Hardware Reviews

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Super Reviewer
December 13, 2006
A scavenger in a post-apocalyptic wasteland uncovers the remains of a robotic assassin which rebuilds itself and runs amok in a civilian apartment building. Richard Stanley's heritage as a music video director is obvious in this highly derivative sci-fi B movie that owes huges debts to The Terminator, Alien and Blade Runner. Stanley's eye actually manages to capture the Mad Max dystopian future aesthetic quite well and despite the lack of star names the cast acquit themselves quite well; the leads are solid and the supporting characters add some much needed colour to the generic sci-fi-ness of it all. The film is very much of its time, trying desperately for "cult" credibility as it is by casting Lemmy, Iggy Pop and that bloke from Fields Of The Nephilim in cameo roles; it also sports a soundtrack by Goth-punk rockers The Ministry and contains the inevitable fractal imagery and pretentions towards artiness that were peculiar to post 80s popular culture. But strip away all of the window dressing and it's really just another stalker movie with a robot. Unfortunately the robot itself is the biggest drawback as it looks like it was constructed out of Meccano and old vacuum cleaner parts and doesn't look in the least bit menacing. Still, it definitely has some good moments stylistically at least and has stood up rather better than a lot of films with much higher budgets.
Super Reviewer
½ June 26, 2011
Post-apocalyptic, cyberpunk horror based on a short comic book story called "Shok" about a self-repairing combat cyborg that terrorizes a lady in an apartment block. Pretty good I thought. I liked its interpretation of a post nuclear holocaust world. Pretty cool soundtrack too with cameos from rock legends Iggy Pop and Lemmy from Motorhead. Takes a while for the action to get going but there are a couple of awesomely bloody deaths. As for the cyborg itself I didn't find it too menacing really and it moved quite awkwardly too, the low-budget obviously played its part in the special-effects department. But the "M.A.R.K. 13" does have enough character to make it as memorable as other villainous robots like "ED-209" from the Robocop films. Good film overall, but not great. It's earned its cult status though.
Super Reviewer
June 8, 2010
Crtics have hailed Hardware as a misunderstood post apocalyptic masterpiece in the tradition of Mad Max.
Having watched it, I initially had mixed feelings about this film. It's raw, gritty and it's low budget only adds to the films energy. The biggest problem I had with the film is the characters, I felt they were not well developed and not likeable. The acting is standard B movie shit and you really don't care for the characters in the end. The movie itself is awesome for it's violence, and when it starts, boy does it start. This film lacks character, and plot developpement but really delivers in the violence department. This is a picture that needs multiple viewings to really like it, but in the end; this film is in the you either love it or hate it category. The plot is very simple, and effective. A soldier finds parts of a robot in the desert and brings it to his sculptor girlfriend. The Robot turns out to be a Mark 13 robot, a killer bot designed to control the human growth population. The only thing now is that the droid goes on a killing rampage and kills everything in his path. The gore factor for the film is high, and the film will definitely make you bit your nails. But Hardware isn't a film that has a great story, the film relies more on the on screen violence to create the Horror. Theres plenty of destruction going on here, as the Mark 13 droid kills everything in his path. Even though the film feels low budget, this still a fairly well done Sci Fi horror flick, though lacking in plot, it makes up for it in thrills. Hardware is a violence driven film, and in some case it works, which is the case with this film. A wicked post apocalyptic style film set in a dystopian society. Alkso worth mentioning is a cool cameo by Lemmy from Motorhead.
Super Reviewer
½ August 1, 2009
This begins with a tight dystopic aesthetic but it loses its way when it confines itself to the one set - a main character's apartment - for the majority of the film. I wanted there to be more to this film because more was promised in the first act. Once it gets rolling, there are a few very cool gore installations but the film didn't keep me engaged in the suspense once it confines itself to the one location because then it becomes just a series of "we killed it! oh no, we didn't kill it!" and then rinses and repeats too many times to remain interesting.
Super Reviewer
½ February 1, 2008
Trashy, but kind of watchable.
Super Reviewer
July 3, 2007
I must admit I am a huge fan of under-estimated, enigmatic South African director Richard Stanley

Like his magnificent masterpiece, Dust Devil, Hardware deals with similar themes - the desert, the Old Testament, and sexual violence.

I first saw this movie back in high school.

Watching it again on blu-ray,the movie seems a little dated or rather post-rock video in places, but when it was made in 1990, this was all cutting-edge stuff. I am not giving anything away by saying that the plot is in many ways a re-working of The Terminator or Alien, when Dylan McDermott gives his girlfriend Jill (played by Stacey Travis)what he thinks is a load of unusual scrap metal salvaged from the desert. She is an artist and welds these robot parts to a sculpture she is making...

This is an extremely visceral movie, laced with religious iconography (mark-13 often adopts crucifixion poses and in the shower scene at the end, appears to be in a prayer position) and boosted by an extremely eclectic and unusual cast. Motorhead singer Lemmy crops up playing a sort of ferryman, Iggy Pop plays DJ Angry Bob, and John Lynch is excellent as my favourite character from this film, Shades.

The narrative is essentially straight-forward but what makes this movie different and memorable is Stanley's vision. The mise-en-scene is bleached red (post-appocalypse), the use of montage is often extremely effective and nightmarish and I was frequently reminded when watching it of Renaissence paintings, just in glimpses here and there (hell, maybe that's just me..!) There is also some American comment in this movie; mark-13 is adorned with a stars-and-stripes, and the deadly toxin it employs is described as 'smelling like apple pie'. This of course is akin to Dust Devil, where the demon is simply called 'Texas' by Wendy.

So, to conclude, if you haven't seen this movie or heard of this director before I urge you to seek him out. Anyone with a love for avant-garde and challenging cinema (like me) should have heard of this guy (proper auteur by the way) and his thematically-consistent visions.

This is still a fine film but probably hasn't aged as well as it might have done - it's strength is that it is far more complex than it first appears to be.
Super Reviewer
October 13, 2007
Great 80's music and dusty post-apocalyptic danger zone . It's a simple robot-girl suspense story. Nothing great, but it has an appeal - blame the Public Image Ltd. song "The Order of Death" which makes it unforgettable.
Super Reviewer
½ December 27, 2006
You pick this movie up and you see that it boasts Lemmy Killmister in its cast, and you go, "How good can it be", right?. Well, it's even worse.
Super Reviewer
½ November 20, 2006
Bored stylish, atmospheric horror tale of a US military android reviving itself after the Big One and going on the rampage.
Super Reviewer
August 1, 2015
A collection of interesting ideas and style that isn't matched by the final execution which falls into a lot of familiar horror tropes. However, I appreciate that the filmmakers actually followed through with their cynical themes.
Super Reviewer
June 1, 2010
An incredibly inventive and surprisingly artistic take (given the story) on an evil Short Circuit type robot that when activated, kills everything in its sight. Reminiscent of Terminator (the robot keeps on coming, and mostly pursues one person), Alien (shots of electrical 'tendrils' coming in extreme close up to victims in profile), Mad Max (neo-dystopian/post-apocalyptic wastelands and rotting cityscapes) and in 'final girl' Jill (Stacey Travis) there's more than a touch of Laurie from Halloween and, especially, Nancy from A Nightmare on Elm Street - somewhat introverted but smart, capable, resourceful. The 'patchwork' quality of the film actually works surprisingly well especially given that the majority of the running time is spent in one apartment room in murky browns and reds. The low budget is cleverly disguised through obscured close-ups and clever sound effects, and there are some impressive prosthetics effects (the film is pretty damn gory in the final stages). Chuck in a rather superb, almost kitsch soundtrack and decent work from Stacey Travis and Dylan McDermott, as well as fascinating tech-heavy props and gadgets and a genuinely interesting scene-setting historical/religious background. Hardware is more than a curio and I definitely recommend it.
Super Reviewer
August 12, 2013
Hardware is silly but fun at the same time. It tried too hard to scare and just looked silly, but I do enjoy the concept of a post apocalyptic dystopia filled with paranoia, oppression and robots.Slightly preposterous but the amount of fire power redeemed the film.
Super Reviewer
February 14, 2008
A sad look at an all too possible future. Brilliant post apocolypic movie...very sandy though.
½ May 29, 2015
An ultra cheap, yet super stylish sci-fi monster flick. Unfortunately a lot of moments are so awkwardly handled, the movie becomes devoid of anything remotely interesting. Good looking, but boring. SKIP IT
November 26, 2013
I was really excited to get my hands on this and Dust Devil because of their reputation. A pair of undiscovered classics, it seemed. And although Stanley has a way with images and music (being a music video director), his two films are unsatisfying. Despite the incredible visuals, music selection, and dense atmosphere, the stories and characters are the weak link. Though there are scraps of satirical ideas in Hardware and aimless philosophizing in Dust Devil, these pictures are all style and no content.
½ January 1, 2013
low production values horrible music from a 80's porn flick (at least it seems like it 2 me) the only bright spot was iggy pop cast as radio DJ angry bob.
October 27, 2012
Loved the visual style and decidedly 80's feel of the movie. I just wish there was more to the story.
½ November 27, 2011
Originally Stanley wanted Bill Paxton and Jeffery Combs or so I've read. That would have been a movie!
½ June 17, 2011
What starts as a bit of a Terminator clone, becomes a big heaping mess of over zealous direction and lackluster effects. It is the post-apocalyptic future, and Mo, a tough-as-nails soldier, brings home a dismembered cyborg for his neo-artist girlfriend on Christmas. While she's sleeping, the cyborg re-assembles itself and tries to take her out. One solid hour of wandering and pointless build-up proceeds any of the kick ass robot action in this film and sadly, the climax is so tedious and drawn-out that it feels almost as frustrating as the first hour. Director / writer Richard Stanley saw fit to try every grating and annoying camera trick in his arsenal to create drama and suspense. It does neither of these things and really makes the film look cheap. The characters are so unlikable that any fate that finds them is really meaningless. Though this film has a solid reputation as a cult-worthy sci-fi horror, it fails to deliver on almost all counts. A few chosen moments of intense gore are the only things that make this one worth watching, and even that may be debatable.
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