In the movie Split Second
, Harley Stone (played by Rutger Hauer
) is a cop who often flouts the rules
working in a decaying, flooded London circa 2008 (clearly an alternate timeline), as global warming has caused sea levels to rise.
A supernatural killer
that Stone is convinced exists has returned, and it's his mission
to find the killer before anyone else dies. Unfortunately, his boss doesn't think he's stable enough to work without an assigned partner, Dick Durkin. Hilarity (and action-adventure) ensues.
This film provides examples of:
- Absurdly Sharp Claws: The creature uses its huge claw to shred through the roof of a subway train like a hot knife through butter. It has to be seen to be believed.
- Alliterative Name: Detective Dick Durkin.
- And Show It to You: In the climax, Stone pulls out the monster's heart from its chest and blows it to smithereens with his gun. Interesting that it might not be overkill: the monster doesn't drop until the heart is destroyed.
- Awesome McCoolname: Harley Stone.
- Badass Longcoat: Stone never goes anywhere without a leather trenchcoat to emphasize his badassitude as a Cowboy Cop.
- Beat Still, My Heart: After Stone pulls out the monster's heart, it keeps beating.
- BFG: Dick Durkin snaps and ends up demanding, literally, Bigger Fucking Guns. Big, Big Fucking guns, in fact. To the point where, when browsing the police armoury, he dismisses several weapons as 'Too fucking small', including an A3 Assault Rifle and an R1 Grenade Launcher (!)
- Bottomless Magazines: The Assault Shotguns that Stone and Durkin use are described as being fully automatic and firing 650 round a minute. Despite the only visible source of ammo being a small box magazine attached to the weapons, which could probably hold, at best, 30 Shotgun Shells, the pair fire off hundreds of rounds without ever once reloading. Noticeably, when heading into the creature's hideout, they don't even bother to bring any extra ammo with them.
- By-the-Book Cop: Dick Durkin is much more mindful of proper police procedure and much calmer than Stone due to his past education on killers and psychopaths. Subverted towards the end when he realizes that they're up against a supernatural monstrosity and he becomes just as gun-happy as Stone.
- Cannibalism Superpower: Durkin theorizes that the killer is a demon sent from Hell who eats the hearts of his victims to gain their strength, DNA, and their souls.
- Connect the Deaths: The monster kills its victims in specific places in order to draw a dot-to-dot version of an astrological symbol on the city map.
- Cowboy Cop: Stone is a complete rundown of the trope: He's a multiple gun-toting hardass who treats everyone like crap, shoots first and asks questions later, pisses off Da Chief and treats his by-the-book partner like a nuisance and gets the job done with superior firepower.
- Crapsack World: It's dark, it's flooded, there are rats everywhere, there's a serial killer on the loose and Stone has a pigeon living in his apartment.
- Cyberpunk with a Chance of Rain: (Then-) future London, and so bad that a good chunk of it has long since flooded. You never even see the sun up until the final credits.
- Cynicism Catalyst: In a flashback it's shown how Stone was fairly well-composed before his partner was killed by the monster he has since been pursuing. Stone blamed himself (especially because he was having an affair with his partner's wife) and became a paranoid, rude gunslinger in response.
- Da Chief: Chief Thrasher (Yes, really), who spends most of his time trying to rein the violent and snarky Harley Stone in.
- Deadpan Snarker:
- Harley Stone. It helps that Rutger Hauer seems to naturally gravitate to playing characters this way.
Durkin: Her heart? What for?
Stone: Maybe he eats them for breakfast.
- When Stone and Durkin, both armed to the teeth, are confronted by Da Chief who demands an explanation:
Durkin: He's eating human hearts for Christ's sake!
Thrasher: How do you know that?
Stone: We had lunch with him.
- And then after more attempts by Thrasher to get an explanation of the killer's identity, he veers straight into The Neidermeyer territory:
Thrasher: Are you telling me, there's some...thing, running around loose in this city, ripping the hearts out of people and eating them...So he can take their souls back to Hell?
Durkin: (Beat) Looks that way.
- Finger in the Mail: A long-vanished Serial Killer returns and taunts the protagonist by sending him a metal briefcase that turns out to contain the heart of the first new victim packed in ice with a very large bite taken out of it.
- Gatling Good: The BFGs that Stone and Durkin bring along to the final fight are rotary-cannon "assault shotguns".
- Gonna Need More X: Dick Durkin demands more guns (specifically, Big Fucking Guns) after seeing the monster for the first time and consequently freaking out.
- Good Is Not Nice: Stone is a cantankerous prick throughout the movie. He goes out of his way to be a smartass to people, even to the extent of purposely ordering coffee in a bar. He's also the only person capable of stopping the alien.
- Hand Cannon: Stone's modified sidearm is massive — and that's lampshaded by multiple characters calling it his personal cannon.
- More Dakka: Harley's arsenal. In spades. He has, among other weapons: an MP-15, Glock 50, and an A-3 assault shotgun.
Thrasher: I'm surprised you don't have a grenade launcher.
Stone: I couldn't get a permit.
- Ms. Fanservice:
- The nightclub stripper.
- Also, Kim Cattrall's topless shower scene.
- Non-Appearing Title: The film seems to be called Split Second because that sounds cool. It has nothing to do with anything that happens in the film. Although Harley and Dick versus The Giant Demonic Mutant Rat in Futuretown was probably already taken.
- Plot Hole: It is likely that the identity of the Serial Killer as being a giant Xenomorph-like monster was decided on fairly late in production, because a lot of the movie becomes nonsensical as a result. The alien is a nine-foot tall behemoth, yet no one in the night club noticed it walking around, while there's also a Murderer P.O.V. shot shown at human eye level. It has giant claws, yet it can smear big letters on a mirror in blood. It can't talk, but somehow it paid someone to deliver a victim's heart to the police station. And so on.
- Properly Paranoid: The Chief is initially wary of Stone being a paranoid menace, since he carries around a Hand Cannon and several other guns at all times. The very next scene involves him and the chief discovering that the heart of the killer's latest victim was delivered right to Stone's desk at the precinct.
Stone: Paranoid, huh?
- Psychic Powers: Stone has a mysterious psychic connection to the killer; he can predict where he first strikes upon his return and sense his presence by hearing the killer's beating heart. Dick Durkin thinks it's because he's a Scorpio.
- Regularly Scheduled Evil: The alien monster kills its victims based on the lunar cycle, and only during high tides in the partially submerged city of London.
- Reliably Unreliable Guns: Stone's Weapon is rendered conveniently useless in the climax when it's time for him to fight the monster.
- Serial Killer: Stone is pursuing a serial killer who cuts out his victims' hearts to eat them and has a personal vendetta with Stone. Subverted in that it turns out it is actually a giant monster with unexplained motives for killing people, although presumably intelligent.
- Shape Shifter: Heavily hinted at, although never explicitly shown. The Killer is mentioned as having "Multiple Restriction Polymorphic DNA Strands", which include the DNA of all the people it has attacked and killed, plus rat DNA. It can do things which shouldn't be possible for a creature of its size and appearance (See Plot Hole). Most glaringly, walking through a crowded nightclub and into a well-lit toilet to attack one of its victims. Possibly to avoid Special Effect Failure - if a film states that a creature is a shapeshifter, the audience will reasonably expect to see it change shape on-screen at some point. The budget presumably wouldn't have supported this.
- Skeptic No Longer: Detective Dick Durkin refuses to believe that the Serial Killer he and Harley Stone (his partner) are tracking isn't actually a human being at all, but rather some kind of monster. And then he runs face-to-face with the thing. Seeing the monster also leads to Durkin's line (and temporal Madness Mantra), "We need to get bigger guns!", which under the circumstances was a very rational reaction.
Stone: Did you see him?
Durkin: That wasn't a him, that was a fucking it!
- The End... Or Is It?: When Stone and Durkin arrive to the creature's lair they try to not disturb a well-lit spot of the flooded tunnel because they assume it's a trap. When they manage to kill the creature and leave with Stone's girlfriend, bubbles start rising out of that very same spot...
- Trailers Always Spoil: The creature isn't revealed as such until near the end of the film - before that, it is only fleetingly glimpsed and its attacks usually take place off-screen. So you wouldn't know that it wasn't a human, but rather a giant Xenomorph, Rat-Hybrid monster...Unless you'd seen the poster at the top of the page, which is also the box art on some releases of the film.
- We All Live in America: The English characters use American names for objects and British Police procedure seems to be identical to American.
Durkin: I followed him down an alleyway - he shot a trash can!
- You Dirty Rat: Despite not looking or acting like a rat, the creature is described as having Rat DNA, and one character who comes face-to-face with it calls it a 'Rat Bastard' before taking a shot at it.