2010's Sex and the City 2 -- or SATC2, as it's referred to by those in the "biz" (my friends and I referred to it simply as That Other Movie About Those Self-Absorbed Hags with White People Problems). The sequel to the original SATC, itself a spinoff of the inexplicably long-running HBO series of the same name.

And In This Corner: Subtitled The Quickening, Highlander II was released in 1991, five years after the cult favorite original, which I think most of us felt ended on a satisfactorily final note: Connor MacLeod (Christopher Lambert), having defeated the Kurgan, receives the Prize. For those who don't remember, the Prize consisted of becoming mortal and being able to hear others' thoughts, which seems like lousy payback for someone who had to kill hundreds of people.

What's In A Plot? Minus the increased use of soft focus and uncomfortably lengthening age gap between (then 52-year-old) Samantha and her strapping conquests, the only thing setting Sex and the City 2 apart from the original, or the series for that matter, was the location. Writer/director Michael Patrick King said he was moved by the global economic recession to set the sequel in the luxurious confines of Abu Dhabi, because if there's anything someone working two jobs and struggling to raise a family wants to watch, it's a quartet of pampered fashion victims spending someone else's money in an exotic locale while complaining about a) their millionaire husband or b) how tough it is raising kids. With a nanny. Way to have your elbow firmly planted on the pulse of America, King.

But there's comfort in familiarity, which is why Highlander II easily wins this category. Reportedly due to script meddling by the company in Argentina contracted to insure the production, the quaint history of the Immortals is junked to include an extraterrestrial backstory and an ecological cautionary tale so muddled and unintelligible it's almost impossible to watch the original anymore without cringing. Director Russell Mulcahy walked out of the film's world premiere, and Lambert threatened to leave the production itself but was legally prevented from doing so. Certainly, when it comes to the Highlander films, there should have been only one.

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Peter Vonder Haar writes movie reviews for the Houston Press and the occasional book. The first three novels in the "Clarke & Clarke Mysteries" - Lucky Town, Point Blank, and Empty Sky - are out now.
Contact: Pete Vonder Haar