Forgotten Gem: Split Second (1992)

Any movie with Rutger Hauer as the lead is worth watching in my book; he is such a unique actor unlike any who have come before or since. He always has that almost mocking smile and unsettling aura about him which makes him the ideal villain.

In Split Second however, he is the protagonist and the type of old-school badass we know and love. His name is Harley Stone and he has to work alone because he lost his partner a few years ago; he constantly smokes cigars, wears shades (even at night) and a trench coat but more importantly he plays by his own rules. His boss Thrasher (Alun Armstrong) is essentially the shouty police chief who is fed up with Stone’s antics but knows he can get the job done.

The plot is set in a flooded dystopian future London, where Harley Stone hunts the serial killer who murdered his partner and has haunted him ever since. He soon discovers what he is hunting might not be human.

Split Second has elements of action and horror with the antagonist being a monster that we don’t get to see until the end and even then it is only in fleeting glimpses (most likely due to budget restraints).

There isn’t all that much in the way of action to be honest aside from a few shoot-outs but Hauer’s presence as Stone and the movie’s cheeky sense of humour keep things entertaining throughout.

There are some hilarious one-liners like “touching me is not a great idea” when his new partner tries to give him a massage so it never takes itself seriously.

As with every good action movie there is a scene in a stripclub and more importantly a shower scene featuring Kim Catrall.

The supporting cast also includes the late, great Pete Postlethwaite who has it in for Stone; we also have Alastair Duncan as the awesomely named Dick Durkin who becomes Stone’s partner as they try to hunt down this vicious killing machine.

It’s all pretty low key with no big set-pieces but the way the dystopian London is shot gives the film an atmosphere of creepiness.

If you’ve never seen Split Second it’s worth a watch purely for Rutger Hauer at his badass best. It’s available on Region B (UK) Blu-ray and a region free Blu-ray from the Classic Cult Collection.