Rutger Hauer. Universally known as “that creepy guy” in classics such as Blade Runner and one of my personal favorites, The Hitcher. He is instantly recognizable, yet strangely aloof in his choice of roles and the frequency of his work. So during my imdb travels, I stumbled upon a movie called Split Second, starring none of than Mr. personality himself, Rutger Hauer. The poster looked appealing, showing Hauer with a large gun and the bastard child of a Xenomorph and Pumpkinhead looming right behind him. What could go wrong? Well, actually not THAT much, but there’s still good reason why even me, a fairly grizzled veteran of genre movies, hadn’t heard of it until recently.
Our story focuses in on Harley Stone, played by Rutger. He’s a cop who likes…wait for it…Harley Davidson motorcycles. He also constantly smokes either cigars or cigarettes, he only eats chocolates, he has weird Ringo Star type circular sunglasses (even though 90% of the movie takes place as night), he wears lights bondage gear and leather pants 24-7, he lost his partner to the serial killer monster, and he ALSO has a psychic connection to the serial killer monster. OH, and he’s “got a new partner”, some fresh out of college, needle-necked twerp, named DICK Durking. Yeah, DICK. Like Harley wouldn’t call him a dick already, they just figured they would name the character Dick in order to save time I suppose.
So now we got this odd couple, running around London, which by the way has been flooded by, get this, 40 days and 40 nights of torrential rain. I wonder where they got the idea for that from. The duo hunts down the serial killer, which may or may not be the devil/Satan himself, and this is where the movie begins to actually change a bit, luckily for the better. The start is incredibly sluggish, and it both looks and sounds like complete poo-poo. But somewhere along the 20-40 minute mark, there is a major change, the actors (even Kim Cattrall, who “yes” is in this movie, and “yes” gets naked in a shower) seem to hit their stride, and the cheesiness begins to work for the movie, instead of against it as it had for so long during the opening third of the film. It was no shock to find that apparently, a director change had been made, and that some “additional scenes and the ending” were filmed by a different director (Ian Sharp) than the one credited in the opening credits (Tony Maylam).
So Dick and Harley begin doing some actual detective work, deciphering the clues left behind by the alien-looking-Clive Barker-esque monster, they have some shoot-outs with it, there are some really nice moments where the director, whichever one was at the helm at the time, did some nice work with the camera in a a particularly bloody bathroom scene., and then things wrap up kind of nicely in that “oh-so-perfect” action movie way, where the “rule of 3” comes into play, which basically states “any really tough/possibly supernatural villain must be dealt 3 deadly blows in order to be killed completely.” Trust me, they kill this thing like 5 times. It would be silly if it weren’t kind of cheesy and cool.
It might seem like I didn’t enjoy my time with Split Second, but I did. It’s got just enough tragic flaws and cheesiness to make it an interesting study in overly predictable, terrible cliched sci-fi/action cinema. The story of the phantom directors was intriguing, and for those of you out there who just need to see more Kim Cattrall naked in a shower, it has that going for it too. Rutger Hauer seemed tired in this role, but even he had a few moments where his standard, and very unsettling, brilliance shined through, and I got a taste of what he is truly capable of doing on screen again. On top of that, there’s zero CGI, a few decent scenes with some nice “after the fact” gore, and a plot I can honestly say I haven’t seen too much of, with the biblical implications and supernatural serial killer monster thingy. It’s nowhere near perfect, and it’s not a hidden gem, but it is Rutger Hauer in a really heavy-handed sci-fi flick, and I just couldn’t say no.
Qui Nhon Rating: