Film Reviews:

Split Second

(Tony Maylam, US, 1992)

If you see Split Second with low expectations, awaiting the desperately bad film critics described on its teatrical release, you may be pleasently surprised. Sure, it isn't going to win any awards. It's a case of switch off the brain and out with the popcorn (or beers).

A brief on-screen introduction informs us it is 2008 and due to global warming, large areas of London have flooded, dense smog creates a virtually continuous night, and rats are rife. Rutger Hauer is policeman Harley Stone who, since his partner was killed by a serial killer, has become a frantic caffine and chocolate addict! Now, the killer is back and Stone and his new partner Dick (Neil Duncan) must protect the widow (Kim Cattrall) of Stone's dead partner, while trying to put a stop to the heart-ripping antics of the killer. The problem is the suspect is a ten-foot tall monster.

Underpinning the bloody murders and Hill Street Blues-inspired HQ sequences is a healthy sense of humour. This aids viewing considerably. One joke about requiring 'big guns' to stop the monster is blatantly played to the viewing audience, and along with a neat line in quips and repartee, it would seem that the filmmakers knew just how they wanted the film to work. Kim Cattrall (with haircut fresh from Star Trek VI) is under used - even if her body is over exposed! Some mumbo jumbo suggesting that the killer is the Devil himself fall flat after the big build up of tracing the murderer's pattern and methods.

The London locations are incredibly refreshing to the seasoned future flick fan and the opening helicopter shots of Canary Wharf and the partially-flooded City really set the tone well. The much-publicised filming in London's East End and docklands also looks good. It may apppear to be a little pop vieoish at times, but the very fact that it is all location work makes a change when most future films look exactly like glossy studio sets. Despite its production problems (the director was replaced towards the end of shooting and the script was apparently being rewritten throughout production) Split Second comes out of these set back well. It's solid entertainment - pure and simple. Director Tony Maylam also directed the 1981 horror classic The Burning.

Rob Dyer