Essentially a B-movie that found an audience, Highlander made less than six million dollars in its American theatrical release, ten million shy of its budget. But it developed enough of a word-of-mouth following on video to spawn three confused sequels, and deliver Christopher Lambert a career's worth of low-budget action vehicles. Although downright laughable in spots, Highlander won its audience on the basis of a giddy idea -- that life for these immortals is the ultimate game of Survivor, with beheadings determining the outcome instead of votes at the tribal council -- and film noir visuals that span centuries of narrative. Director Russell Mulcahy does a noteworthy job of blending the time periods, with visually ambitious segues in which shapes from one scene blend seamlessly into the next. What detracts from Highlander, making it a cult hit rather than a legitimate one, is the poor acting by everyone not named Sean Connery, and some pretty amateurish dialogue. Lambert has always been something of a hack, and Clancy Brown gives one of the more over-the-top portrayals of evil of his typecast career. Still, the duels are executed crisply enough, and the story has epic genre flair that's easy to get lost in. It's understandable why the movie was eventually beloved by teens and young adults, even beyond the Dungeons & Dragons set. However, as tightly resolved as it is, Highlander was just as predictably doomed in its attempt to support a franchise, resulting in a bunch of messy, self-contradicting sequels.