Tag yourself: “He lives on anxiety, coffee, and chocolate.” It me; can relate.
Tony Maylam’s Split Second is probably forever doomed to be a cult favorite, but it’s a pity it’s not better known. It has a wild, sometimes even manic electricity that covers up most deficiencies. I happened to watch it back-to-back with another forgotten 90s sci-fi, Screamers, which is as much a drag as Split Second is a good time. A boring bad movie is the pits, but a bad movie with verve can be a blast. Good thing Split Second is the latter.
It hails from that very specific trenchcoat / combat boots / spiky hair / round tinted glasses moment in the early ’90s, with all the look and feel of cyberpunk without the cyber. It’s almost kind of a relief to see a sci-fi movie that isn’t packed with PDAs, virtual reality goggles, floppy discs, or other gizmos. The sets, costumes, and art direction are all nice, but would have probably looked better had the studio lights not been cranked all the way up. Also of note: the goopy monster suit looks so much like 2018’s computer-generated Venom that it seems beyond coincidence.
Rutger Hauer is entertainingly eccentric and committed throughout, and has an unexpected chemistry (a baseline requirement for the buddy cop genre) with Alastair Duncan — if a little less chemistry with Kim Cattrall. She’s super-cute here, sporting what looks like Juliette Binoche’s haircut from The Unbearable Lightness of Being, but (check calendar) it’s probably her Vulcan hairdo from Star Trek: The Undiscovered Country.
As over the top and ridiculous it is about everything else, Split Second is unexpectedly clear-eyed about climate change. This near-future dystopia is a waterlogged London beset by extreme weather, poverty, crime, vermin, and pestilence. It makes the roughly contemporaneous Waterworld look like the cartoon it is.
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