Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Richard Stanley|
|Produced by||Ray Corbett
Polly du Plessis
|Written by||Steve MacManus
|Music by||Simon Boswell
|Editing by||Derek Trigg|
|Studio||British Satellite Broadcasting
Unlimited Palace Productions
|Distributed by||Palace Pictures (UK)
|Running time||94 minutes|
Hardware is a 1990 British-American post-apocalyptic science fiction horror film directed by Richard Stanley and starring Dylan McDermott. Inspired by a short story in 2000 AD, the film depicts the rampage of a self-repairing robot in a post-apocalyptic slum.
||This article's plot summary may be too long or excessively detailed. (October 2013)|
In the 21st century, most of the world has been reduced to a radioactive wasteland. People exist in industrialized slums kept running on outdated and decaying computer technology. A nomad zone tripper comes across the remains of a robot buried in the sand. He collects the pieces and takes them to junk dealer Alvy, who is talking with 'Hard Mo' Baxter, a soldier in the corps returning home from duty on December 24 during the Christmas cease-fire, and his friend, Shades. Seeing the robot parts, Moses asks the nomad where he found them, to which he replies, "...Glass Flats, Dune Sea—I go all over." Mo strikes a deal with the nomad to buy them, hoping that they could be a Christmas present for his blow-torch metal sculptor and painter artist girlfriend, Jill Berkowski, a recluse who never leaves her apartment.
Moses and Shades head back to the apartment building amidst news of a new government initiative to enforce sterilizations to reduce overpopulation; Moses and Jill had intended to start a family but are reluctant to do so due to post-atomic genetic mutation.
After Moses falls asleep in Jill's apartment, Jill awakes and takes the skull and other parts of the robot while using a cardboard box full of plastic baby-dolls that Shades found on the streets, and begins blow torch welding them into a sculpture under the dim light of an LED decibel display of a sound stereo's graphic equalizer.
Later that night, Moses is vid-phoned by Alvy, who researched the robot parts that Moses purchased. They turn out to be components of a new government project called the M.A.R.K.-13, labeled as a CLASS/TYPE A-DELIVERER—capable of independent intelligence, self repair, and the ability to recharge itself using any available electric source, the type was halted because of a defect in its moisture insulation system. Alvy tells Moses, excited by their find. Before leaving, Moses, struck by the familiarity of the phrase "Mark 13," consults his Bible, and discovers that the passage contains the phrase, "no flesh shall be spared" (Mark 13:20). He becomes suspicious that the acronym is an inspiration to the android's name in a government plot of human genocide.
Before Moses can make it to Alvy's, a piece of the robot at Alvy's shop reactivates and kills him by injecting him with a cytotoxin that causes hallucinations and brief euphoria before death. Moses finds the body and after consulting Alvy's notes on the robot, calls Shades to help him rescue Jill. Meanwhile, Shades, whose apartment is covered in Eastern objects, has fallen into a drug-induced Kundalini syndrome and is unable to respond.
Back at the apartment, the robot has reassembled itself using pieces of Jill's metal sculptures, recharging off of the apartment's computer network. It tries to kill Jill, but she manages to trap it in a room after her automatic door gets jammed. Lincoln Wineberg (William Hootkins), a creepy peeping tom who has been spying on Jill, sees the device close the blinds in her apartment, stopping him from spying. He goes over to check on her, insisting she reopen the blinds after he tries helping with her automatic door, but she denies doing it and realizes someone or something is in the apartment. When Wineberg re-opens the blinds, he is brutally killed by the M.A.R.K.-13 which closed them to keep its actions covert, knowing he was spying. Jill manages to damage the robot before Moses and Shades arrive with the apartment's security team. The men open fire on the machine, apparently destroying it.
Jill is suddenly thrown out of the high-rise's window by the still-mobile M.A.R.K.-13, and falls into an apartment on a lower story. While everyone else goes to Jill's rescue, Moses struggles with the robot. He manages to cripple it, but is injected with the cytotoxin. As he dies, Moses recounts the machine's manufacturing defect. Jill wakes up and heads back upstairs to rescue Moses. The robot uses Jill's hacked automatic door to cut a security guard in half, and the dying man kills his partner with friendly fire. As the robot recharges itself on the building's mainframe, Jill hacks into its CPU, accessing its memory bank, and hearing a recording of Moses' dying words.
Realizing the machine's weakness, Jill lures the robot to the bathroom, where she is thrown through the shower door. Shades arrives and shoots the machine in the head, giving Jill the opportunity to turn on the shower with the water short-circuiting the M.A.R.K.-13.
The next morning, a radio broadcast informs listeners that 800 new jobs are available due to the government's having approved mass-manufacture of the M.A.R.K.-13.
- Dylan McDermott as Moses "Hard Mo" Baxter
- Stacey Travis as Jill
- John Lynch as Shades
- Iggy Pop as Angry Bob
- Carl McCoy as Nomad
- William Hootkins as Lincoln Wineberg, Jr.
- Mark Northover as Alvy
- Paul McKenzie as Vernon
- Lemmy as Water taxi driver
The film's script was inspired by a short 2000 AD comic strip called SHOK! Walter's Robo-Tale in the Judge Dredd Annual 1981. In the comic, a robot head part is recovered from the bloody aftermath of the Cursed Earth story. Controversially, the original theatrical release failed to mention the comic book despite heavily referencing its storyline. Following legal action, a notice was added to later versions and the strip's creators, Steve MacManus and Kevin O'Neill, now get writer's credits.
It is now considered by some to be the first 2000 AD film spin-off.
The comic refers to the building as the Andy Warhol Artists Colony.
Hardware received mixed reviews from critics. Entertainment Weekly gave the film a D+, calling it unoriginal, "as if someone had remade Alien with the monster played by a rusty erector set." Despite mixed reviews during original release from critics the movie managed to become a cult classic amongst some areas, especially amongst horror fans. Ian Berriman of SFX similarly wrote: "It’s one of those lovingly crafted movies where ingenuity and enthusiasm overcome the budgetary limitations." Hardware currently holds a 55% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
The film debuted at No. 6.
Hardware was released on Region 2 DVD and Blu-ray Disc on 22 June 2009. It was released on Region 1 DVD and Blu-ray Disc on 13 October 2009 by Severin Films in a Unrated edition that restored some cuts for an R-rating. Lincoln's death was cut as well as the death of the guard chopped in half by the automatic door.
- "HARDWARE (18)". British Board of Film Classification. 1990-08-22. Retrieved 2013-05-22.
- HARDWARE Blu-ray Disc (Director's commentary)
- Hardware at Box Office Mojo
- "HARDWARE (DVD/Blu-ray Review)". Fangoria.com. 2009-10-30. Archived from the original on 2009-11-04. Retrieved 2013-11-25.
- "Iggy Pop Loads Up on Hardware".
- The Shok! strip, on Barney
- Shok! at British Horror Films.co.uk
- "2000 AD's film adaptations page which includes ''Hardware''". 2000ad.org. Retrieved 2013-01-01.
- Reviewed by Owen Gleiberman (1990-09-28). "Hardware | Movies". EW.com. Retrieved 2011-03-28.
- "FREAKSHOW Hardware". Sfx.co.uk. 2010-10-18. Retrieved 2011-03-28.
- "Postcards Takes No. 1 at Box Office Movies: Mother-daughter comedy sales hit $8.1 million. Paramount's `Ghost' is in second place on $5.8 million in sales.". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2011-01-01.
- Hardware at the Internet Movie Database
- Hardware at Box Office Mojo
- Hardware at Rotten Tomatoes
- An early draft of the film's screenplay