Thursday, November 10, 2016

The Different Cuts of "Highlander II"


(A Hand pulling a card designed by Stevie Swigart with the statistics of James Faraci The Last Of The Americans while putting it into the Robo Knight Robo Morpher and punching in the code 428 from the 0:00-0:03 mark from the theme from the final season of American Gladiators original run. 0:04 mark from the theme from the final season of American Gladiators shows James Faraci morphing into James Faraci The Last Of The Americans with his Long sleeve Tee-Shirt with the American flag design on it, Blue cargo Jeans and Tan Work boots until 0:07 mark from the theme from the final season of American Gladiators original run as scene cuts to James stocking up on his arsenal from the Classic Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers Morpher, a bandoleer stocked up with Sonic Screwdrivers, Ammunition for a 303 British Rifle and said rifle, The Ring Of Aeon, The Gem From the Gauntlet Malachite’s Hand, Emmalina’s amulet and the Sword Of Caliverti from 0:08-0:15 mark from the theme from the final season of American Gladiators. 0:15-0:29 mark from the theme from the final season of American Gladiators original run shows James leaping and running through moments from the 2015 calendar year of his reviews ranging from James landing on Linkara, to James getting his nards smashed, To Josie & The Pussycats running into James’ office, to James and Paulo dressed as the Mario Brothers on a snow sled, to Everyone at team TLOTA running out of James’ office, to James leading the charge against the Cullens and the vampires of The Twilight Saga, to Rowdy turning his head to Paulo with a demented smile on his face as everyone save for James looks scared as James has his right hand with defeat on his face until the 0:30 mark from the theme from the final season of American Gladiators shows when James pulls out a sonic screwdriver towards the Power Rangers then cuts over to a slab of titanium where lasers cut out “The Last Of The Americans” until 0:36 mark from the theme from the final season of American Gladiators original run when James lands on top of the slab while doing a heroic pose with Paulo Fonseca, John Santos, Eliza Dushku & Eric Kurtzke on his right and Rebecca & Nick Yaun, Traci Hines, Renee Miller and Mike Santos on his left doing their own heroic poses on a black background the 0:36-end mark from the theme from the final season of American Gladiators original run play the camera moves back to see James on top of the slab with the words “The Last Of The Americans” on it before cutting to James talking to Olivia Horvath.)

TLOTA: So, that’s the lay of the studio, what do you think?

Olivia Horvath: Well, it’s a nice place, that transport reminds me of The TARDIS but it’s effective to help get things

TLOTA: And again, I feel I must thank you for helping me out the past couple of months. You have been invaluable to everyone here.

Olivia Horvath: Well after getting slimed in your review of “Ghostbusters: Answer the Call” and all the rest of the crazy stuff that happened over the past few months, I figured it be worth some of my time to help.

TLOTA: So, you’ll join our group full-time when you can? I mean, you’ll be in skits, sketches and can help if we need make-up and appliances placed on us and trust me we all do multiple roles here. Outside of me hosting and writing all of this, Myself, Paulo, Nick, Eric, John & Mike are great with making the Props, Renee is our go-to Costume maker, Rebecca helps with keeping everything financially above the breakeven point and as for Traci Hines and Eliza Dushku they correct something if I made like a mistake in references and I feel they give us a sense of security and credibility. So, what do you say? Want to join our troop of crazy characters?

Olivia Horvath: Absolutely, it might be fun for me!

TLOTA: Awesome. So, this month I have another episode of “The Different Cuts” coming up and next month will be our annual Christmas Reviewerverse get-together. You’ll be able to mingle and meet others in my profession and… (The door to the utility closet off screen and Noah “Spoony” Antwiler falls shocking both. James flips him over and uses his Tri-Corder to check his vitals and rushes into ORAC’s Chamber)

TLOTA: ORAC! Give me an analysis from the readings. (ORAC hums for a few seconds before cutting to everyone)

TLOTA (Off-Screen): Well ORAC let me know he’s been here since Mid-July and he’ll be awake soon so… (James walks in.)

TLOTA: What’s going on?

Paulo Fonseca: We were just wondering who he is or was?

TLOTA: That’s Spoony and he’ll be awake soon!

Eliza Dushku: That’s Spoony?

TLOTA: That’s Spoony.

Eliza Dushku: And what did he say to Jacob Chapman who was formally known as Hope Chapman also formally known as JesuOtaku? (James whispers what Spoony said to JesuOtaku) Well, I know how I can help revive him! (Eliza pulls out a switchblade knife as everyone else goes “Whoa!” and tries to stop her as Spoony wakes up and sees the knife.)

Spoony: So, what’s happening? We having cake? (Cut to Everyone else)

Eliza Dushku: Damn it, he’s an idiot to boot. (Eliza picks up Spoony) Now you listen and listen good. Say one thing out of line and I will gut you, you trout mouthed prick and play twister with your vitals! (Pulls out the switchblade knife again) Got it? (Spoony nods yes in fear of her as she walks away from Spoony and everyone else save for James walks with her leaving James and Spoony in the same room.)

Spoony: So, I take it you had to tell her? (Cut to James.)

TLOTA: Yep! So, do you realize how long you’ve been in there? (Cut to Spoony)

Spoony: A couple of hours? (Cut to James)

TLOTA: It’s mid-November. (Cut to Spoony)

Spoony: AW DAMN IT! and I had “Highlander II” to riff on for the party (Two copies of Highlander II drop out of Spoony’s right hand as James picks them up.)

TLOTA: Well this is gonna be as mentally disturbing as seeing “Turning Japanese” as performed by Kirsten Dunst.

Spoony (Audio only): What watching “Highlander II”? I could’ve told you that!

TLOTA: No! I’m talking about watching The Different Cuts of “Highlander II”

(Show James, Paulo & Rebecca dressed as butchers grabbing the same reel of film and a diagram of the reel of film. James Paulo & Rebecca look at both the three go to a meat slicer, all three slice different thicknesses with Paulo’s cut saying “The” James’s cut saying “Different” and Rebecca’s cut saying “Cuts” before cutting to the first Highlander movie & Highlander II as James and Spoony do voiceovers.)

TLOTA (Voiceover): The First “Highlander” movie when it was released in 1986 was a minor hit at the box office but has since gained a cult status and has become a staple in the Sword and Sorcery Genre of filmmaking. It gave Sean Connery a boost in his career he was surely needing and kick started Christopher Lambert’s career.

Spoony (Voiceover): However, the problem I have with the sequels and spin-offs is that it takes away from what should’ve been a stand-alone movie. But in 1991 we got “Highlander II” and it was eviscerated by everyone. Hell, I eviscerated it! But I also mentioned that it was one of the first fan-made re-cut movies ever made.

TLOTA (Voiceover): But today we’ll be looking at The Theatrical Cut and The Official Director’s cut or Renegade Version to see which one is the better version. (Cut to James and Spoony on the couch in the main lobby.)

Spoony: Well, hands down without a shadow of the doubt it is The Renegade Version.

TLOTA: But for Giggles and Squats let’s just say for arguments sake we find out if it is there is anything enjoyable in the theatrical cut as well. Let’s start out with the plot. (Cut to images of the covers of “Highlander II” as the last 26 seconds of “Princes of The Universe” play in the background as two swords slice down before the words “The Plot” are seen before cutting to James and Spoony doing voiceovers)

Spoony (Voiceover): Set in the far future of 2024.

TLOTA (Voiceover): So, AFTER Trump becomes President and screws the pooch.

Spoony (Voiceover): Pretty much. But, as you say it best, I digress. Connor MacLeod is an old man and discovers his Ozone layer replacement shield is now causing more harm than it is good. So, he decides to team up with a rebel who wants to shut the device down for good. Oh, we also discover how Connor MacLeod was immortal in the first movie and this is something that must be heard. I’m dead fricking serious. Take the magnification to its maximum, listen to the voice of Ramirez. This must be seen AND heard to be believed. (Cut to James and Spoony on the couch as Spoony forces James to be as close to the camera as possible.)

Spoony: No, James, I’m serious, GET IN CLOSE! OKAY SEAN CONNERY’S DISEMBODIED VOICE TELL US THE SOURCE OF IMMORTALITY PER THE WRITERS OF THIS TURKEY! (Cut to the scenes of Ramirez talking about how they’re aliens before cutting to James’ jaw hitting the ground!)

TLOTA: They… CAN’T… BE… SERIOUS WITH THIS, ARE THEY?! (Spoony nods to say yes) ALIENS?! The reason Connor MacLeod and Ramirez is immortal is because they’re Aliens from a faraway planet called Zeist and they were going to be left to live forever banished from there! (Cut to the entertainment center as a cartoonish slide whistle is heard and Georgio A. Tsoukalos played by Paulo Fonseca pops up out of nowhere like a cartoon!)

Georgio A. Tsoukalos: You two don’t understand! (Cut to James and Spoony jumping back and screams before cutting to Georgio A. Tsoukalos.) Aliens are the reason we’re not living in caves. Because they used their enhanced ways to teach us lesser beings and because of it every one of our greatest accomplishments from Stonehenge to the Internet and after all of that we’ve just begun to scratch the surface of what they have given us and this movie is proof that Aliens are the reason we will find Immortality and how we will survive beyond the Nuclear Holocaust… (Cut to James and Spoony on the couch)

Spoony: James… Do Something!

TLOTA: Okay. ORAC! Theta Level Defense! (James pulls out his Sonic Screwdriver as Georgio A. Tsoukalos continues to ramble before a battering ram hits him and is flung through the front door as everyone else locks the door with everything including a kitchen sink before cutting to James and Spoony on the couch)

TLOTA: Thanks, guys! (Cut to everyone else saying “No Problem” or “You’re Welcome” before walking away except Eliza who gives Spoony the “I’ll be watching you!” sign before walking away before cutting to the movies as James and Spoony do voiceovers.)

TLOTA (Voiceover): Thankfully all the other versions have cut that one detail out and say that they’re from a distant unspecified part of the past on our planet. Probably after we gained human speech. So, it’s pretty much a no brainer why the better one is The Renegade Cut. It doesn’t give guys like Georgio and their ramblings on any validity. It focuses on what needs to be done for Connor and his new love interest to take down the bad guy and disable the Ozone shield.

Spoony (Voiceover): So, that means….? (Cut to James sitting and sighing as Spoony looks on with a look of glee.)

TLOTA: The first point goes to The Renegade Cut. (Cut to images of the covers of “Highlander II” as The Renegade version has Connor’s sword over the cover of it while the Theatrical one remains untouched before cutting to James and Spoony on the couch.)

Spoony: This has been fun. What’s next?

TLOTA: Well Spoony we find out which one was edited better. (Cut to images of the covers of “Highlander II” as the last 26 seconds of “Princes of The Universe” play in the background as two swords slice down before the words “Editing” are seen before cutting to James and Spoony doing voiceovers)

Spoony (Voiceover): Why would editing factor into what makes a movie better or worse?

TLOTA (Voiceover): Well there is at least fifty tons of footage shot when you make a movie. As much as the actors or the director should be credited for their work the one who makes the movie either work or fail is The Editor.  But which one was edited better. Well let’s break it down into categories. First off the action. There is No Doubt that the action is well edited in the theatrical cut but it feels much tighter in the Renegade Cut. Next up the effects. In the theatrical cut, yeah the effects are pretty bad you could feel the eighties cheese oozing out while trying to get into what the 1990’s was trying to offer. But with the Renegade cut yeah they cleaned up a lot of the sloppiness from the theatrical cut. Finally, how the story gets affected the editing and this is where the differences are Night and Day. Again, editing out the most FAR-FETCHED Theory as to why MacLeod and Ramirez are immortal! (Georgio A. Tsoukalos again comes in like a cartoon again!)

Georgio A. Tsoukalos: It is NOT Far-Fetched it is scientific fact that everything that enhanced our existence has been because of these inter-dimensional aliens who somehow move faster than even we can imagine how fast light can move because…  (Cut to James and Spoony on the couch)

Spoony: Every syllable out of his mouth is making my head want to commit Seppuku!

TLOTA: On it! (James whips out his Sonic Screwdriver before cutting to Georgio A. Tsoukalos as he falls through the floor and screams incredibly like Goofy before hearing a faint “My Cabbages!” then the rest of the team closing the trap door and sealing it shut even screwing down a piece of solid oak before cutting to James and Spoony on the couch)

TLOTA: Thanks again! (Cut to everyone else)

Eric Kurtzke: Hey if we get paid well, it’s worth the work!

Eliza Dushku: And if he steps out of line, I’d be glad to put him down like a rabid dog! (Cut to James and Spoony on the couch)

Spoony: I wasn’t even thinking of the ramifications of my actions; do you know it’s taken me these past few years to get even this crossover! (Cut to everyone else)

Rebecca Yaun: Well if you’re not careful, We WILL let Eliza off the chain! (Everyone else walks away before cutting to James and Spoony)

Spoony: Anyway, which cut in your opinion is better edited?

TLOTA: Well…. (Cut to both cuts of Highlander II as James does a voiceover.)

TLOTA (Voiceover): To be honest, I can’t say. It’s too close to call so I have no choice but to give both movies the point! (Cut to Spoony and James on the couch)

Spoony: WHAT?! THEY BOTH GET A POINT?!

TLOTA: Take it easy or else I’ll leave you in a room with Eliza! Besides the director’s cut is ahead 2 to 1 in total points. That is how it works at the end, the total amount of points gathered. Capische?!

Spoony: Capische. (Cut to images of the covers of “Highlander II” as The Renegade version has two of Connor’s swords over the cover of it while the Theatrical one remains one of Connor’s swords over it before cutting to James and Spoony on the couch.)

TLOTA: Well it’s two to one in favor of The Renegade version but can the theatrical cut make up ground or should I be cutting the head off it and claiming the prize myself. We’ll find out after the break!

Spoony: Do we have to?

TLOTA: I need Liquid I.Q. to finish getting through this!

(0:36-end mark from the theme from the final season of American Gladiators original run play the camera moves back to see James on top of the slab with the words “The Last Of The Americans” on it act as the commercial break intro and return to James & Spoony on the couch.)

Spoony: MMM! That’s some good Liquid I.Q.!

TLOTA: Yep and I think we have enough to finish up with the last two qualifications so let’s get down to the second to last one.

(Cut to images of the covers of “Highlander II” as the last 26 seconds of “Princes Of The Universe” play in the background as two swords slice down before the words “Cast and Characters” are seen before cutting to James and Spoony doing voiceovers)

TLOTA (Voiceover): Getting the two main men back to reprise their roles of Ramirez played by Sean Connery and of course the Highlander himself Connor MacLeod played by Christopher Lambert was a good idea. John C. McGinley and Virginia Madsen were also great cast choices even though the performances range from decent to over the top goofy but WHAT WERE THEY THINKING WITH MICHAEL IRONSIDE AS KATANA?!

Spoony (Voiceover): What was he over the top even for you?

TLOTA (Voiceover): No, but he wasn’t a good choice. I’ll say that. In fact, I can imagine what it was like on set. (Cut to Noah “Spoony” Antwiler dressed like Michael Ironside as Katana, James dressed like Christopher Lambert as Connor and John Ross Santos dressed like Sean Connery as Ramirez)

Sean Connery: Can you believe this script? I’ve crapped better movies than this when I had the Squats!

Michael Ironside: I hear you but let’s face it, this is a paycheck movie. I’ve got this great role in a Schwarzenegger movie “Total Recall”. I think it’s gonna be a breakout role.

Sean Connery: Schwarzenegger, now there is a flash in the pan for ya! I could do a movie with me having my way with Schwarzenegger and it’d be more entertaining. Your eyes still bothering you Christopher?

Christopher Lambert: I think I’d rather be blind than read this plot. I mean We’re Aliens?! Is the guy who wrote this a stoner?!

Michael Ironside: Listen, if we do this right no one will remember this and we can go on to better things.

(A Voice by Mike Santos off screen says “Ten Minutes until we’re rolling!” and the three groan.)

Michael Ironside: Well, let’s be so out there that people will forget! (Michael walks away as Virginia Madsen played by Olivia Horvath walks in)

Virginia Madsen: So, after this jerk cuts for the day we kick his ass seven different ways from Sunday?

Christopher Lambert: Read my mind (The three walks away as the sounds of punches are heard before cutting to the movie as James & Spoony do voiceovers)

Spoony (Voiceover): Ultimately it does feel like the cast were in one of the worst movies of their careers.

TLOTA (Voiceover): But even with all the crap they’ve taken since and all of them doing some better work since it’s not a total loss but with everything that they endured and I’m surprising myself by saying this it’s tie in the cast and characters department. (Cut to Spoony and James physically.)

TLOTA: And remember it’s total points that count! With that said the Renegade cut is ahead three to two!

Spoony: Okay James, I get that The Renegade Cut is ahead three to two but still I don’t like the fact the theatrical cut has any points.  

(Cut to images of the covers of “Highlander II” as The Renegade version has three of Connor’s swords over the cover of it while the Theatrical one remains two of Connor’s swords over it before cutting to James and Spoony on the couch.)

TLOTA: And now the main event! Brace yourself folks we’re gonna see which of the two has in fact, The Re-Watch Factor!

Spoony: The What Factor?

TLOTA: The Re-Watch Factor is when after seeing it for a couple hundred times in one sitting you get bored with it, then one day you check it out after NOT seeing it for a while and you say to yourself “Hey, I remember watching this and watching it now, I remember this being good.”

Spoony: Oh! Now I get it. The Re-Watch Factor!

(Cut to images of the covers of “Highlander II” as the last 26 seconds of “Princes of The Universe” play in the background as two swords slice down before the words “Re-Watch Factor” are seen before cutting to James and Spoony doing voiceovers)

TLOTA (Voiceover): As far as I’m concerned neither version of this movie is good, but after seeing both it’s kind of hard to see them as totally unwatchable. I mean yeah the theatrical cut is SO ridiculous it’s laughable but after seeing the renegade cut and all those other cuts I understand why this cut exists. To correct the broth that too many cooks ruined. Do they correct everything? Not really.

Spoony (Voiceover): But they do correct the biggest problem of it, The freakin’ aliens sub-plot! I mean yeah the whole O-Zone thing is silly but under the right circumstances, you know what even if they got Douglas Adams to write this pile of crap and had re-worded it, Highlander II will always be known as one of the worst movies ever made. You and I could make a movie of us taking a dump for an hour and a half and it’d be more entertaining. Hell, listening to Georgio A. Tsoukalos for an hour and a half is more entertaining (Cut to James and Spoony physically on the couch and there is a knock on the door.)

TLOTA: I got it! (Cut to James opening the door as a team of UPS deliverymen played by Eliza Dushku, Rebecca Yaun, Nick Yaun, Traci Hines, Renee Miller, John & Mike Santos & Eric Kurtzke)

Delivery Man (Eric Kurtzke): Package for a James Faraci?

TLOTA: That’s me!

Delivery Man (Nick Yaun): Sign here if you’d please. (James signs and slips the team a 20 Dollar Bill)

TLOTA: That ought to do it and you guys get yourself a warm drink and a snack.

Delivery Team: Thank you! (The Delivery Team run into the delivery van and bolt like hell out as the box explodes to see Georgio A. Tsoukalos emerge from the box.)

Georgio A. Tsoukalos: The reason that you cannot fathom why this movie is so true is because you choose to ignore the intelligent thought processes that can emanated by a single watching because some time ago your Alien Ancestors decided that the human part of your brain… (Cut to James and Spoony crying on the couch)

TLOTA (Crying): What do we have to do to get rid of you once and for all? (Cut to Georgio A. Tsoukalos continuing to Ramble about Aliens as Dr. Insano arise and clocks Georgio A. Tsoukalos in the back of the head with a lead pipe.)

Georgio A. Tsoukalos: Op! Down I go! (Georgio A. Tsoukalos falls as Dr. Insano adjusts his lab coat.)

Dr. Insano: SCIENCE DAMN THAT MAN! His ramblings about aliens is enough to make me go insane! (Cut to Spoony and James on the Couch.)

Spoony: Well thanks a ton Doc! (Cut to Dr. Insano)

Dr. Insano: Don’t mention it! Now I’ll take care of this schmuck and you can get back to work. Oh, James could you call off your team? (Cut to Spoony and James on the Couch.)

TLOTA: Sure thing, GUYS! (Cut to the other members of TLOTA having rifles placed on Dr. Insano’s back.)

TLOTA (Audio only): You can leave him alone! (Cut to Spoony and James on the Couch.)

TLOTA: He’s doing something to HELP this time. (Cut to the other members of Team TLOTA as they back off and Dr. Insano walks out and the others disperse save for Eliza.)

Eliza Dushku: Just remember! (In Military rhyme): This is my rifle! That is your gun! Your gun messes with me and I’ll have some fun!  (Cut to Spoony as he sits and sighs and James tries to get him to relax before cutting back to the different cuts of “Highlander II” as James and Spoony do voiceovers.)

TLOTA (Voiceover): But if I had to make the choice of which one was the least bad and probably the more entertaining after several replays I will suggest The Renegade Cut is better by a razorblade’s width!

Spoony (Voiceover): That’s thin! So, if I’m right that means…. (Cut to Spoony and James on the Couch.)

TLOTA: Yes Spoony, The Renegade Cut of Highlander II is the Superior Cut of Highlander II

(Cut to images of the covers of “Highlander II” as The Renegade version has four of Connor’s swords over the cover of it while the Theatrical one remains two of Connor’s swords over it before seeing the cover of the theatrical cut being sliced and the quickening happening to the Renegade cut cutting to James and Spoony on the couch.)

TLOTA: But you know something, it doesn’t matter because after watching another Highlander movie, this one has been erased from Cannon!

Spoony: What?! Which one? As if I didn’t know the answer. (Cut to clips of “Highlander: Endgame” as James does a voiceover.)

TLOTA (Voiceover): I’m surprised you figured that out quickly. Yes, because of the movie “Highlander: Endgame” a movie you and “The NES Punk” reviewed already. Because if the continuity is correct this movie re-wrote the ending of Highlander. Instead of Connor claiming the prize it’s his relative Duncan which erases Highlander II because if Connor had claimed the prize then we would’ve wound up with the O-Zone Device, the Alien explanation as to why Connor and Ramirez were immortal and then Highlander III wouldn’t have happened and we wouldn’t be reviewing this turkey on any level. (Cut to Spoony and James on the Couch.)

Spoony: Huh, never thought about it like that. You gave me a lot to think about. And I want to thank you for reminding me and everyone else that no matter how you slice or re-slice a movie If it stinks the first time, it won’t smell like the botanical gardens anytime soon.

TLOTA: My pleasure Spoony, I’ll contact Rowdy to have his Genie blink you back home.

Spoony: Why would you do that?

TLOTA: Because something tells me Eliza left a surprise for you in your ride. If you step outside, you could potentially kiss your backside goodbye.

Spoony: How could that happen?

TLOTA: Don’t Ask! I’m James Faraci The Last Of The Americans and that’s my opinion! (James pulls out his cell phone.) Hey Rowdy, I need to ask a favor… (Spoony just sits there for a second before disappearing via Jeannie Blink)