Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Dylan McDermott, Stacey Travis
Director: Richard Stanley
Genres: Science Fiction & Fantasy
REMASTERED IN STUNNING HIGH DEFINITION — FROM ORIGINAL VAULT MATERIALS! — 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 G... more »
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This is what you want... and THIS is what you get.
Dave Cordes | Denver, CO | 10/17/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Nineteen years ago I remember going to see a little film called Hardware and I remember HATING it because I felt deceived by the trailers that shamefully advertised this film as The Terminator meets The Road Warrior which being a huge fan of both of those classic sci-fi films was precisely what I was expecting to see. What I got, and was completely unprepared for, was a pornographic visual nightmare filled with gratuitous violence and an incoherent plot about some killer Terminator-esque combat droid found in the sands of a post-apocalyptic wasteland that's transformed into an industrial art sculpture by some hot chick and I remember wanting to walk out of the theater but felt compelled to at least get my (then) six bucks worth before leaving the theater offended and I never looked back... until now.
A few years later I picked up the Hardware soundtrack because I remembered it was the most memorable part of the film. I loved Simon Boswell's haunting electronic score and the unforgettable Public Image Limited song the Order of Death which echoes in your head with "This Is What You Want...This Is What You Get" lyrics ironically summarizing my initial reaction to the film perfectly. Around that time I happened to catch Richard Stanley's following film Dust Devil - The Final Cut which I really enjoyed with it's great visuals and also featuring a terrific Simon Boswell score.
When I saw that Hardware was released on Blu-ray I decided to give it another look. It's amazing how the quality of blu-ray makes you revisit many films that you may not have otherwise particularly liked watching the first time around but I remembered the striking post-apocalyptic visuals and 80's industrial music video style and having appreciated Richard Stanley's succeeding films I knew he was a director with vision and made me decide to give it another chance. Upon watching it I had remembered the exact moment that made me want to get up and leave the theater when Jill's perverted neighbor played by William Hootkins (yes that's Porkins from Star Wars) starts singing the "wiberly-woberly walk" and I still find his character repugnant but that's really the whole point. Stanley is intentionally creating a dissonant atmosphere showing the deconstruction of culture precipitated by dependency on technology, intrusive surveillance and the pervasiveness of mass media and invasion of privacy.
Watching it now I can appreciate the film's socio-political undertones such as population control and the realization that this film was actually a few years ahead of its time anticipating the post-modern industrial motifs of Ministry. To the film's credit, Richard Stanley's stylized vision is what sets Hardware apart from the formulaic commercialized mainstream blockbusters of today and somehow manages not to date itself too much and remains a completely unique independent film unlike anything I've really seen since.
Richard Stanley discusses his ideas behind the intended "Hardware 2: Ground Zero" script on the supplemental features that was written at the time of the first film but was never made due to legalities between studios that has prevented him from fully realizing his concept on a grander scale. I actually found myself interested in seeing what Hardware 2 might look like made today with the latest advancements in special effects technology that would enable Richard to open up the canvas and let his ideas spill out onto the screen. Watching the interview you can see that Stanley is a very intelligent and articulated artist who knows what he is talking about and has a precise understanding and vision for his craft. There's also an excellent hour-long documentary "No Flesh Shall Be Spared" produced exclusively for the blu-ray that features all new interviews that will make you appreciate the film and the complications of working with visual effects pre-CGI along with deleted scenes, a German theatrical trailer and some of Stanley's short films including "Incidents In An Expanding Universe" the Super 8 genesis of Hardware.
Hardware is definitely not a film for everyone and if you you are looking for accessible sci-fi-/horror that's easy to swallow you won't get it here. On the surface Hardware is a visceral nightmare whose disturbing and offensive imagery is conveying ideas and themes far more complex than the average mainstream audiences are simply willing or capable of grasping and most will find it a struggle to interpret the lines between self-indulgent art and purely cinematic entertainment.
"This is what you want... and this is what you get."
Hugely underappreciated sci-fi
S. Coe | Edmonton, Alberta Canada | 12/10/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I have been waiting for a region 1 release of this movie since I got my first DVD player back in 2001. Heard from a friend it was finally coming out and ordered it immediately.
It's low budget, but wonderful gritty dystopian vision of a future where everything has gone to hell. No spoilers here, but this movie oozes atmosphere. Also of note is the amazing score. (Which I enjoyed long before I saw the movie.) The DVD is great, though some people have had issues with it not playing correctly, but Severin have done the right thing and sent out replacements.
You can keep Blade Runner. I'd rather watch this any day.
No Flesh Shall Be Spared."
Amazing death scene
mr_spock | Evansville, IN USA | 03/03/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Having read all the reviews, including some very articulate and intelligent ones, I'm moved to add one more because, to my surprise, no one commented on Mo's lengthy, psychedelic death scene. I enjoyed the grungy, post-apocalyptic atmosphere, sound track (esp. Order of Death) and the general off-the-wall weirdness, but what blew me away was Mo's pschedelic visions as he's dying after being injected with the killer robot's poison. The plot having already established that the victims basically experience an acid-trip death, the graphic, through-his-eyes psychedelic experience was visceral, fascinating and believable. That's not all that the film has to recommend it. It was, as others have noted, ahead of its time, and sophisticated in ways that go right over the heads of some of its mass-entertainment-conditioned detractors, but that scene was for me the most amazing segment of an amazing film."