In the early 1990s, I discovered a sci-fi
cult gem called HARDWARE. For a low budget film made in the United Kingdom
(with some filming in Morocco), It was the debut of a promising
filmmaker with an energetic sci-fi/ horror film. Director Richard Stanley would
go on to direct DUST DEVIL (which I haven’t seen in years and want to revisit soon) only to have his directorial career
stopped in its tracks with the mess over THE ISLAND OF DR. MOREAU (which ended up with him being fired three days into shooting
by New Line). Stanley has done documentaries
and short films since then. He wanted to a sequel to HARDWARE only to have the
fight over who owned HARDWARE get in the way. After almost 20 years since
HARDWARE’s release, the film finally makes its debut to DVD and Blu-ray.
Mo (Dylan McDermott) is a drifter who joined
the military in a post-apocalyptic future. He comes home to see Jenny (Stacey
Travis), his girlfriend, and brings with him parts he bought off a Zone Tripper (a drifter of sorts). His girlfriend is an artist living on welfare in a society that is falling apart. She starts to incorporate the droid parts that Mo brought her. However,
the parts belong to a new type of military droid called the M.A.R.K. 13. The
M.A.R.K. 13 puts itself back together and starts killing people in an apartment building.
It is battle for survival as Mo tries to protect Jenny with the help of his druggie friend Shades and the apartment
building security forces.
HARDWARE is a twisted broken down version
of the future. The visual look and production design stick out in this energetic
film which starts out as a science fiction film to dive into horror film territory.
It is an energetic ride that takes off and doesn’t let go until the very end.
Sometimes it is the low budget sci-fi/ horror films that provide a jolt that bigger budget films are missing. HARDWARE has its own stories during filming and after it was made. Still HARDWARE is a cult film that deserves to be watched.
Disc One has an audio commentary by Director
Richard Stanley which is done in an interview format as Stanley answers questions
and talks about the film. The commentary is a good compliment to the making-of
documentary on disc Two
Disc Two features a wealth of extras related
to HARDWARE and two short films by Richard Stanley (an early film called RITES OF PASSAGE and THE SEA OF PERDITION (a short
futuristic sci-fi/ horror film with music from MOONRAKER)).
NO FLESH SHALL BE SPARED is a detailed
making-of documentary that is over 50 minutes long. It starts with the beginnings
of Richard Stanley as a filmmaker to how HARDWARE was conceived to the difficulties faced during production and releasing
the film to the fight over who owns the film due to how much money it made on its release. Also the cast and crew relate the
story of their trip to Morocco (from airport security being surprised by the fake head they brought into the country to the
very rainy weather that impacted shooting and prevented a dream sequence from being shot).
The documentary features behind-the-scenes footage and interviews in one of the best making-of documentaries on DVD
INCIDENTS IN AN EXPANDING UNIVERSE is an
early version of HARDWARE shot in Super 8 and lasts about 45 minutes. 25
minutes of deleted and extended scenes from HARDWARE are presented on the disc (transferred from videotape that Stanley
had in his personal archives- too bad they didn’t have the original film trims to transfer from). Also on the disc are an early promotional featurette on HARDWARE (which was sourced from videotape)
and a German theatrical trailer. The other interesting extra is the featurette
where Richard Stanley reveals where the yet-as-unmade HARDWARE 2 would have gone.
FINAL ANALYSIS: HARDWARE is a twisted sci-fi/ horror cult gem which has a great special edition package for old and new
fans to enjoy.
This DVD review is (c)12-25-2009 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission. All Rights Reserved. The reviewer does get the irony of writing
the review on Christmas since the film takes place on Christmas Eve. Send all
comments to firstname.lastname@example.org