Split Second Review
Always trust Rutger Hauer's psychic abilities.
London In 2008: Due to unchecked global warming, London has become a dark and dreary water park nobody wants to visit.
On the surface, Tony Maylam's misunderstood
1992 sci-fi action comedy Split Second appears to be an impossibly uninspired
Alien rip-off that borrows heavily from Stephen Hopkins' silly sequel to John
McTiernan's immortal classic Predator. Dig a little deeper, however, and you'll
discover a flick that never once takes itself too seriously, choosing instead to
power its familiar premise with a bevy of dry humor and sly sight gags. Cult
favorite Rutger Hauer spreads his patented brand of cinematic cheese around with
an unprecedented thickness; there's nary a moment when he's not smoking cigars
or drinking coffee or twitching or running or doing something to distract you
from the fact that you've seen this type of picture a thousand times before.
Sadly, Split Second fizzles out during the climatic showdown between our hero
and the film's uber-mysterious creature, fumbling the required resolution in
order to hint at a sequel that will never come. Regardless, this is still an
enjoyable production from start to finish, even if you spend the majority of
those 90 minutes picking through the plotline with a fine-tooth comb. Just
ignore Kim Cattrall's worthlessness and all will be hunky dory.
Recipe For Success: Rutger Hauer's Overacting + Lots Of Grisly Violence + British Chaps Splashing Around In Puddles
Movie Review: Split Second
July 06, 2006
The scene, let me set it for a moment: the London of 2008 is in damp
squalor due to the prophesied materialisation of global warming. With
the stitching of the ozone layer coming apart at the seams, sea
levels have risen to the extent that moist overflow from the Thames
languishes over the thoroughfares of the English capital like a
soaking duvet. Against this lo-fi-Blade Runner backdrop comes Harvey
Stone, a bad-ass, renegade cop played by Rutger Hauer.
It transpires that someone is scampering about the damp metropolis
killing people, ripping out their hearts, and perhaps feasting on
those very rhythmic machines. Hauer, in his immensely far-reaching
experience, has encountered this foe in the past, but not only that,
due to this prior confrontation he possesses a psychic link to that
vicious man slaughterer.
Being a renegade cop has never proved itself easy-going in the world
of the action flick, and it's no different for Hauer who is afflicted
with the straight partner malady in the guise of Dick Durkin, a
lettered multiple-graduate who has sex every night. Their consort ship
spawns camaraderie reminiscent of Dolph Lundgren and Brian Benben in
the classic I Come In Peace (aka Dark Angel); the sort of partnering
that feasts on a gulf between personalities and the gracelessly of an
attempted coalescence. But soon, as shared experience breeds
something a little more cordial than total contempt, they are united
as a human battlement to take on their mutual nemesis.
However, this ain't your standard killer-quest cinematic vomit. Oh
no, this sneaky iniquity-lauder is working off some sort of theorised
pattern, selecting victims with a carefully cocked eye on the overall
scheme, the blueprint of crime lanced to the back of his retina.
Hauer and his educated drudge are welcomed into this cerebral maze by
the discovery of a loving configuration of blood smears on the
ceiling overlooking a recently disembowelled misfortunate. This artsy
spattering intimates of the astrological Scorpio; the zodiac seems to
be providing this guy with a nice, ready-made formula for his acts.
But what is the pattern? Despite his schooling, Hauer's subordinate
knows not of the celestial bodies and how they may or may not affect
whether little Jimmy down the road buys an ice-cream or a buncha
crack rocks this summery afternoon.
Luckily the scheme begins to unravel, and is deflowered by the
intellectual prowess of Hauer, with the odd erudite interjection by
our favourite little peon. This serial killing enigma, it must be
noted, preceded Seven by thee years; alas Fincher's lads were
wallowing in the aftermath of Hauer's backwash all along.
The two heroes are joined on their pursuit by Kim Cattrall, still
sporting that stupid undercut from Star Trek VI, who plays Hauer's
old lover. She steps enthusiastically into the shower marked `prey',
and is privy to a number of Psycho camera angles for her trouble.
Also we get Pete Postlethwaite, circa Alien 3, as another cop who
wears a long, flowing dress of discord with Hauer. Brit TV stalwart
Alun Armstrong stars as the ball-busting chief, a man who
relentlessly dishes out the shit to Hauer - but our favourite Dutch-
American is simply too uncompromising to let such flippant sounds
interrupt his duties. Finally we are endowed with a cameo by Michael
J. Pollard, best remembered for his role in Tango & Cash, alongside
some other '80s cinematic notables.
In the end we find out that this man - him stirring the pot of
gentility and performing all these dastardly deeds - is no man at
all. In fact, he is a gigantic, shadowy, taloned beast who resembles
Venom from Spider-Man. Perhaps Sam Raimi ought to take inspiration
from this low-budget British movie and get a cigar-chomping Rutger
Hauer in to assist the anthropo-arachnid in the up-and-coming third
outing. Hell, just leave Tobey Maguire in his trailer and send in
Hauer clasping the Big Fucking Guns and you got a box office winner
Talking about guns, Split Second sees our heroic duo running around
brandishing some intense near-future hand-cannons. Just watch Hauer
annihilate the cardboard faux-people on the firing range, giving much
amazement to the face of Dick Durkin. Or Durkin, dripping with
machismo later on, ripping into the counter surface of Hauer's
kitchenette, all to decimate a rat. This certainly doesn't enamour
the deco senses of Hauer, oh how his apartment is the epitome of post-
modern living, complete with nesting pigeons. It's the sort of
habitat that would make The Punisher jealous with a skull-laden
As the narrative becomes a more and more Predator-esque affair, the
wisecracks never cease their free-fall from Hauer's pursed lips.
Whether he's calling a rottweiler a dickhead, or dispensing witty one-
liners to his law-enforcing peers, he never fails to earn a chuckle
or two. Let's be honest, Rutger Hauer is the star here, the Sun to
Durkin's Venus, the Master of Puppets to Durkin's Load, the Noam
Chomsky to Durkin's Al Franken, the Manhattan to Durkin's Match
Point. His presence beclouds most everything else in the film; from
his palpitating anxiety condition – the classic dodgy ticker – to his
maniacal erratic-ism, he never gives up his struggle against the odds
to collapse this monster that may or may not be Beelzebub.
In the final confrontation only one black-clad devil can reign in the
dashing colours of supreme, and he is the one denoted Rutger Hauer.
Split Second is a masterstroke of cheese-ball action cinema, it takes
its rightful place in the annals, seated next to its cousin The
Punisher 89. Its mirth is a deserved emotion. As we bound closer to
2008, may Split Second enjoy much re-watching in our saturated modern
Aaron Fleming is a sporadic student and wannabe pretentious
intellectual trapped debating cultural and sociological conundrums in
a cascading bout of mental fellatio.