Friday, August 14, 2015

Worth Mentioning - Come Hell and high water

We watch several movies a week. Every Friday, we'll talk a little about some of the movies we watched that we felt were Worth Mentioning.

Cody watches Rutger Hauer do battle with the forces of darkness.


The future. 2008. In a world ravaged by the effects of global warming, most of London is flooded. A brutal serial killer stalks the wet, polluted streets of the city, collecting the hearts of its victims.

This same serial killer murdered the partner of Detective Harley Stone (Rutger Hauer) three years earlier, and Stone has since made it a personal mission to bring the maniac to justice. A mission fuelled by flashbacks, guilt, anxiety, coffee, and chocolate.

Into this dark, futuristic serial killer/revenge tale, screenwriter Gary Scott Thompson (who would go on to be one of the writers behind The Fast and the Furious) works in a typical "buddy cop movie" plotline, pairing Stone with Alastair/Neil Duncan as suit-wearing, by-the-book Detective Dick Durkin. There's also a bit of a love story in play, as Stone has become involved with his fallen partner's widow Michelle (Kim Cattrall).

Soon enough, we learn that there is yet another genre that Split Second fits into: it's a creature feature. The heart-collecting serial killer is not human, it's a fast-moving, DNA-absorbing, monstrous demon with fangs, claws, and incredible strength. It may even be Satan himself, and this thing is just as determined to torment Stone as he is to catch it. Designed by future Blade director Stephen Norrington, the creature looks sort of like a mixture of the Xenomorph from the Alien movies and Venom from Spider-Man 3.

The game of cat and mouse played by Stone and the killer eventually leads to a climactic battle in the flooded subway system. Most of the film was directed by Tony Maylam, who wrote the original story for the 1981 slasher The Burning, but for some reason Ian Sharp took over the ending sequence.

Maylam and his crew, including cinematographer Clive Tickner, managed to capture a unique look for Split Second, Thompson's script is terrific, and the cast did great work bringing the characters to the screen. Hauer is awesome as always, Cattrall is a fine female lead, Durkin at first appears to be a stiff but Duncan ends up making him really enjoyable to watch, and there are some wonderful supporting performances by Alun Armstrong, Pete Postlethwaite, and, as a character called The Rat Catcher, Michael J. Pollard.

Split Second is a movie I caught several times on cable when I was a child, and I was fascinated by it. The flooded dystopia, the monster and the fact that its presence is tipped off by the sound of its heartbeat, the cool characters and the weapons they use. As far as I was concerned, Rutger Hauer and Kim Cattrall fighting the devil in a bleak future was one of the coolest things that had ever been put on film. Unfortunately, Split Second eventually stopped being shown on the movie channels so much and I drifted away from it, but elements of the movie have always remained in my mind. Rewatching it now, I still find it to be highly entertaining, and can appreciate its style even more.

Split Second is a very fun movie, an underrated creature feature that deserves to be much more popular, and deserves to be more widely available on home video. I'd love to add a region 1 DVD to my collection, but I'm definitely not going to as long as it's going for $234 (new) or $125 (used) on Amazon.

No comments:

Post a Comment