REVIEW: Split Second (1992)



Split Second: C+

London, 2008: Welcome to a future where Rutger Hauer is a motorcycle-riding, candy bar inhaling, chain smoking cop who plays by his own rules. He wasn’t always like this. Years ago, his partner was murdered and it pushed him over the edge to Lethal Weapon levels of maverick badass-ery. He chugs liters of coffee and the police chief gets pissed at him a lot. Yes, he wears sunglasses indoors and cracks one-liners while using gratuitous violence to subdue criminals. No, he doesn’t use the department-issue firearm; those things are for pussies.

The film has been criticized for it unoriginality since it blatantly tries to capitalize off of the popularity of other action/sci-fi movies of its time, most notably Blade Runner, Predator, and Lethal Weapon. The aforementioned maverick-cop clichés from Lethal Weapon are pretty clear. The movie looks just like Blade Runner; it’s set in London where rising sea levels and perpetual rain makes it look exactly like the grey, wet dystopia in which Harrison Ford hunted androids. The villain in Split Second is a hulking Predator-looking monster who obsesses over confronting Hauer in hand-to-hand combat, almost as if it adheres to the same code of honor as the Predators.

You could rename the movie “Lethal Predator Runner” and it would work.  

The movie is fun because it plagiarizes from other successful films and then turns the things it steals up to 11 all while (I think) being comically NOT self-aware of how transparent the theft is. Hauer has cartoonish levels of defiance and self-destruction. The weather is an unending monsoon that creates urban lakes and acres of obfuscating fog. The monster is a superhuman killing machine who looks like Venom and does shit like creep up and tap people on the shoulder before eviscerating them.

The carnage isn’t spectacular, but it’s there. The monster rips some dudes up and absorbs anything useful from their DNA. Gore-hounds, this is no splatter-fest. The monster (“ONE UGLY MOTHERFUCKER!”) almost suffers from a case of Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers syndrome as there are a few shots of him lumbering around like an alcoholic in a rubber suit. He doesn’t look terrible but he doesn’t look scary.

This movie is the love-child of shitty action movies and shitty horror movies. If you like those two things, then see this movie. It combines the best parts of the two and executes them with an impressive air of shamelessness.