Highlander: Endgame is a strange product that was originally meant to connect the Highlander series with the spin-off Highlander: Raven. Unfortunately Raven was canceled and nobody really knew what to do with the movie. The movie is more rooted in the series than in the movies and if you only know them or even worse only the first part (part 2 is ignored by virtually anybody anyway), you are completely lost when you have to realize that there are two MacLeods and the other one is the lead character. If you know and like the series the story isn't that bad after all and offers some interesting perspectives and characters.
Adrian Paul and Bruce Payne play well. Their relationships with Faith/Kate as well as Kell's background story are interesting. The thing with the hideaway where immortals have themselves locked into and the watcher that doesn't want to stay out of it any longer, all very promising. In the right hands it could have turned into a nice little film.
Unfortunately director Douglas Aarniokoski lacks the talent to make the story into a decent motion picture. Furthermore, asian-style action sequences were extremely popular at the time of production and Donnie Yen had his first appearance in an US-production. At the same time is was allowed to choreograph the action sequences. The better you know the originals from Hong Kong and the longer this sad phase of US-action cinema has been over, the more unsatisfying the action scenes become. Too much inertia (i.e. slow motion) and hefty continuity mistakes are a huge letdown.
What was then released in cinemas and later on DVD was the Director's Cut. One could have hoped that director would make up for his lack of talent with ambition but that he afterwards still only worked as second unit director says a lot.
Dimension Films didn't seem to care about the theatrical version of the movie but for the DVD release the producers were given a second chance to release their version of the movie. The Producerís Cut was born and is here compared with the theatrical version. What does it do differently and more importantly better? The additional minutes for the character of Rachel really were a good idea. The couple of things that were added or removed and which make the story more logical aren't wrong, either. The additional action scenes are a nice bonus and more time for Faith/Kate was absolutely necessary. Unfortunately, Lisa Barbuscia is not a good actress.
The fact that Faith survives in the Producer's Cut and has her happy ever after with Duncan is certainly controversal. I personally don't like that they changed the story without any passion just to keep open whether Jacob kills her. Why he hasn't done it isn't explained at all. Faith only mentions that he made that decision. I also don't like the sort of contrived happy ending.
A totally different version is also on the US-DVD. A workprint that is quite different from both but seems unfinished.
Between the theatrical version and the Producer's Cut there are 30 differences.
11 alternative scenes
12 new scenes in the Producer's Cut
7 scenes exclusively from the theatrical version
(short alternative scenes that are used in the theatrical cut for reasons of coherence instead of longer scenes in the Producer's Cut and single frames that are not in Producer's Cut are not mentioned above.)
Theatrical Version: 87:46 minutes
Producer's Cut: 100:08 minutes
3. minute PC
Duncan and Connor stroll through New York together. Suddenly Connor says that he has to do something. Alone. Duncan finds it strange because Connor had him fly in from Paris. But Connor insists that he has to do something. Duncan is worried because of that behaviour but then says that they can talk about it later in the evening. Connor replies that he has changed and that Duncan would understand someday. Connor runs away, puts on his sunglasses and eventually says, "Watch your back." Duncan seems puzzled. The only reason for this nonsense scene probably is that the producer found it necessary to show Connor and Duncan together early in the movie.
4. minute OLD
Rachel enters the house in different shots.
PC: 6,5s | TV: 4s
4. minute OLD
In the Producer's Cut Rachel takes the elevator up to the apartment, while there an inter-cut to Connor. Rachel is suprised because Connor seems not to be at home but the TV is on in the background. The Thearical Version only shows Connor but in a different shot and a short pan-shot through the apartment.
PC: 35,5s | TV: 6,5s
4. minute OLD
In the Theatrical Version some picture from Rachel's and Connor's past, which were taken out of their frames, are shown. One of the pictures was pinned on the haft of Connor's sword. In the Producer's Cut instead, Rachel hears the TV in the background. There images of their past are shown. She reminisces with a smile.
PC: 41s | TV: 14,5s
8. minute OLD
The scene in the hut of mother MacLeod was re-cut. In both versions she says that she thought that a hippo had come to drag her into a hole. Only in the Producer's Cut Connor also worries that obviously nobody in the village takes care of his old mother. His mother replies that it couldn't be any different for a lady whose son was banned from the village.
PC: 52s | TV: 12s
8. Minute OLD
Connor is bend over his mother in different shots when he says that he will take her with him so that she is safe.
PC: 9,5s | TV: 7,5s
8. minute PC
Shortly before the door is kicked in, Connor feels a painful wind gut and screams. That has happened to him before but he doesn't know why.
11. minute PC
Connor cuts off the hand of the man.
11. minute OLD
For a short moment alternative footage is shown in the battle.
PC: 9f | TV: 16f
11. minute OLD
A couple of men die and again the producer's version is more violent. Only here is shown how a man falls into the fire.
PC: 4,5s | TV: 3s
12. minute TV
Connor spins around after the battle longer.
15. minute PC
Jin Ke knocks a shotgun out of a man's hand and shoots him with it.
15. minute PC
Duncan strolls through London when suddenly a payphone starts ringing. He accepts the call. Faith tells him that that his worries about Connor are worse than Connor can imagine. Then Metthew, who watches the scene, is shown. He is on the phone with somebody whom he tells that Duncan has obviously taken the bait. Instead, the Theatrical Version shows the previous shot of the walking Dncan longer. (4,5s)
20. minute OLD
Part of the conversation with Methos uses alternative footage so that Methos doesn't say that the hideaway was built on holy soil. Accordingly, Jacob didn't break the rules of the game when he beheaded the strapped down immortals in the scene before.
PC: 2,5s | TV: 3,5s
29. minute PC
When Jacob's posse confronts Duncan Cracker Bob gives a stupid remark. Duncan makes fun of the latter's clothes. Cracker Bob almost starts crying and Faith is annoyed. Great.
32. minute OLD
The shot of Jacob's shoe is different. Slight difference only.
PC: 1,5s | KF: 1,5s
38. minute PC
Duncan gives Metthew back his sword, which he had lost in the previous battle when he was thrown out of the window. It is covered in blood. Matthew could get it back without a fight.
41. minute OLD
Shortly before Duncan goes to the cementary, the Producer's Cut inserts a short remark of Methos about Dawson in which he jokingly asks him whether he really wants to dig new graves there. Before Methos tells Duncan that thing won't come to a good end. Instead the Theatrical Version only shows a shot of Methos.
PC: 9,5s | TV: 5s
49. minute PC
Jacob takes the amulet of Connor's mother from the stake in a cut-back.
50. minute OLD
Duncan's wedding with Kate was enhanced in the Producer's Cut. In the Theatrical Version Duncan and Kate are dancing when Duncan suddenly notices that somebody is there. Connor is in the door. In the Producer's Cut Duncan and Kate are sitting at the wedding table while some drunk guests misbehave. Then Connor enters the room and is noticed by Duncan.
PC: 40s | TV: 14,5s
50. minute PC
The embrace between Duncan and Connor was cut differently. There is an inter-cut to Kate in-between. Instead the Theatrical Version shows the Theatrical Version longer. (3f)
55. minute PC
In the Theatrical Cut Kate goes directly to Duncan's apartment after the photo-shoot. In the Producer's Cut she first returns to her apartment where Jacob is waiting on her bed. He feels that was together with Duncan and remembers how he met Faith when she was a prostitute and how he cared for her. Even though he speak in a calm voice one can notice a misogynic undertone. Faith replies that she is the only one he could never have. He corrects her. He already had her in bed, but agai she says that he never had her because she didn't give him love. Jacob seems amused and bored at the same time.
63. minute TV
Jacob cuts off Faith's head. Since Faith still lives at the end of the Producer's Cut the removal of this short scene is supposed to suffice as explanation. The sound was adjusted as well. It is of course possible that she is only startled.
74. minute PC
After Duncan's fall, a long action sequence, which was added in the Producer's Cut, follows. Duncan lies on the ground and tries to reach his sword. In the background Jacob jumps down to the same floor and attacks Duncan who manages to reach his sword in time and to defend himself.
This is an oddity. In this newly added action scene, there is a sequence, 11 seconds long, that we have seen identically before. The exact same sequence is therefore used two times in the movie. Strange, but it matches the overall lack of passion in this production. For completion, this are pictures of said scenes that can also be found in the Theatrical Version.
Duncan severs an electric cable and sparks set something on ground on fire. Jacob runs away when the flames spread. The ground starts exploding and Duncan jumps to safety and swings with a chain to another area full of more chains.
In between the chains the fight continues, at least until Duncan's sword gets stuck in one of them. Unfortunately he afterwards presses a button that makes exactly that chain go up. Duncan can fend of the sword attacks but has to take somemore kicks. Then he kicks another lever and one of the other chains goes up. Duncan jumps at it and grabs it. Together with the chain he continues to go up and manages to reach his sword.
After he has arrived at the top, he takes care of the wound in his leg. Then he takes off his coat and gets into the sight of Matthew, who is aiming at him with a sniper-rifle. Luckily, Dawson manages to kill Matthew in time. He fires all 6 shots of his revolver at him and then, with a cool move, he gets the shell out off the barrel.
Then outside of the building Duncan and Jacob come together and shortly afterwards after Duncan has landed on the ground the Theatrical Version continues.
155s in total
Why this scene is not in the Theatrical Version cannot be infered clearly. The Showdown is extremely short and the removal caused a hugh continuity mistake, because Duncan suddenly doesn't wear a coat anymore and the surroundings also suddenly change after the fall.
74. minute TV
After Duncan's fall, Jacob is shown jumping down.
77. minute TV
Duncan's faces turns into Connor's more often.
77. minute TV
78. minute TV
78. minute TV
The sky is shown longer after the lightning.
79. minute PC
Since the Producer's Cut doesn't show how Kate/Faith was killed by Jacob it's possible to bring her back for a happy ending, which is done here. Faith only wants be Kate from now on and Ducan can keep her amulet. In addition he gets a kiss. The Theatrical Version instead shows Duncan walking passed Connor's grave longer. (11,5s)