Split Second (1992)

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Released 23-Jan-2006

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action None
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 1992
Running Time 90:13
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Tony Maylam
Ian Sharp
Studio
Distributor
SONY Pictures
Sony Pictures Home Entertain
Starring Rutger Hauer
Kim Cattrall
Neil Duncan
Michael J. Pollard
Alun Armstrong
Pete Postlethwaite
Ian Dury
Roberta Eaton
Tony Steedman
Steven Hartley
Sara Stockbridge
Colin Skeaping
Ken Bones
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $9.95 Music Wendy Carlos
Francis Haines
Stephen W. Parsons


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.29:1
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
Spanish
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Set in a partially flooded London circa 2008, Detective Harley Stone (Rutger Hauer) is tracking a serial killer who eats the hearts of his victims. Stone, an unbalanced anxiety junkie, is convinced that the killer is in fact an inhuman creature, possibly responsible for the death of his partner three years earlier. Stone is assigned a straight-laced serial killer expert, Dick Durkin, to assist in the investigation. Together they'll need "BIGGER GUNS" to halt the slaughter.

    Split Second is firmly entrenched in the 'guilty pleasures' category when it comes to exploitation genre cinema. The plot cannibalises dozens of science fiction favourites, blends them together, and throws them at the audience with just enough panache to make the experience worth while. Sure the screenplay is derivative, but it sells the premise well. The effects work, like the writing, is merely adequate, and the creature is very reminiscent of the Nostromo Menace. What immediately elevates Split Second from being a mundane genre quickie is the film's ace in the hole - legendary anti-hero, Rutger Hauer. Watching Mr Hauer decked out in leather, wandering a flooded London and blasting anything that moves with an assortment of automatic weaponry is always worth the price of a rental. Joining the Dutch legend is an ensemble cast made up of genre veterans like Alun Armstrong (Krull), Kim Cattral (Big Trouble In Little China, Star Trek VI), Pete Postlethwaite (Alien 3, The Lost World) and Ian Dury (Judge Dredd). Director Tony Maylam directs the film at a rapid clip, obviously aware of the films narrative shortcomings. The action scenes are handled well and the film doesn't skimp on the blood and guts. Add up all these elements and you have a low budget winner.

    Made for seven million dollars in 1992, the film was released theatrically to an indifferent audience. It has since become a small cult favourite and sits comfortably alongside other sci-fi cheapies of that era, such as Fortress starring Christopher Lambert, Hardware Starring Dylan McDermott, and The Hidden starrng Kyle Maclachlan.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    I'm sad to report that Columbia Tristar has dropped the ball on this release.

    The film was shot in the aspect ratio of 1:85:1 but the transfer found here is full frame, and a disappointing one at that.

    Sharpness levels are poor, with edge enhancement prominent throughout the transfer. Shadow Detail is also lousy, too, with barely noticeable background details. There is a fair amount of grain on the print, but thankfully little in the way of low level noise.

    Colours are oversaturated, with image bleeding prevalent.

    Occasional film artefacts are noticeable, but nothing is out of the ordinary.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    Fortunately the sound quality fares better than the video transfer. The disc has two audio tracks in English and Spanish. Both are Dolby Digital 2.0 surround.barely noticeableDialogue is clear with no audio sync anamolies.

    The film's orchestral score is effective and adds charm to the moody atmoshpere.

    Surround channel usage is minimal, with rear channels comprised of occasional sound effects and ambient noise.

    The subwoofer adds the required bass and reverberation to enhance the 2.0 surround soundtrack.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    Nil.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    Both the R4 and R1 versions are basically the same. However, the full frame transfer on the now defunct R1 HBO release is superior.

Summary

    Split Second will never be mistaken for high art. However, those of us who enjoy low budget cult science fiction films will find much to enjoy. The transfer is very disapointing and extras are non-existent.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Greg Morfoot (if interested here is my bio)
Tuesday, December 13, 2005
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-535, using Component output
DisplayLG 76cm Widescreen Flatron Television. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderSony HT-K215. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationSony HT-K215
Speakers fronts-paradigm titans, centre &rear Sony - radio parts subbie

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