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.
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.