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Hardware (1990) Two-Disc Set (Remastered) - Blu-ray Review

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Hardware (1990) - Blu-ray Review

5 beers

Number Five is alive…and armed to the teeth!  Imagine if the robot in Short Circuit was programmed by the government to wipe out certain members of our society.  Electronic genocide in an easy bake machine!  Now, imagine if that said robot could also rebuild itself and go right back to killing in the name of no matter the damage done to its circuit board.  Frightening, no?!  Well, welcome to the masterpiece that is Hardware.  There is no escaping this movie’s dystopian reach and influence.

And, once it gets started, its one location - a rundown tenement dwelling - produces all sorts of claustrophobic terror.  The robots are coming!  The robots are coming!  And the poor and impoverished are their first targets.

"It is a film so visionary, you just might lose sense of yourself as its violence takes over and the extreme living conditions get run straight through by this angry robot."


 

Because, framed within a post-apocalyptic setting, that’s almost exactly the future shock territory of the artful (and bloody) Hardware.  This horror science fiction flick, a British-American co-production that is written and directed by Richard Stanley (before he got the shaft in The Island of Dr. Moreau), is full of all sorts of eye-popping visuals and edgy material as one robotic head – discovered in the wastelands of the world by a scavenging nomad – gets a second chance at life thanks to its inclusion in a poverty-stricken artist’s sculpture. 

The film might sound like Terminator on a macaroni and cheese diet, but it certainly has enough going for it with strong visuals and strong performances - Dylan McDermott as Moses "Hard Mo" Baxter, the gift-giving boyfriend and Stacey Travis as Jill, his withdrawn girlfriend who likes to sculpt – to keep it bound to the unsettling future it depicts.  There is no hope in these projects.  Everything is blasted by the erosion surrounding them.  These survivors live on virtually nothing but scraps.  And their government doesn’t want them around much longer.

Enter the M.A.R.K. 13.  This nasty robot is all sorts of bad news.  He’s presented by McDermott as if it is a Trojan Horse and when this machine fully comes alive, all of Hell follows after.  With a strong visual style and a swagger that pulls left of silly from time to time, Hardware doesn’t follow your typical route to its unsettling ending.  It creates the rules it chooses to follow and, in doing so, the whole movie comes across as a powerful statement about technology before some of the tech even existed. 

This film, pulling its main inspiration from within the comic 2000AD, features Iggy Pop, Lemmy Kilmister from Motorhead, William Hootkins (Porkins in Star Wars), and John Lynch as Shades.  The performances, no matter how small they are, work together to create a sustained feeling of otherworldly chaos throughout the film.  There is no place like the world depicted in Hardware…yet.  It is a film so visionary, you just might lose sense of yourself as its violence takes over and the extreme living conditions get run straight through by this angry robot.

Hardware (1990) - Blu-ray Review

It’s never going to be a fair fight when robots attack.  This trippy odyssey into the future showcases a wee bit of the ultraviolence that might take place should such a situation arise.  And it is a dark and deeply disturbing descent into the Hardware that entangles us all.  Be careful what you wish for!

Hardware is Ronin Flix’s FIRST Blu-ray release.  When the quality is this good, you know it won’t be their last.

Hardware (1990) - Blu-ray Review

MPAA Rating: R for strong violence, sexuality and language.
Runtime:
94 mins
Director
: Richard Stanley
Writer:
Richard Stanley
Cast:
Dylan McDermott, Stacey Travis, John Lynch
Genre
: Thriller | Sci-fi
Tagline:
In the 21st century there will be a new endangered species...man.
Memorable Movie Quote: "Machines don't understand sacrifice - neither do morons."
Theatrical Distributor:
Millimeter Films
Official Site:
Release Date:
September 14, 1990
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
June 28, 2018
Synopsis: set in the near future, earth has become a brutal, dehumanized planet where radiation and pollution have taken over. On leave from the combat zone, Mo returns home with broken pieces of a combat android machine and gives them to his girlfriend as a gift to use in her artistic metal sculptures. Little do they realize that this android – Mark 13 – the most destructive droid of its kind – is not scrap metal just yet. Its aim is simple – kill and destroy anything that gets in its way. Late at night, the killing machine starts to reassemble itself and begins its task, wrecking havoc and destruction on anyone or anything in its path. Mo must help Jill and the tenants of her apartment building escape the wrath of the Mark 13.

Hardware (1990) - Blu-ray Review

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Remastered Two-Disc Set

Home Video Distributor: Ronin Flix
Available on Blu-ray
- June 28, 2018
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
Subtitles
: English SDH
Audio:
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; Two-disc set
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

Ronin Flix’s NEW 4K scanfrom the original interpositive is fantastic!  The images on the 1080p transfer using the AVC MPEG-4 codec are presented in the 1.85:1 aspect ratio of its original release and absolutely explode with a crispness long since missing from the original presentations.   The tones are natural and amped up on saturation and dark tones.  Since this is primarily set at night, the dark tones are important and with this release they are dark and natural; effective in creating a sense of disturbing moodiness.  The Blu-ray is presented in DTS-HD 5.1 lossless Master Audio and contains a good mix of levels for multiple channels requiring no tweaking from its audience in order for dialogue to be heard.  And the soundtrack, featuring Motorhead, Iggy Pop, Ministry, and Public Image Limited, is AWESOME.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • Found on Disc One, the audio commentary features director Richard Stanley waxing poetic (as he should) about the film, the production, and the amazing soundtrack by Simon Boswell.  It is moderated by Paul Trijbits

Special Features:

In partnership with Ronin Flix, this remastered version includes NEW video interview with Richard Stanley, an interview with Iggy Pop, Stanley’s short films, a making of featurette, and a whole lot of production materials.  A reversible sleeve with the original art and the newly commissioned artwork is included, as well as a mini replica of the film’s theatrical poster.

DISC ONE

• Commentary

• Deleted and Extended Scenes (26 min)

DISC TWO

• Interview with Writer/Director Richard (40 min)

• Interview with Iggy Pop (7 min)

• No Flesh Shall Be Spared: The Making of Hardware (54 min)

• Incidents in an Expanding Universe (45 min)

• Richard Stanley on Hardware 2 (8 min)

• Rites of Passage (1983)

• The Sea of Perdition (2006)

• Additional Hardware Promo Videos (4 min)

• Theatrical Trailer (3 min)

• Still Gallery

Hardware (1990) - Blu-ray Review

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