Sunday, 16 September 2012

Review - Split Second (1992 - Tony Maylam)

I love the Wikipedia entry for Split Second. Reception - The movie gained a lot of criticism. Box Office - The movie was not a box office success. Perfect obscurendure fodder then.

And it's pretty good fun. Stone (Rutger Hauer) is a hard-nosed cop whose partner was, funnily enough, killed by a serial killer. He's paired up with Oxford graduate and serial killer expert Detective Dick Durkin (Neil Duncan). Funnily enough they don't get on. Worryingly, the serial killer likes eating the victims' hearts, has a rather larger mouth-span and a lederhosen fetish. Okay, maybe the last one's made up but who knows what kind of deviant practices these murderers get up to in their 'me' time.

Yep, it's all a bit cliched but the cast make up for it by not taking the material too seriously. One scene where Durkin sees the serial killer and subsequently feels the need for some larger guns is memorable, as is the interplay between Stone and Durkin as they discuss the case in a fairly frenzied fashion whilst cigar sharing and being followed by the bemused, but brilliantly named, police chief Thrasher (Alun Armstrong). The comic timing is spot on and the two leads ham it up like no-one's business. The only cast member to let the side down is Pete Postlethwaite who doesn't convince in the slightest as an antagonistic cop. I don't know what it is about him but I've never liked him in anything. (It was a treat to see the inclusion of one cast member though: The Shend from the popular music combo The Very Things.)

The creature is sensibly kept in the dark for most of the running time and only properly seen in the end sequence. Designed and built by Stephen Norrington (Blade), it is clearly derivative of the Giger designed Alien but then, so are most screen monsters post 1979. It's pretty effective as it charges about and flashes past the screen.

I'm not sure whether Split Second had a troubled production but the end sequence is credited to director Ian Sharp. The section fits in nicely and I wouldn't have realised if it wasn't for his credit. Maybe the producers/studio weren't happy with the original ending and had a bit of a tiff with Tony Maylam. If you know anything about what happened let us know.

So, for a film that was criticised and didn't make back its budget, it's surprisingly good. Go into it expecting Rutger Hauer in prime pork scratchings mode and you'll probably have a laugh. It's worth it for the smoke filled cinematography so beloved of the era and the conversations between the two cops about Durkin's sex-life.

If you like this you could also try:
Monolith, Dark Angel, Crossworlds.

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