This movie is one of the best looks at a bleak future that I've seen. It's effective in every way, except one. I've never been a big fan of self-regeneration, and it seems like a less-than-subtle way to bring our "killer robot" into play. If you look past that, and write it off as Richard Stanley's only conceivable way to bring the robot into existence, you have a masterpiece of modern sci-fi. From the sick, obsessive neighbor, to the radio-active environment, to the incredible pieces of "cyber-punk" music PIL, Ministry , to the casual look at substance <more>
abuse,...this movie will leave you dreading what the future might hold for the computer obsessed masses. It's not a movie about a killer robot, it's a movie about the future that we are making for ourselves.
I read that many people around hate this to me fantastic movie: of course, I pass on those who say this sucks because of the gore and violence it's rated R - and originally even X- : what you think you're going to see, SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS? . I think this movie is a little masterpiece: Stanley later will reach the excellence with DUST DEVIL, but this low-budget sci-fi\horror flick can show his great skills too. Also, there are a lot of little good ideas for example the tripping toxin or the peeping fat neighbour that makes it original.The story is very simple, as it <more>
should be for a movie of this kind: the first half of it is really focused in the description of a messed-up future and while it continues we're introduced to the main characters and how they relate with each other and the new environment.Then comes the second part and the action begins: you know who is Jill, you were informed about the droid...what else do you want? This is a great B-Movie, not ANNA KARENINA. Of course, there are a lot of clichés Stanley himself calls it a "design movie", written after he got a lot of projects rejected taken from many other horror and sci-fi flicks - such as SUSPIRIA, THE SLUMBER PARTY MASSACRE, PSYCHO, PREDATOR, HALLOWEEN and so on -, but they're quiet smartly used: all the world loves Tarantino referential- movies as I do , says that SCREAM was genius as I don't but at the end of the day they don't see the same in movies like this.Another pointed- at flaw are the Special Effects: first, I'd like to say that I love the design of the droid, since it's quiet far from all those Terminator or Robocop-like cyborgs that were filling b-movies at that time. Of course, because it was basically a guy in a suit, it wasn't showed clearly Stanley scores again: somebody else wouldn't care of the limits of it and show it with less touch - just think about WATCHERS 2! - but you can't say it isn't menacing or scary. Also, it was shot between 1989 and 1990 TERMINATOR 2 and it's CG were far away : the only other way to get the droid moving would had been the stop-motion animation which is btw used a little bit in the rebuilding sequence . Yes, if you watch carefully in the letter boxed video edition, you would see the legs of the stunt guy coming out of the suit: pretty embarrassing, but isn't something you can blame Stanley for the same happens, for example, in the video edition of PREDATOR - and disappears in the DVD widescreen version-: you can see Carl Weather's real arm behind his back when the creature is supposed to blow it off and the diving-board when the monster lifts him . I don't remember any movie from that period where a creature or similar is widely and clearly showed. Oh, yes: I'm not talking about STAR WARS or similar movies with colossal budgets.The tight editing is another smart trick: it covers most of the flaws of the special effects and locations, but also it generates a very claustrophobic atmosphere that helps the suspense.The cinematography is great - it can remember a video clip but I don't care: besides, nowadays many movies have a video clip or spot-oriented photography, with lower results at least to me: I don't like, for example, the one in the remake of DAWN OF THE DEAD by Snyder .As for the soundtrack, I love Lydon's THE ORDER OF DEATH and the score by Simon Boswell who also worked on DUST DEVIL and many Italian horror movies - also the idea of putting STABAT MATER during the deadly-trip scene is great! Eventually, maybe this flick isn't a total masterpiece in the A- series films, but is a god among b-movies.
If you are the sort of person who needs a film to explain everything to you in excruciating detail or if your favourite phrase is "why ?" this probably isn't the film for you.This film isn't a formulaic Hollywood no-brainer sci-fi action flick, this is a lusciously dark and atmospheric nihilistic mood piece, this is certainly no feelgood movie thankfully and what a welcome breath of poisonous air it was and still is .People often liken this film to the Terminator but I think when compared to Hardware Cameron's film looks dull, lifeless and oh so predictable. This <more>
film has more creativity and imagination in it's little finger than all of Hollywood combined, from the wonderful post punk industrial soundtrack to the inspired imagery, at which point I must mention the death of Moses, I don't think I have ever seen a film that has made a character's death seem so beautiful, a truly inspired moment.This film is just so full of brilliant little touches that each time you watch it you can gain something new from the experience, whilst true that this film does have a few flaws - plot holes and the occasional flat performance, they hardly seem relevant and do nothing to hamper my enjoyment of the film . In some ways this film is quite paradoxical, despite being comprised of so many grim, disgusting and nasty elements it still comes across as being quite beautiful, the level of violence is sometimes quite surprising but it's handled in such an artistic way that it transcends the usual horror film gore, the strong and vivid use of colour and copious amounts of blood remind me greatly of the work of Italian director Dario Argento.All in all I think this is one fantastic piece of low budget film making and quite easily one of my favourite films of all time, the one true testament to it's brilliance is that whether you love or hate this film you can almost guarantee your reaction will be a strong one and to me that's art folks.
"This is what you want, This is what you NEED!" (by uds3)
As evidenced within the multitudes of reviews for HARDWARE here, the plethora of diametrically opposite views for this film, is mute testament to the limited numbers of viewers who have any insight whatsoever as to what they are seeing It's OK "quinmass" still plenty of flicks like ZOOLANDER around! If you are only able to watch this film on the surface "Ooh look, its all red, there's a robot head....there's a nasty fat man, now there's a nasty robot, hmm I wonder what all that classical music means? yeah, you're NOT going to like it! This particular film <more>
demands perception, love of imagery, appreciation of cuttingly smart dialog and insight into what makes life tick from one person to another, one situation to another, one MACHINE to another! I happen to know that Stephen King himself found this one, very satisfying and brilliantly off-the-wall sci-fi flick.It is a film of EXTREMES. Moses, McDermott the battle-weary soldier back from the front, who takes it all as it comes, no big thinker. His girlfriend Jill Travis locked-up in her electronically fortified apartment, by far the most intelligent and resourceful character in the movie - fully Ripleyesque in attitude and spunk. Sometime friend to both, "Shades" who views his decaying world through a haze of mind-bending drugs. For sheer voyeuristic disgust-factor who can ever forget William Hootkins as Jill's decrepit, jowly ultimate slime-ball of a neighbor, Lincoln Wineberg, Jr. whose depraved sexual lust, brings about his more-than-deserved come-uppance! He should have got "Best Supporting Actor" for his rendition of the "Wibbly wobbly walk!"The M.A.R.K. 13 itself is a triumph of robotics, especially the sequence im which it rebuilds itself from cannibalised electronic parts from Jill's sculpted art work. The scene where the droid crushes the soft drink can inches from her face as she hides in the freezer, knowing its heat-vision cannot target her, is absolute cinematic inspiration. I wonder how many viewers are aware of the relevance of the M.A.R.K. 13...and what it actually is? The final confrontation is the greatest "shower scene" since PSYCHO. The image of the seemingly indestructible machine, its metallic arm raised towards the pipe almost imploringly, as it is destroyed like the Triffids by the simplest and most common thing on this planet - water!Tremendous supporting rock soundtrack too. The oddball euro-dialect is just right and Iggy Pop's voiceovers sheer black, black humor! To him goes the last line of the film, and the best, "So get your unemployed asses down to FairIsle Electronics and get yourselves a job!" Watch the film and you will pick up the awesome significance of this remark!HARDWARE rocks! It is probably one of the best half a dozen sci-fi films in history. I don't "think" it, it IS!!!!
I love HARDWARE. This movie is amazingly original in its approach, the more so because the story is so derivative. I like almost everything about it, from beginning to end. The actors are excellent, the look of the film is cool and eye catching, even if it's very grubby, ugly and dark. The music is great and the effects are excellent. What more can you ask for?But the great thing about HARDWARE is the direction. It's totally unique. One of a kind. So even if the story is similar to ALIEN or TERMINATOR or SATURN 3 , the director's approach to the action, the emotions, and the <more>
general mood and atmosphere of the film is so unique and in this case, perfect, that the familiar story doesn't even register as something negative. I can't put my finger on why the direction is amazing but I believe it's the way Richard Stanley is not a slave to the actors or the effects, or anything in particular. That each scene or camera positions or actors basically exist on their own terms or cadence and this creates a free flowing effect where the action is not pinned down to one particular idea or emotions. It's hard to say but I've rarely seen this approach in any film. Everything in HARDWARE transcends everything and this sci-fi movie is at once truly sci-fi and at the same time, more than a sci-fi movie. Most of the action takes place in one apartment. While a real sense of dread and gloom permeates the film whenever it takes place in the apartment, just below this apartment of doom, an Asian family goes about their existence as if everything was normal. The effect this creates is at times comical and bleak. Brilliant little details like this make HARDWARE feel at once epic and yet very intimate. It's grubby looking and yet sexy. Gory and yet never gratuitous. Stacey Travis is excellent in her role as the fighting female but her role doesn't resemble any other cliched fighting female role out there, including those in ALIEN or TERMINATOR or the gazillion other movies. She's a real reluctant hero. And Dylan McDermott, an actor I usually can't stand in almost everything he's in, is perfect here too. In fact, all the actors are good and well cast. The look of the film is incredible, certainly when you consider that it was a very low budget film. And the music is fantastic. Overall, HARDWARE is fantastic. I rate it 9 out of 10.
All I want is having this beautiful film on DVD! (by Bersan)
When I first saw "Hardware" here in Stockholm in a theater -- ages ago --, I must have been absentminded, as I remember giving the "okay, but I've seen it all before" to this little item. The big moron I had been I understood later, the second time I saw the film.The PIL remixed theme was once again making it´s way down my spinal, the New Zeelandish photography and relaxed storytelling and use of colors just knocked me. Quite a simple story here , but presented by a personal mind. Well, now being somewhat older and less shy, I can confess: I truly long to have this <more>
movie on DVD! I recently picked up the trailer from the net and yes, it still rocks me!
I must admit I am a huge fan of this under-estimated, enigmatic South African director.Like his magnificent masterpiece, Dust Devil, Hardware deals with similar themes - the desert, the Old Testament, and sexual violence.I first saw this movie many years ago when still basically a kid before I went to film school and certain sequences have stayed with me forever.Watching it again in 2005 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 <more>
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.
It's a good movie to analyze, but not always great to watch (by databeast)
First off, let's get my bias out the way, I'm a die-hard fan of this movie, and this review is definitely intended to get the reader to give it a chance.The film is riddled with industrial music culture references and cameos, and if you're into that scene, there's a certain sick thrill about seeing Carl McCoy as the zone trooper, and seeing footage of proto-industrial performance artist Monte Cazazza in this. The general tone and ambiance of the whole piece of wonderfully clichéd cyberpunk.And that's really the interesting thing about this film. While there are a <more>
plethora of terrible sci-fi slasher flicks out there desperately claiming the 'cyberpunk' moniker, here is a film that claims to be nothing more than a sci-fi slasher flick, and manages to be somewhat of a pulp-cyberpunk classic instead.The whole movie is a mood piece, designed more for its ambiance and the feel of its world, than particularly flashy action sequences or on-screen 'wow' factor. It's meant to be a genre movie, but it manages to feel like a 'serious' film under the influence of some heavy drugs. Not a bad thing really, but your tastes may disagree. Personally I've always liked that sunset-filtered-through pollution look that Bladerunner was infamous for, and hardware utilizes the same rather well.Genre movie it may be, but it shows far less cheese coating and terrible acting than any of the current glut of genre movies being produced for the Sci-Fi channel. In fact the whole movie feels more like a good pulpy cyberpunk novella than a genre movie by far. Calling the movie 'mood music for rivetheads' isn't really an insult to it.
I remember first seeing Hardware late on night on cinemax and thinking it was gonna be some really lousy mess. Well that was probably about 6 years ago and still today it's one of my fave movies. Granted it's cheesy at times but it's also pretty intense and very artsy. Richard Stanley will always be one of my favorite directors just because of this movie, from what I've heard he was a music video director before this movie which explains why it's so cool looking regardless of what some say I love when music video directors get a chance to direct movies . The acting ranges <more>
from good to o.k. William Hootkins who played in the similar Death Machine goes from being the nastiest talking pervert to singing a really goofy song...which is the movies lowest point . The movie was very low budget but looks awesome, the production design is very good as are the effects. It looks like Blade Runner or maybe The Crow with a red/orange filter used to film every scene which gives it a gritty, bleak feel. The cyborg effects are pretty good also, it's filmed in a way that is similar to Alien, quick cuts and covered in darkness which can make the effects look better but also make the cyborg more menacing. And if you're looking for gore u found it here. I had a field day with all the blood effects...people get cut in half, eyes get squished, people are drilled, and there's a really trippy death scene at the end which is gory and poetic at the same time...oh and the cyborg goes to town on one guy's dead body with a chainsaw appendage that it has. Some reviews bitched about style over substance and lack of substance but Hardware is what it is....a really good horror/sci-fi movie. I read an interview in fangoria with Richard Stanley a few years back when he was unfairly fired from Island of Dr. Moreau and he said he was gonna have to do whatever he could to make a name for himself again after that incident and if all's true he did some kids movies last year and all but now he's supposed to come back with a sci-fi movie called A Season Of Soft Rains...hopefully more people will see what a truly gifted and talented director he really is. Now only if we can get an uncut version of Hardware on DVD.