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Film / Split Second (1992)
aka: Split Second

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Durkin: If I were a religious human being and not a reasoning person I think I am, I wouldn't say that this thing thinks it's Satan. I say it is Satan.
Stone: Well, Satan is in deep shit!

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 (the film was made in 1992), 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.
  • Badass Longcoat: Stone never goes anywhere without a leather trenchcoat to emphasize his badassitude as a Cowboy Cop.
  • Bat Deduction: Stone looks at the astrological symbol for Scorpio and exclaims, "what if it's a map?" Of course he turns out to be right.
  • 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 Arwen 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.
  • Cool Shades: Harley has a pair. You never see it clearly for a long enough period to notice, but the creature also seems to have a pair too in the form of a wrap-around visor.
  • Couldn't Find a Pen: The monster leaves behind a taunting message for Stone after brutally murdering a woman in a bathroom stall, written on the mirror in her blood: "I'M BACK".
  • 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.
  • Creator's Culture Carryover: 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!
  • 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.
    • 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.
      Stone: Hallelujah.
      Thrasher: You're both fucking nuts! What am I supposed to do? Put out an APB on some fucking guy who looks like the Devil? Answers to the name of Lucifer? I suppose he's got two fucking horns sticking out of his head, yeah! A long fucking tail! (Storming off in frustration) Fucking out of the way with ya! Jesus Christ! You're a pair of pricks!
  • Dead Partner: Stone lost his old partner Foster to the monster when they were both investigating the sewers. When Durkin asks Da Chief if Stone has Survivor's Guilt, he says that it's just plain guilt; Stone happened to be screwing Foster's wife at the time.
  • 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...
  • Exact Words: When Stone enters a club and asks for coffee, he's told that he has to order a minimum of two drinks. So he orders two coffees.
  • Failed Future Forecast: This dystopian sci-fi action movie predicted that London would become partially flooded by 2008 as a result of Global Warming, giving the monster in the film a place to hide in the mass of abandoned buildings and subway stations. Suffice it to say, this prediction was a bit off. (though only on the timescale, by current projections)
  • Fanservice Extra: Stone visits a strip joint where he's convinced the killer will show up next (he's right), and briefly observes a stripper dressed in bondage gear.
  • 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.
  • Flooded Future World: The movie takes place in (then-) 20 Minutes into the Future (in 2008), after the melting of the Arctic ice raised water levels around the world. The movie itself is set in a partially-flooded London, large portions of which have had to be abandoned to the rising waters.
  • Gatling Good: The BFGs that Stone and Durkin bring along to the final fight are rotary-cannon "assault shotguns".
  • Global Warming: Serves as a Worldbuilding plot point, as global warming has caused substantial flooding in London at high tides, turning it into even more of a Wretched Hive with all the abandoned buildings and subway stations, the perfect place for criminals and nine-foot carnivorous rat-demons to hide out.
  • 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 physically abusing a fellow cop. 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.
  • It Can Think: The 9 foot tall xenomorph-like creature is apparently capable of making financial transactions, walking around a nightclub without drawing attention to itself, and playing Criminal Mind Games with the cops.
  • It's Personal: Stone has a personal vendetta with the monster, as it previously killed his partner, sending Stone over the edge and turning him into his current cynical and anti-social self, and is constantly leaving him messages to fuck with him.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: It's never clearly shown exactly what the creature's origins are, only that it seems to absorb DNA from its victims by eating their hearts, and that it also has rat DNA. A supernatural explanation is put forward as the one making the most sense, but that's only due to the absence of alternatives. Nothing overtly supernatural occurs in the film (the film's occult elements never exceed anything that wouldn't be out of place on, say, a Halloween or cult-focused episode of CSI or Law and Order), though there are a couple things that defy explanation (see And Show It to You and Plot Hole). It could just as easily be an alien, mutant, or genetic experiment.
  • 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.
    • Kim Cattrall's topless shower scene.
  • Must Have Caffeine: Stone's preferred diet consists mainly of coffee with loads of sugar, a seemingly endless supply of chocolate treats, and anxiety. He's rarely seen consuming anything beyond those things. We're told he's a recovering alcoholic, so the insistence on coffee is not for caffeine only, though.
  • 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.
  • Shapeshifter: 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.
  • Shower Scene: Michelle (Kim Cattrall) takes a shower at Stone's apartment, during which she is almost attacked by the alien monster.
  • 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 temporary 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!
  • Steel Eardrums: Stone fires his Hand Cannon six inches from Durkin's face to shoot at a giant rat behind him. He's not half-deaf afterwards.
  • 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.
  • Walking Armory: Harley Stone gets chewed out by Chief Thrasher for carrying enough weapons to mow down a crowd, but since he's hunting a Nigh-Invulnerable alien monster, Stone is really being Properly Paranoid.
    Trasher: How many weapons are you carrying besides this Hand Cannon I'm holding?
    Stone: An M&P15... a Glock .50... and an A3 assault shotgun.
    Trasher: I'm surprised you don't have a grenade launcher!
    Stone: Couldn't get a permit.
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: The killer attacks Stone's partner but leaves Stone alive, then later stalks Michelle, wounds her, but doesn't kill her, and goes after another woman in the same building instead. There's no reason for any of this. Durkin has some throwaway lines about the killer "marking them" but nothing ever comes out of it.
  • Xenomorph Xerox: The monster is definitely inspired by the Xenomorphs, being a very large creature with an armored black exoskeleton, giant claws, and a smooth, slightly elongated head lined with teeth. It is somewhat more humanoid than a pure Xenomorph, always standing upright and lacking a tail.
  • 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.

Alternative Title(s): Split Second