Hardware (1990)

hardware-richard-stanley-review

A scavenger in a post-apocalyptic wasteland uncovers the remains of a robotic assassin which rebuilds itself and runs amok in a civilian apartment building.

Richard Stanley’s heritage as a music video director is obvious in this highly derivative sci-fi B-movie that owes huge debts to The Terminator, Alien and Blade Runner. Stanley’s eye actually manages to capture the Mad Max dystopian future aesthetic quite well and despite the lack of star names the cast acquit themselves quite well; the leads are solid and the supporting characters add some much needed colour. The film is very much of its time, trying desperately for “cult” credibility as it is by casting Lemmy, Iggy Pop and a member of Fields Of The Nephilim in cameo roles; it also sports a soundtrack by Goth-punk rockers The Ministry and contains the inevitable fractal imagery and pretension towards artiness that were peculiar to post 80’s popular culture. But strip away all of the window dressing and it’s really just another stalker movie with a robot. Unfortunately the robot itself is the biggest drawback as it looks like it was constructed out of Meccano and old vacuum cleaner parts and doesn’t look in the least bit menacing.

Still, Hardware definitely has some good moments – stylistically at least – and has stood the test of time rather better than many films with much larger budgets.

6/10

 

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