Beer Goggles: Split Second (1992)

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Director: Tony Maylam

Starring: Rutger Hauer, Kim Cattrall, Neil Duncan

Review Author: Tony

If you’re new I’d like to welcome you to Beer Goggles where the rules are simple: find an obscure movie picked at random, smash back far too many cans and put all writing integrity on the line. While I have definitely increased my efforts to see more films and the bottom of a pint glass, I’ve sadly found myself not doing both in conjunction, but alas, I’m only a mortal man confined by the restraints of time who shares friendship with no one.

My choice for this Beer Goggles is actually a film I’ve seen years ago. Back in my college days, I used to survive my hangovers by watching as many B movies that I could find in full on Youtube (the glory days of Youtube at least). Perhaps it was the convenience of full films so readily available, perhaps it was my preference for violent sci-fi and horror films from the 80’s and 90’s or perhaps it was the quality of films matched my hangover. The reason why I’ve picked Split Second is mostly due to the fact I recognized the name and that Rutger Hauer was in it but besides that, I remember fuck all else.

Set in the near future of 2008, London has become flooded and heavily polluted due to the ignored warnings of global warming. Washed-up detective, Harley Stone, is on the prowl for a suspected serial killer who takes the hearts of his victims. Stone is paranoid and unhinged suffering from anxiety attacks due to a previous encounter with the killer that cost the life of his partner. His manic actions have him reprimanded by his captain and assigned a new partner, Dick Durkin (hahaha hahaha). Durkin is as straight-laced as they come and the polar opposite to Stone leading to an uneasy partnership, but Stone’s apparent sixth sense gives him a strange connection to the serial killer. They soon realize that the killer is hunting them.

There’s a lot of interesting elements to Split Second, it tackles the theme of global warming, its set in a dystopian future, it dips its toes in the buddy cop genre and horror genre and yet none of these elements are really tackled in any cohesive manner. The extent of global warming is a title crawl telling us London is flooded and the occasional scene has our protagonist driving through flooded streets (so basically London), there’s no significance to it at all. The dystopian future goes from cyberpunk-themed sets to just the plain old boring streets of London. Even the story can’t seem to stay on track as it attempts to establish it’s killer as some kind of occult fanatic but never really bothers to give it any decent kind of logic.

Despite all these misplaced jigsaw pieces, it’s the film’s commitment to throwing as many plot elements it can without any solid narrative that makes the film more endearing. There’s a sense that anything and everything that was in the scripts and its numerous rewrites was filmed and left in. This film is that drunk mate who has a load of funny but incoherent stories (kinda like me except I wish I was funny). Even after a plethora of Aldi brand larger, I was still on steadier legs than this film.

What Split Second does have going for it by the shovel load is a committed cast that dial it up to eleven. Clearly, there was enough cocaine left after the 80’s to feed this crew because there’s more ham here than a slaughterhouse. Hauer is batshit insane as the maverick detective Stone, the character is borderline psychotic as he lashes out at just about everyone in his precinct. What makes it even more amusing is how Stone also fits the stereotype of 90’s dystopian cop with a trench coat, shades and a penchant for cigars, in fact, I couldn’t help but laugh at his similarities to Batou from Ghost in the Shell.

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Even though I had seen the film before I had forgotten just how silly the killer is. The killer is revealed to be some kind of monster that eats hearts and can absorb DNA from its victims and establish a telekinetic link with those it injures (because why the fuck not). The monster itself its daft looking, its 8 feet tall with massive claws, A huge mouth of razor sharp teeth and a goofy visor. It looks like a reject power rangers villain or a demonic member of Daft Punk.

Despite remembering so little I found myself thoroughly enjoying Split Second. It’s general plot laziness suited my inebriated state as I was in no condition to retain any intellectual plot points. It messy, cheap and rips off plenty of actually decent science fiction and horror films but it’s also fully aware of its campiness. The cast is a riot and Hauer and Neil Jones carry the film with a dynamic chemistry. The pacing of the film is another benefit as it moves quickly from scene to scene setting up suspense moments and action scenes without bogging you down with its nonsensical plot.

Rating: 3.5 / 5 Dutch Gold

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