Review: Split Second

Set in a near-future, water-drenched London (thanks to Global Warming!), Rutger Hauer is a slightly crazed cop (also addicted to caffeine and chocolate, and an alcoholic to boot) who gets flashes of the killings being done by a vicious serial killer plaguing the city. Apparently it’s the same killer that murdered his partner. Hauer was scraped by the killer, and thus has some kind of link to him now. The decidedly lone wolf Hauer receives the unwanted news by cranky boss Alun Armstrong that he is to be partnered up with straight-arrow, brainy (an expert in psychology and an avid reader of the supernatural and occult) detective Dick Dirkin (Neil Duncan, whose character name must surely rank as the worst-ever in a non-porn film. Did they think it sounded macho?). That’s the least of Hauer’s worries, you see this heart-ripping, vicious killer might not even be human! Kim Cattrall (sporting a dark bob, rather unconvincingly, but hey, we get to see her breasts in this one!) plays Hauer’s dead partner’s wife, who has an on-and-off relationship with Hauer. Pete Postlethwaite is a hostile co-worker, and the inimitable Pollard plays a character called The Rat Catcher, and if you know Pollard, you don’t need to know any more than that.

Around the time of its 1992 release (to cinemas in the U.S.), this British-set, near-future Sci-Fi/horror pic from Tony Maylam (the slasher pic “The Burning”) was either ignored or reviled. Even I wasn’t overly fussed with it, and I’ve always been a Rutger Hauer fan. Add to that the fact that director Maylam was fired towards the end of the shoot and Ian Sharp (Previously the director of the lousy “The Final Option” AKA “Who Dares Wins”) took over to shoot the finale, and surely you’ve got to wonder why I’d want to revisit the film. Well, some fifteen or so years later, with Hauer churning out many a horrible B-grade actioner in the years between, now the film don’t look so bad. Sure, Hauer’s done better (even some of his schlockier films are better- “Blind Fury”, for instance), and as scripted by Gary Scott Thompson (“The Fast and the Furious”, “88 Minutes”) the film does seem a hodge-podge of every sci-fi film of the 80s and early 90’s, but it’s not all bad. I even rather liked its “Blade Runner”-influenced view of the near-future, done on a commendably meagre budget. This is one of the few films where the world really does look like the hellish vision it is supposed to).

Hauer certainly seems to be having a lot of fun, delivering a bizarro turn, and the film is absolutely determined not to take itself quite seriously (you ain’t seen big fucking guns until you’ve seen the big fucking guns in this film!). Add to that, the fact that we’ve got lots of great character actors in the supporting cast here. Who cares if the monster is an “Alien” rip-off? At least this isn’t “Redline”, “Salute of the Jugger” or “Blind Side”, OK?

Rating: C+


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