Christopher Lambert (known as Christophe Lambert in France, b. March 29, 1957 in Great Neck, New York) is an unlikely action star and French actor from...Great Neck, New York? Like his best-known character, he's from "lots of different places": His father was a UN diplomat. He has since starred in numerous fantasy, sci-fi, and thriller movies.
In the U.S., he is best-known for his raspy voice and chuckle (Ah! Ah! Ah! ....Sorry.) His other strength is his eyes; Lambert was often praised by critics for doing 'more with less' doing his close-ups.
Lambert's breakout role was as Tarzan in Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes. His most famous role is the immortal Scottish samurai Connor McLeod from the Highlander franchise. The cheesy '86 original came and went in theaters; but it found life on VHS thanks to its strong performances from Lambert, Sean Connery and Clancy Brown. (Lambert is always quick to credit the stylish direction of Russell Mulcahy.) Lambert wasn't as fluent in English back then, so he had to rely on his own aloof charm and reading all of his lines phonetically. His notoriously-poor eyesight was mitigated by Lambert doing all of his own stunts. His fight scenes had to be heavily-choreographed (moreso than usual) to avoid injury.
He reportedly wasn't as enthusiastic about Highlander sequels and spin-offs, having been burned by Highlander 2. (He tried to get Clancy Brown back, but that fridge-sized man thought the script was shite and had other fish to fry). Still, he endorsed the Highlander TV series and showed up again in the pilot, along with starring in one of the theatrical releases based on that show.
Apart from Highlander and Mortal Kombat (and some cameos in action comedies), he has mainly made B-movies. Nevertheless, he cultivated a rep for being a 'thinking man's' action hero who rises above the material.
Lambert also did a big favor for the production crew of the first MK film by flying out to location in Thailand on his own dime because the budget couldn't afford for him to be there and he wanted the film to succeed. He later sat out Mortal Kombat: Annihilation. Bullet dodged by Chris Lambert, but his absence was keenly-felt.
Of course, he has done a variety of different stuff in his native tongue, usually romances. The thing which attracted him most to the Connor character was the romantic element.
- 1984 Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes as John Clayton (Tarzan)
- 1987 The Sicilian as Salvatore Giuliano
- The Highlander franchise as Connor McLeod
- 1992 Knight Moves as Peter Sanderson
- 1992 Fortress as John Brennick
- 2000 Fortress 2
- 1994 Gunmen as Dani Servigo
- 1995 Mortal Kombat as Raiden
- 1995 The Hunted (1995) as Paul Racine
- 1997 Mean Guns as Lou
- 1999 Resurrection as John Prudhomme
- 1999 Beowulf as Beowulf
- 2003 Absolon as Detective Norman Scot
- 2006 Southland Tales as Walter Mung
- 2011 Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance as Methodius
- 2016 Hail, Caesar! as Arne Seslum
- 2018 Kickboxer: Retaliation as Thomas Moore
Works featuring this actor, that don't have pages of their own provide examples of:
- Handicapped Badass: His eyesight has steadily worsened since the '80s and he's physically unable to wear contact lenses, but still takes very physical roles.
- Signature Laugh: Christopher Lambert seems to have a signature laugh across multiple characters. As Connor Macleod (of clan Macleod) from Highlander, he frequently used a dry, raspy "heheheh" sort of laugh, and then later used the same laugh as Lord Raiden in Mortal Kombat.The Screamsheet: Basically, Raiden from Mortal Kombat is actually Connor MacLeod, somewhat aged and with immense magical power after claiming the Prize. Using his magic power, most of which is derived from the lightning-like quickening, he realized that he can pose as Raiden and do some good in the world (you didnt really think that the actual Chinese god of thunder would appear as some old European guy, did you?). Thus he turns his attention to supernatural matters and protecting the world from Shang Tsung.