- Awesome Music: While not on the same levels as Queen's "Princes of the Universe", Lou Gramm's "One Dream" is still a pretty good song for the end credits. Some even consider it to be one of the better things to come out of this movie.
- Author's Saving Throw: The Renegade Cut and later Special Edition, which re-edited the film to be closer to how the director wanted it before Executive Meddling kicked in. They completely undo the "aliens from Zeist" backstory, split the final duel with Katana into two parts, and include various other changes. While it still isn't very good, it's universally agreed that it's far superior to the original cut.
- Fan-Disliked Explanation: One of the biggest complaints about the film was that it established a mythology that the immortals are aliens from a planet known as Zeist, which only serves to raise more questions. The re-edits establish them as wizards from Earth's distant past. Either way, the film is no longer considered canon with the rest of the series.
- Ham and Cheese:
- Sean Connery realized how much the film was sinking into Sequelitis, and made his performance one big raised middle finger to the producers who brought his character Back from the Dead so he could appear in the sequel.
- Michael Ironside's portrayal of Big Bad General Katana. Say what you will about the film, but goddamn, Michael Ironside was just so awesome as the over the top evil Katana, you can tell that even with what he had to work with, he was having a ball. This statement from him is also quite possibly the most explicit admission of engaging in this trope in cinema history:Michael Ironside: Yeah, listen, I hated that script. We all did. Me, Sean, Chris... we all were in it for the money on this one. I mean, it (the script) read as if it had been written by a thirteen year old boy. But I'd never played a barbarian swordsman before, and this was my first big evil mastermind type. I figured if I was going to do this stupid movie, I might as well have fun and go as far over the top as I possibly could. All that eye-rolling and foaming at the mouth was me deciding that if I was going to be in a piece of shit like that movie, I was going to be the most memorable fucking thing in it. And I think I succeeded.
- Highlander II also features John C. McGinley (who, by his own admittance, was channeling Orson Welles) as The Dragon.
- Hilarious in Hindsight: The John C. McGinley character gets his testicles crushed by Michael Ironside near the climax. Cue the Dr. Cox jokes!
- Idiot Plot: The entire movie only happens because Katana is an idiot. Connor had resigned himself to a mortal life on Earth, was old and dying, and had no intent (or ability) to return to Zeist. Then Katana sent his goons to attack Connor, he decapitates them, absorbs their power, and his immortality and youth are restored. The movie even lampshades this twice! One of the two goons Katana sends questions why he's doing this before they go, and Katana just smacks him and repeats his order. When Katana meets Connor and Connor spells it out for him, Katana just goes silent with an Oh, Crap! face as he now realizes how stupid he was.
- Memetic Mutation: Appending "The Quickening" or some variant of it onto parody sequel titles, typically in the format X 2: The X-ening.
- Narm: The voice Christopher Lambert uses for an aging Connor resembles a little kid imitating their grandpa.
- Never Live It Down: The one thing everyone knows and remembers this movie for is the retcon that the immortals are actually aliens from the planet Zeist.
- Nightmare Fuel: Brenda's death from the increase in solar radiation is pretty horrific, then the camera pulls back to reveal she's just one of thousands.
- Retroactive Recognition:
- Sequelitis: Held as one of the worst sequels of all time.
- So Bad, It's Good: The film is just mind-numbingly awful, and really must be seen to be appreciated for exactly how horrible it is. And there are still some gems to be found, mostly Michael Ironside's incredibly hammy General Katana and Connor and Ramirez bickering about how many bullets they both took.
- Sophomore Slump: Highlander III: The Sorcerer and Highlander: Endgame aren't exactly regarded as being classics, but they still got a better reaction than this film did. That said, many would argue that Highlander: The Source is the bottom of the barrel for the series as a whole.
- Special Effect Failure:
- In the original versions, thanks to Executive Meddling the Shield is red, but the foreground does not blend in with the sky. This was corrected in recent versions, where the Shield is blue.
- The explosions in the original cut are okay, but for some reason they were turned into white screen-filling flashes in The Renegade Cut.
- Suspiciously Similar Song: A Suspiciously Similar Song to of Queen's "Who Wants To Live Forever?" shows up.
- Too Dumb to Live: Really, General Katana should be a prime example of what not to do as the Big Bad. It makes you wonder how he managed to live as long as he did.
- What an Idiot!: General Katana of Zeist sends his two goons to kill Connor MacLeod on planet Earth. However, Dumbass Has a Point by saying that MacLeod is now mortal and unlikely to return.
You'd Expect: General Katana to agree with him and let MacLeod die of old age.
Instead Katana slaps the guy and send him to Earth and, of couse, they die making MacLeod immortal again, thus remaking the Gathering, thus obliging Katana to go himself and, of course getting himself killed. MacLeod spells this out to him when they meet, but he continues his course instead of just going home.
YMMV / Highlander II: The Quickening