Cast: Rutger Hauer, Kim Cattrall, and Alastair Duncan
Director: Tony Maylam
90 minutes (18) 1992
101 Films Blu-ray region B
[Released 27th July]
Review by Steven Hampton
Set in 2008, sci-fi monster-movie Split Second remains, in many ways, a grimly British version of Predator 2 (1990), genre-spliced with Blade Runner (1982), not least because of the presence of Rutger Hauer, here playing an anguished and paranoid - and probably psychic - super-cop named Harley Stone. The supporting cast alone are more than sufficient to win this effort cult status. There’s Ian Dury who runs Jay Jay’s strip-club, Pete Postlethwaite (The Last Of The Mohicans, Alien 3) as police squad senior Paulsen, and RSC actor Alun Armstrong is good fun as Stone’s shouty boss Thrasher. The hero’s new partner is detective Dick Durkin (Alastair Duncan, credited as Neil Duncan), supposedly providing the brains to match Stone’s brawn.
At the city necropolis, Stone meets his murdered partner’s widow Michelle (Kim Cattrall). Flooded by rising sea levels, London crumples under the pressure of climate change, and is besieged by plague rats, while Stone and Durkin hunt a serial killer, that appears with deadly efficiency, and evades capture or even pursuit. Like an inhuman stalker with claws and fangs, this powerful monster has apparently supernatural powers. “The only thing we know for sure is that he’s not a vegetarian.” The slayer rips through metal doors, leaves extremely bloody murder scenes daubed with occultist symbols, and the creature’s victims get their hearts torn out.
Atmospheric locations are furnished messily, with a flourish of gothic lighting evoking the retro styled grunge of disused futurism previously on display in Morton and Jankel’s iconic TV-movie Max Headroom (1985). The double-act of Stone and Durkin form a smart parody of chalk ‘n’ cheese partnerships in American buddy-movie traditions, that resulted from the likes of 48 HRS (1982), and Lethal Weapon (1987). As a title, Split Second is a clever pun concealing thematic resonance within its nest of spoofy off-handed charm. The hasty and heavily-armed showdown against the fast-moving beast, is dramatically staged in an abandoned Underground station, where the director, Tony Maylam (The Burning, 1981), was helped by Ian Sharp (Who Dares Wins), to finish off this production with plenty of B-movie mayhem.
101 Films ‘Black Label’ edition has a second Blu-ray disc with a Japanese version of Split Second in standard-definition video format. Extras include interviews:
- Great Big Bloody Guns! - producer Laura Gregory with Alastair (Neil) Duncan (27 mins.)
- Call Me Mr Snips! - composer Stephen Parsons (22 mins.)
- Stay in Line! - producer Laurie Borg (23 mins.)
- More Blood! - creature effects designer Cliff Wallace (32 mins.)
- Shoot Everything! - cinematographer Clive Tickner (19 mins.)