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Category:    Home > Reviews > Science Fiction > Horror > Post-Apocalyptic > Hardware (1990/Severin Blu-ray + DVD)

Hardware (1990/Severin Blu-ray + DVD)


Picture: C+     Sound: C+     Extras: C+     Film: C



Imagine someone taking Alien, Blade Runner, Mad Max, The Road Warrior, Saturn 3, the original Terminator and mixing them up into a film with some limited ambition and a Writer/Director who does not know what he is doing and you get something as wacky as Richard Stanley’s Hardware (1990), a film with a strange history that was not a big hit and was also tangled up for years in legal issues.  It is one of those films that became a curio as a result of that and the promotion at the time that many felt was corny, but few saw the film.


Now, Severin has issued it on Blu-ray and DVD for all to see again and in some ways, the film is charming in its pre-digital effects, pre-Internet, pre-cell phone view of a dark future, but it is good at being dirty throughout.  Dylan McDermott is a hard working seeker of items he can sell and haggle with to survive like everyone else.  One day, he buys an assortment of pieces that turn out to include the makings of a deadly M.A.R.K. 13 robot the military never produced for having a built-in defect.  Taking it to his artist girlfriend (Stacey Travis) who makes it part of another work, it will soon come to life to kill.


In the meantime, they are having sex and being watched (this even imitates some of the XXX hardcore sex films of the time) so most people in this world are desperate and with all that, something will go wrong soon.


Unfortunately, the robot is laughable (though I like the twist that it injects the victim with drugs before killing them), there is some suspense without any pay-offs and Iggy Pop plays an unseen DJ (in reference to Walter Hill’s The Warriors perhaps) that is amusing, but that does not help the film either.  For McDermott, this is comparatively edgy and he likely had hopes of a genre career, but the film is all over the place.  However, it is such a pastiche of a wreck; everyone should see it at least once, no matter how bad because it at least tries to work despite the odds against it.


The 1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image is a little better than the anamorphically enhanced DVD version, but not by much because this is a film that is dirty, is meant to look dirty and the Blu-ray reveals flaws the DVD hides.  However, the better moments of definition on the Blu-ray are the reason to see it that way over the DVD, if only marginally.  As for the sound, both have the same Dolby Digital 5.1 and Dolby 2.0 Stereo with Pro Logic surround mixes that could be had from the old Dolby analog A-type theatrical sound the film as released in and the low budget of the sound also shows.


Extras in both formats include Deleted & Extended Scenes, feature length audio commentary by Stanley, Stanley on the sequel that never happened in Hardware 2, 2006 Stanley short Sea Of Perdition, early Stanley short Rites Of Passage, No Flesh Shall Be Sparred documentary on the making and history of the film and the early Super 8mm film version of Hardware entitled Incidents In An Expanding Universe.  It is no THX-1138, but is worth seeing after you watch the feature version.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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