SPLIT SECOND - Golden Oldies Finally On DVD
For Hicksflicks.com, Friday, Aug. 21, 2020
EDITOR’S NOTE: In the late 1980s and early ’90s, after success in villainous roles in ‘Blade Runner’ and ‘Nighthawks,’ among other hit films, Dutch actor Rutger Hauer (who died last year at age 75) attempted to parlay those successes into styling himself as a leading man in thrillers. After a number of failed low-budget attempts, along came this one, and it didn’t serve him any better. Still, the MVD label has decided to give this sci-fi action yarn a Blu-ray upgrade. My review was published in the Deseret News on May 1, 1992.
How do movies like this get made?
Or, when they do get made, how do they get into theaters?
If ever there was a picture with that made-for-video look, it's "Split Second."
Rutger Hauer, who seems to be making a career of playing low-budget versions of Arnold Schwarzenegger (though he can't seem to get rid of that paunch), this time settles for a combination of "Dirty Harry" and a waterlogged "Road Warrior." He's a maverick police detective of the future named Harley Stone.
"Split Second" has science-fiction aspirations, being set in 2008 London, where global warming has caused an overabundance of water — London looks like Venice. And, as you might expect, there is a lot of disease and plenty of rats. (Goofy Michael J. Pollard is here for one scene; he's billed as "The Rat Catcher.")
Kim Cattrall goes brunette for her role in 'Split Second' (1992)
But the story makes no use of the futuristic overtones. Hauer is merely trying to track down a serial killer, a gruesome guy who rips open his victims' chests and takes bites out of their hearts. Is Hannibal Lecter still around in 2008?
In a black-and-white flashback we see that Hauer's partner was killed by the creature years earlier, and he feels guilty about it because, at the time, he was having an affair with the partner's wife (Kim Cattrall).
Ultimately, Hauer discovers that the killer, with whom he has some kind of psychic connection, is really a demon from hell. Satan himself? That's never adequately answered, but he looks like the creature from "Alien." Close enough.
Meanwhile, Cattrall, sporting an unflattering Cleopatra haircut, comes back into Hauer's life. But her main jobs here are to scream and disrobe.
We also have Hauer's partner, of course, wry Neil Duncan as a by-the-book, suit-and-tie expert in serial killers.
Hauer's character is loaded with eccentricities — he chews on cigars but seldom smokes them; he ingests a steady diet of coffee (with tons of sugar) and chocolate, though he doesn't drink alcohol; and there are pigeons all over his apartment living room, which has a Harley-Davidson as its primary piece of furniture.
And in the background we hear various versions of the Moody Blues' "Knights in White Satin."
Oh, and what does the title — "Split Second" — mean?
Who knows? Who cares?
In a week, you'll forget that this movie exists, much less remember its title.
"Split Second" is rated R for considerable violence and profanity, with sex, nudity and vulgarity as well.