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Traversing the barren wastelands of a post-apocalyptic world, trooper Moses (Dylan McDermott) stumbles across an old cyborg head, which he takes back for his girlfriend Jill (Stacey Travis). Jill intends to integrate this new piece of hardware into one of her sculptures, but unbeknownst to both of them the head belongs to a Mark 13, a particularly vicious war droid and it is far from dead...
Hardware (1990. 1 hr, 34 min, 17 sec) is a dystopian science fiction movie which has been rereleased for its twenty-fifth anniversary. The film was directed by Richard Stanley.
The movie was made on a small budget and so most of the action takes place in Jill’s apartment, where the Mark 13 uses household object to reassemble itself a body, intent on killing just about anything. It’s a B movie, but a superior one, visually speaking.
What the film does have is style, making the most of its budget to produce a realistic view of a devastated world, filled with radiation. The sky is permanently red, sand and dirt seem to cover every surface. This is the reason which keeps Jill in her apartment, unwilling to risk her health by venturing outside. In this world of second hand and aging technology, Jill’s apartment is resplendent with enough tech for the Mark 13 to create itself a new body. What follows is a lot of death and gore as the Mark 13 goes on the rampage.
Although Jill thinks that she is alone, her ordeal is witnessed by her local peeping tom, who has for some time had her under surveillance. With the robot fully operational the film throws one body after another into its deadly path.
The two leads are surprisingly effective, given the budget of the film, and there is a good cast of supporting actors, including Lemmy and Iggy Pop.
The film is not without its faults. Stanley started out directing pop videos and it shows in the inventive use of light and camera angles, which gives the film a real atmosphere. But whilst the ensemble act their hearts out, the script does not allow for much in the way of character development.
The film has aged remarkably well and only the electro pop soundtrack gives its age away. The picture is a little grainy, but this is probably from the original film print. One thing that did surprise was the lack of any extras on the disc, there is literally nothing. Of course Stanley did not have particular good treatment at the hands of the studio system and so probably does not feel like helping them line more of their pockets.
The film has, over the years achieved cult status, but overall it’s a lot better than it deserved to be, but the use of stereotypical tropes means that it is no lost classic.
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