Blu-ray and DVD Reviews

Hardware (Blu-ray)

Reviewed by: Scott Chitwood
Movie Rating:
4.5 out of 10
Extras Rating:
8 out of 10
Movie Details:
View here

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Rating: Not Rated

Starring:
Dylan McDermott as Moses Baxter
Stacey Travis as Jill
John Lynch as Shades
William Hootkins as Lincoln Wineberg Jr.
Iggy Pop as Angry Bob
Carl McCoy as Nomad
Mark Northover as Alvy
Paul McKenzie as Vernon
Lemmy as Taxi Driver
Mac McDonald as Newscaster
Chris McHallem as Premier Boelgaxof
Barbara Yu Ling as Chinese Mother
Oscar James as Chief
Arnold Lee as Chinese Family
Susie Savage as Chinese Family

Special Features:
No Flesh Shall Be Spared Documentary
Incidents In An Expanding Universe
The Sea Of Perdition
Rites Of Passage
Richard Stanley On Hardware 2
Deleted And Extended Scenes
Audio Commentary With Director Richard Stanley

Other Info:
Widescreen (1.85:1)
Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound
Running Time: 93 Minutes

The Details:
The following is the official description of the film:

"It was the movie that stunned audiences, shocked the MPAA and marked the debut of one of the most uncompromising filmmakers in modern horror. Golden Globe winner Dylan McDermott ('The Practice') stars as a post-apocalyptic scavenger who brings home a battered cyborg skull for his metal-sculptor girlfriend. But this steel scrap contains the brain of the M.A.R.K. 13, the military's most ferocious bio-mechanical combat droid. It is cunning, cruel and can reassemble itself. Tonight, it is reborn... and no flesh shall be spared. Stacey Travis ('Ghost World') co-stars - along with appearances by Iggy Pop, Lemmy of Motorhead and music by Ministry and Public Image Ltd. - in the kick-ass sci-fi thriller from Richard Stanley ('Dust Devil')."

"Hardware" is not rated, but it has explicit language, nudity, and gore.

Mini-Review:
I had never heard of "Hardware" before this Blu-ray arrived, but the more I learned about it, the more it interested me. It was based on a story from the British comic "2000 AD." It also starred a young Dylan McDermott. Co-starring was William Hootkins, an actor you may know from "Star Wars" (as Porkins), "Raiders of the Lost Ark" ("Top... men."), "Flash Gordon," "Superman," "Batman," and more. I had actually met him before and he was an extremely nice fellow with tons of fantastic stories about everyone from Jack Nicholson to Marlon Brando. "Hardware" was also produced by the Weinsteins. So it had a quite good pedigree.

The story is actually a great concept, too. It's kind of a post-apocalyptic world where someone digs up what is essentially a Terminator skull, then our heroine plugs it in without knowing how dangerous it is. It then reassembles itself and goes on a killing spree in the apartment. The film also looks fantastic considering it was a low budget, indie movie. The costumes are cool, the post-apocalyptic world looks great, and the city settings look like they came straight out of the "Blade Runner" universe - dirt, neon, Asian writing, and all. I'm amazed at what they were able to pull off with a bunch of rookie filmmakers and such a low budget.

Unfortunately, things fall apart rather quickly. Once the robot starts coming alive, things start getting very trippy. There's all sorts of weird imagery, strange sound effects, and awfully dated synthesizer music. The robot, while looking great sitting still, looks a tad cheesy when it is moving around trying to kill people. Then my man Hootkins plays a peeping tom and a sexual predator that stalks Jill. He has some incredibly foul dialogue, he comes across as exceedingly creepy, and none of his interaction with Jill seems natural. The conclusion of the film where Jill faces off with the robot seems like it is ripped straight off of Terminator. It ended up being quite a letdown after thinking I had found some sort of hidden sci-fi gem.

I think if you're a big fan of "THX-1138" and you also like low budget horror movies, then you might be receptive to this film. I also think if you're one of the people that's a cult follower of this movie then you will be quite excited to see it on Blu-ray. While the picture doesn't look great in HD, it's better than whatever fans have been living with since it came out.

You'll find a bunch of bonus features on the Blu-ray. There's a 'making of' featurette that is almost as long as the movie itself. Director Richard Stanley is interviewed with a number of the crew and Stacey Travis who played Jill. You learn about the history of the film, the filming, and the battle over profits that kept a sequel from ever being made. There are also two short films by Stanley - "Rites of Passage" and "The Sea of Perdition." There's also an early Super 8 version of "Hardware" that's kind of interesting to see. Richard Stanley also discusses what he wanted to do with "Hardware 2" and why it didn't get made. Rounding things out are some deleted scenes and an audio commentary by Stanley.

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