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Peter’s Retro Movie Review: Split Second (1992)

Split Second (1992) Movie Posterby Peter Nielsen

”After forty days and nights of torrential rain, the city is largely submerged below water, a result of the devastating effects of continued global warming. The warnings ignored for decades have now resulted in undreamed-of levels of pollution where day has become almost endless night.”

We’re in London! It’s 2008! It’s the future… or at least it was back in 1992 when this was released. It’s a bleak and dark future where even during the day it’s grey. And it’s wet! Very wet! There’s water more or less everywhere. This is where we find Harley Stone, a cop who’s been stationed in some of the worst places around the world. To say he’s a little bit “unhinged” would probably be a huge understatement. And I suppose losing his partner/best friend to some kind of monstrous serial-killer a couple of years back, didn’t help much either.

These days he lives on a diet of anxiety, cigars, coffee (with lots of sugar) and chocolate, and doesn’t really sleep much. A loose cannon on the edge, would probably be a good way to describe him, and who better to portray him than one of my favorite actors… Rutger Hauer! I’ve mentioned him before, but I think that was way back when I did a piece on Wanted: Dead or Alive, so I thought it was time to bring him back into the spotlight again. Some of you will be familiar with his movies, but for those of you who aren’t, I’ll give you a couple of examples: Nighthawks, The Osterman Weekend, Blind Fury and Blade Runner.

Harley Stone - The epitome of cool.

Harley Stone – The epitome of cool.

When a couple of bodies turn up with their hearts ripped out, it would appear that the killer is back. Harley has no doubts about it because when his partner was killed, he too was attacked and wounded and ever since then he’s had some kind of psychic connection with the killer.

He’s able to hear its heartbeat! And yes, I say it because after Det. Dick Durkin sees it, his words are: “That wasn’t a him. That was a fucking IT!” Durkin, played by Alastair (Neil) Duncan (The Hound of the Baskervilles, the TV-series Taggart) is Harley’s new partner, something Harley’s not too happy about at first. However, Dick Durkin turns out to be an asset and they end up working quite well together.

Harley and Dick are ready to go monster-hunting.

Harley and Dick are ready to go monster-hunting.

After Harley’s partner was killed, he fell in love with his widow, Michelle, and they had a short affair until he left her. She’s now back in London and since there are no bad feelings between them and they apparently still love each other, they re-unite. She’s played by Kim Cattrall whom you might recognize from Big Trouble In Little ChinaMannequin, Police Academy and maybe most recently from Sex and the City.

Split Second was shot immediately after Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country in which Ms. Cattrall had a role and that’s why her hair is a bit strange. Her sideburns are shaved off which gives it a bit of an odd look. She still looks good though.

The killer attacks her too and kidnaps her in order to get to Harley. She’s taken into the Undergrounds of London which has been sealed off because of the flooding, the pollution and other dangers. Harley and Durkin load up with lots of big guns, or big fucking guns as Durkin so eloquently puts it, and venture down under street level for the final confrontation.

Ah, come on and have a heart!

Ah, come on and have a heart!

Split Second is not the kind of movie you go to if you want intricate and elaborate plot-twists, no… this is the kind of movie you sit down to watch with some good friends, a large bowl of shitty popcorn and a couple of cold brewskies. It’s good solid entertainment and the cast is actually not a bad one. Rutger Hauer has admittedly appeared in some “klunkers” in his days, but he’s really not a bad actor. Just look at some of his early work and you’ll see what I mean.

In Split Second he’s surrounded by the likes of Alun Armstrong (The Duellists, Krull), Pete Postlethwaite (To Kill a Priest, Alien³, The Last of the Mohicans) and in a small part you’ll recognize the familiar face of Michael J. Pollard (Bonnie and Clyde, Scrooged, Roxanne).

Come and get it, coppers!

Come and get it, coppers!

Those of you who are a little bit into the British music-scene of the 70’s and 80’s will probably also recognize the British singer/song-writer Ian Dury in the role of the club-owner Jay-Jay. You know? Ian Dury and the Blockheads? Surely you remember the hit song “Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick”?

I’m not sure, but I think we actually watched this in the theater. We might have, because this sort of movie would have been right up our alley. It was sci-fi, it was dark, it had Rutger Hauer and it had a cool-looking monster, and as it turned out, it was actually a funny movie too.

So, of course, we liked it and I still like it. Sure, the plot is tissue-paper-thin and is nothing we haven’t seen before, but there’s just something about it that makes me watch it every now and then. And speaking of cool-looking… Harley Stone walks around wearing a long, black leather coat, with a cigar in his mouth and sporting sunglasses. Oh, and yeah… carrying some big fucking guns!! Doesn’t get much cooler than that!

So, my friends… Have any of you seen Split Second? Why not leave a little comment about it, if you have… or even if you haven’t. You know, to let me know your thoughts?

Until next time…

Bonus clip!


About Peter Nielsen

Peter was born in Denmark in 1968, but moved to Sweden at the age of six, (not by himself of course), and has lived there ever since. He’s married and has five children, so spare time is somewhat of a luxury. His main interests in life, apart from his family, are long walks, books and movies. Any movie! He has preferences, but he’s not particular as long as it's good or... so bad it's good... he just LOVES MOVIES!

3 comments for “Peter’s Retro Movie Review: Split Second (1992)

  1. January 7, 2013 at 5:54 pm

    I almost reviewed this one for my recent Futures Passed series about old movies set in the future but are now in our past. Anyway, I’ve never seen the movie but I remember looking at the VHS box in the stores and always wanting to get it. Sounds and looks like a movie I would definitely enjoy.

    • Peter Nielsen
      January 7, 2013 at 6:08 pm

      Thanks for commenting, Will.
      And yeah… I don’t think you’ll go wrong with this. It’s a nice little sci-fi action flick with a little bit of comedy thrown in too.

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