I always thought Christopher Lambert was a more unconventional action hero; he didn’t have huge biceps or ever play a one-man army. Instead he would play very human and flawed characters that would sometimes even verge on the edge of crazy.
Most people will always associate him with the Highlander series and there’s nothing wrong with that as the first movie is a classic with the sequels at least entertaining. Lambert has done far more than just the Highlander series however, and some of my personal favourites are Gunmen, Fortress 1 and 2, Mean Guns, Mortal Kombat, The Hunted and Knight Moves to name just a few.
One of his most iconic roles was in Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes; Lambert of course played Tarzan and it is seen as more of a prestige film rather than the adventure film it could have been, some people claiming it was lacking in “fun”.
Recently he had a recurring role in the TV series NCIS: Los Angeles where he played the villainous Marcel Janvier. Lambert is known mostly for playing heroes so this was a rare but fun turn to the dark side. He would also play a sleazy fight promoter in the latest Kickboxer movie called Kickboxer: Retaliation where he squared off against Jean-Claude Van Damme.
In a recent interview with Den of Geek Lambert discussed what attracted him to Highlander: “One of the reasons I did Highlander was the romantic side of the movie that attracted me. The action? I knew the action was going to be good, because we worked twelve weeks, if not more, just on the routine – the sword fighting routine. But what interested me is – what are we going to do with the mortality factor, that this guy is carrying on his shoulder for centuries, that’s what interested me.”
To this day Highlander always had heart to it even if it got a little silly at times; when it first came out it was unlike anything that came before and the fact that we all still talk about it over 30 years later is a testament to its quality.
In the same interview with Den of Geek he also mentions what attracted him to Kickboxer: Retaliation stating “the director told me “We’re not going to use any effects, any CGI, any wires, they’ve been training for months and they’re gonna fight” and I witnessed that, because I was in the arena and I was seeing Alain being thrown from left to right, against walls, or on the floor – you were fighting. So that also the purity of the fights gives the audience something different.” It’s a shame Retaliation wasn’t a better movie but let’s hope Lambert comes back for part 3.
It was announced on March 3rd that the script to the Highlander reboot was not complete and that they are aiming for a 2019 release. If they have any sense they will bring in Lambert in some capacity in the same way they have used JCVD in the Kickboxer reboot. The fact it is set to be directed by Chad Stahelski fills me with optimism but I still say we really don’t need a remake. We shall see…
Anyway, Christopher Lambert remains a Legend of Action with a fantastic resume in the genre so if you aren’t familiar with his movies then now is a good time to get acquainted. If we do get a 4th Expendables then he simply needs to be a part of it.