‘They’ve seen the future…now they have to kill it’…

I’ve now got to the age where ‘retro’ releases focus on films I saw first time round, and latest to add to the list is 1992 Rutger Hauer sci-fi/horror/actioner Split Second, which I remember lapping up at the cinema on original release (pretty sure it was the MGM Trocadero).

I hadn’t seen the film since then, but I certainly recalled it being a lot of fun. The great news is this new blu-ray confirms that, a fast-paced, gory romp that does not take itself too seriously – and is all the better for it.

A mix of serial killer thriller, buddy cop movie – and ‘Alien’, Split Second is set in the ‘future of 2008’, where global warming has reduced London to a watery sewer, chock full of low-lives and rats.

Hauer plays Harley Stone, an ‘on-the-edge’ cop who is all chomping cigar, swirling black trenchcoat and oversized guns. Stone lost his partner in murky circumstances years earlier at the hands of an unknown killer and guess what…the killer may be back.

Even worse, the killer may not actually be human – if its penchant for ripping out and devouring victims’ hearts is anything to go by.

Brought back from suspension, Stone is put on the case and assigned a new partner – Dick (Neil Duncan), an educated, inexperienced, suit-and-tie wearing sidekick who has degrees in criminology, has studied serial killers etc.

Can this odd couple crack the case? Will Stone make the moves on his dead partner’s wife (played by Kim Cattrall no less) who seems to have the hots for him as well? Will London sink before they get to ‘the creature’?

All will be revealed, and it is a tremendous amount of fun getting there. Full of one-liners, explosive action sequences, wacky characters (Michael J Pollard pops up as a ‘rat catcher’ and impressive effects, Split Second (and director Tony Maylam) belies its budget to come up with something really eye-catching and memorable, building to a thrilling climax at an abandoned tube station.

The watery London looks great, with flooded streets, muted colours and the odd flicker of neon.

It’s also a great reminder of just what an impressive figure the late Hauer was, dominating the screen and pulling the story along with him.

Perfect for a Friday night in, Split Second comes highly recommended.

EXTRAS

101 Films have really pushed the boat out for this one, with a series of newly-filmed interviews, the most enjoyable of which is a chat with Duncan and producer Laura Gregory, who rattle off plenty of anecdotes about how the production got off the ground, the filming etc.

Also appearing in front of camera are the likes of line producer Laurie Borg and composer Stephen W Parsons.

There are also two featurettes from 1992, as well as TV spots, theatrical trailers and a US VHS ‘promo spot’ (which highlights a nifty Split Second t-shirt that was up for grabs).

Best of all though, is 101 have dug up the Japanese cut of the film, which included scenes edited out of the version shown elsewhere. The Japanese cut can be watched in its entirety, or simply watch the added footage (which includes another heart-ripping murder).

Blu-ray Review: Split Second
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About The Author

Simon Fitzjohn

Simon is a journalism tutor in London, who also just happens to be a movie fanatic, with a craving for the darker side of cinema. He has written three books - on the horror films of director Bob Clark (2014), the history of the character Norman Bates (2015) and the work of British exploitation director Pete Walker (2017). He is currently working with director Richard Loncraine to explore all avenues in a bid to orchestrate the re-release of 1978 Mia Farrow chiller Full Circle