Blade Runner Star Hunts Serial Killer In Streaming Sci-Fi Thriller

By Charlene Badasie | Published

split second

The 1992 sci-fi, action horror film Split Second is streaming on Amazon Prime Video. Directed by Tony Maylam from a script by Gary Scott Thompson, the project is a co-production between the United States and the United Kingdom. It stars Blade Runner star Rutger Hauer as Harley Stone alongside Kim Cattrall as Michelle McLaine, Alastair Duncan as Dick Durkin, and Michael J. Pollard as The Rat Catcher.

Split Second, starring Blade Runner‘s Rutger Hauer, is streaming on Amazon Prime Video.

Split Second begins in 2008 in a dystopian and flooded London, where torrential rain and darkness are constant. The city is overrun by crime, and the police struggle to maintain order.

Detective Harley Stone (Rutger Hauer), an unconventional cop, is introduced as the protagonist. He’s haunted by the death of his partner in a gruesome encounter with a mysterious serial killer known as the monster.

Stone’s obsession with catching the monster has alienated him from his colleagues, and he has gained a reputation for being reckless and unstable. When he is assigned a new partner, Detective Dick Durkin (Alastair Duncan), Stone initially resists working with him but eventually warms up to the young by-the-book cop. They investigate the gruesome murders and piece together a trail of clues.

Alastair Duncan and Rutger Hauer in Split Second (1992)

As they delve deeper into the case, the pair becomes convinced that the monster is not a typical human serial killer. However, Stone’s relentless pursuit of the monster puts him in danger and forces him to confront his traumatic past. The climax of Split Second takes place in the flooded, subterranean tunnels beneath London, where Stone and Durkin have a showdown with the monster.

The original script for Spilt Second was penned by Gary Scott Thompson in 1988 and was called “Pentagram.”

Split Second was not a major box office success. It had a budget of around $7 million and only managed to earn approximately $5.4 million worldwide. The film received mixed to negative reviews from critics upon its release. While some praised the atmospheric and gritty depiction of a dystopian London, others criticized the movie for its derivative plot and subpar special effects.

Rutger Hauer’s performance was a highlight for some, but Split Second’s overall reception was lukewarm. Over the years, viewer reception has been more forgiving, with some appreciating it as a cult classic of 1990s B-movie sci-fi horror. The movie currently holds a 56 percent audience rating on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes.

The original script for Spilt Second was penned by Gary Scott Thompson in 1988 and was called “Pentagram.” Laura Gregory, head of Challenge Films, and production manager Susan Nicoletti stumbled upon this script and recognized its potential. They enlisted Tony Maylam to direct but requested that Thompson make some adjustments to the script.

split second
Split Second (1992)

Thompson’s original Spilt Second script combined action, horror, and buddy cop elements with occult undertones, set in contemporary Los Angeles. The story revolved around a ritualistic serial killer who had committed five murders every five years for the past 25 years, always leaving pentagram symbols behind after each gruesome act.

One reason for the modifications to Spilt Second was the concern that the original story bore too much resemblance to The First Power, released in 1990. After several rewrites, a new story set in the (at the time) futuristic London was created. Rutger Hauer was sent the revised script and agreed to take on the lead role. Thompson initially wanted Harrison Ford as the main character, but he was content with Hauer.

Interestingly, Split Second was given different titles in some countries, such as “Killer Instinct” in France and “Detective Stone” in Italy.

With rewrites continuing well into filming, director Maylam exited Split Second before it was completed. Ian Sharp and others involved in the project collaborated to finish it.

Sharp directed the final scenes, particularly those set in a flooded subway, and is credited as a co-director. The movie was shot in a relatively short span of eight weeks, from June to August 1991.

Kim Catrall in Split Second (1992)

Interestingly, Split Second was given different titles in some countries, such as “Killer Instinct” in France and “Detective Stone” in Italy. While several scenes were deleted during editing, a Japanese VHS version contains two. One features a conversation between Stone and Durkin at Durkin’s apartment, where they interact with his girlfriend, Robin (played by actress Roberta Eaton).

The second deleted scene featured additional dialogue between Stone and Durkin while the monster attacked a jogger, leading to the detectives’ discovery of the victim’s corpse. These scenes have since become bonus features on the Blu-ray release of Split Second by 101 Films.

After starring in Split Second, Rutger Hauer appeared in various films, including notable roles in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Blind Fury, and Hobo with a Shotgun. Hauer also ventured into television, appearing in series like Smallville and True Blood. He maintained a solid international fan base and continued to work in film until his passing in 2019.

Post Split Second, Kim Cattrall achieved worldwide recognition for her role as Samantha Jones in the highly popular series Sex and the City and its subsequent film adaptations. Her portrayal earned her critical acclaim and several award nominations.

Despite its troubled production and mixed reception, Split Second remains a favorite among fans of ’90s sci-fi horror.